If you've opted for fast food lately, it might not just be your waistline that felt the sting.

The last time I drove through a popular burger place and got my receipt, my first thought was, "I could have eaten at a real restaurant for this price!" And now I make every effort to support a Mom and Pop instead, because it's a nice thing to do, and it's cheaper than some fast food options.

Is my experience anecdotal? Sadly, no. There are cold, hard numbers to support the suspicion that fast food prices are vastly outpacing inflation and the biggest culprit is the previously affordable-for-nearly-everyone McDonald's.

unsplash/ canva
unsplash/ canva

McDonald's prices have doubled since 2014 across many popular menu items, while the McChicken has tripled in cost from $1.00 to $2.99. Yeowch.

And other fast-food places have increased their prices well beyond inflation, too. Respectively, Popeyes, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Jimmy John's follow McDonald's as the biggest price increase culprits.

The question is: does this increase make fast food unaffordable for some in Texas? Many families will be able to indulge less often, as the minimum wage has not increased since 2014. Median household income in 2014 was 53,000, while it only rose to 67,000 as of 2021 (the latest available year for data).

And even if you can still comfortably go out to eat often- why would you want to pay a premium for less-than-stellar food? My favorite local Mexican restaurant has lunch specials for $5.99, whereas the average cost of a Big Mac in Texas is $4.39 for just the sandwich. Add the fries and a drink and it's more than a sit-down meal.

Not every fast food place has seen such steep hikes, but they have all seen increased costs for supplies. At least where I live, Braum's is still affordable, so some days I can have a burger (extra pickles) without the sticker shock.

Big Yum: Texas Based Restaurant Chains With The Most Locations

Many iconic (and delicious) restaurant chains got their start in Texas. Here's a look at Texas eateries with over 100 locations- some with over 1000!

Gallery Credit: Renee Raven

Top Ten Texas Crops

Here Are the Top Ten Texas Crops

Gallery Credit: Nessmania

And The Top 10 Snobbiest Places in Texas Are...

Well, the folks at Road Snacks think they've figured it out. Again, they've claimed to figure out which cities are the snobbiest in The Lone Star State, not me.


More From Q92