The minute McDonald’s introduced its Dollar Menu in 2003, it became a wild success. Why wouldn’t it? People already loved the fast-food chain giant’s Big Mac Burgers and fries. So giving their customers a price cut-price appeared like a clever way to increase business traffic. In addition, McDonald’s were not the first to introduce the concept, their competitors such as Wendy’s, who’s dollar menu predated them by 12 years, had quite successful run themselves. Wendy’s original version of the menu consisted of a Jr. Burger, fries and a drink and cost only 99 cents.
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Of course, as is in the norm in any industry, once Wendy proved the dollar menu to be a runaway success for the chain, other giants followed suit. Both Burger King and McDonald’s would launch their own version of the dollar menu in 1998 and 2003 respectively. Furthermore, since complacency is the road to failure, all three fast food giants would go on to tweak their menus throughout the years, by either introducing new items or getting rid of old items.
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Despite the success of the dollar menu, McDonald’s was anything but happy. You see, even though the dollar menu was tremendously popular with the crowd, McDonald’s was losing money on it. Therefore, the company would go on to abandon the whole idea in 2013, much to its customers’ disdain. Unsurprisingly McDonald’s began to lose their customers and struggled to retain the fans of the dollar menu. Seeing the circumstances before them, McDonald’s had no choice but to introduce a new menu, one where they could keep both their customers and shareholders happy. Thus a new version of the dollar menu was introduced in 2017, the value deal, and it consisted of items that ranged from $1 to $3.
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Unfortunately for the fast-food giant, the customers were not having it. Why would they? McDonald’s spent a considerable amount of energy promoting the first dollar menu, ensuring people becoming accustomed to lower prices. So when the company introduced a more expensive option, it’s only natural there would be a backlash. Perhaps they could have avoided the mess by not pushing the dollar menu has hard as they did, but what choice did they have really? If they didn’t push as hard as they did, the competition would have eaten them up. McDonald’s gambled on the possibility that the dollar menu would serve as a gateway for customers to try the more expensive items, as history has shown, they were wrong.
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So where do these fast food chains go from here? Well if nothing else these fast-food giants are steadfast and tenacious in their pursuit to attract the more budget-conscious customers. Their latest concoction? The Bundle Deal, the prices average from the $6 McDonalds Classic Meal to Wendy’s “4 for $4”. These deals include fan favorite items, but only time will tell if these new iterations of the dollar menu will find the same success as their predecessor. All we can do is wait and see.