Can a $5 Meal Bring Back McDonald’s Customers?

The fast-food chain said it’s “laser-focused on affordability” as sales dwindle.

May 15, 2024

As McDonald’s sales have taken a hit in recent years from inflation’s soaring prices, causing many lower-income customers to forgo their orders, the company is considering a $5 value meal to draw in customers, reported CBS.

After a disappointing first quarter, the QSR is increasing its promotions and deals across most of its U.S. locations to entice customers focused on getting more bang for their buck.

According to CBS, the $5 meal will reportedly offer a choice of a McChicken, McDouble, or four-piece Chicken McNuggets, along with fries and a drink.

A prior attempt to introduce a $5 meal deal was rejected by franchise operators, but it is now being re-proposed with new terms. McDonald’s corporate office is still in discussions with franchise owners about the deal's specifics and rollout strategy.

In an April earnings call, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski emphasized the need to be “laser-focused on affordability,” to encourage customer returns. "Consumers continue to be even more discriminating with every dollar they spend as they face elevated prices in their day-to-day spending, which is putting pressure on the industry," he added. "It’s imperative that we continue to keep affordability at the forefront for our customers."

CBS noted that while a $5 meal would be beneficial, it wouldn’t be revolutionary for a QSR. In 2015, Wendy’s introduced the 4 for $4 meal, and in 2019, its $5 Biggie Bag.

McDonald’s has found other ways to stay competitive and attract customers recently, with the launch of its small-format, beverage-led concept called CosMc’s and changes to its signature burgers including a new special sauce and a brioche bun.