McDonald’s vs Carl’s Jr. | Which One Is Better

In this thrilling battle, two contenders, McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr., face off to claim the ultimate champion title. Both are fast-food chains known for burgers and other exciting menu items. But which one is the better and most preferred brand for customers? Let’s get into the McDonald’s vs Carl’s Jr. battle. 


Let’s look at the comparison table of McDonald’s vs. Carl’s Jr:

CriteriaMcDonald’sCarl’s Jr.
MenuBetter Menu
PriceBetter Pricing
TasteBetter Taste
McDonald’s Burger Vs Carl’s Jr.It’s a Tie!
Breakfast MenuBetter Breakfast Menu
Drink MenuBetter Drinks 
Dessert MenuBetter Desserts
Healthy OptionsBetter Healthy Options
Kids MenuBetter Kids Menu
Secret MenuBetter Secret Menu
DealsIt’s a Tie!
Modern LookBetter Modern Look
More SuccessfulMore Successful

McDonald’s was founded in 1940 by two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald. Later, the chain was taken by Ray Kroc. After the 1960s, the fast-food chain saw a peak in its business. They introduced a mascot, new menu items, and a speedy service system. Today’s it’s world’s renowned chain in the fast-food industry.

Coming back to the history of Carl’s Jr., the first restaurant was opened in 1941 by Carl Karcher in California. He was a truck driver by profession and later entered the fast-food business. Today, Carl’s Jr. is run by CKE restaurants, which also own Hardee’s. Carl’s first offerings were charbroiled burgers, and it’s sold out till today. 

Hold on tight because we are about to start the fast-food battle between McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. We will compare them on various factors and come up with results. So, stick around with me till the end. 

Which Is More Popular | McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.

who is more popular

When comparing two famous fast-food giants, there are several noticeable differences. McDonald’s focuses on offering classic burger menu items along with sandwiches, fries, and other hot foods. Carl’s Jr., on the other hand, focuses more on providing premium quality burgers that are famous in Western countries. 

Both have similar menu items, but they have some critical differences. This makes us a question – Which one is better, McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.? In the upcoming sections, we will compare the fast-food chain on various factors and decide the winner. 

Let’s start the first round. 

Which Has The Better Menu?

better menu

The menu is the first thing customers see when walking into a fast-food restaurant. Fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. often differentiate themselves based on their menu. 

McDonald’s is known for their classic burgers and fries. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. is known for its charbroiled burgers. So, the question is, which one has a better menu? Well, I am here to decode this. So, let’s start the first round of the battle. 

McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. both are into the burger business. So, talking about their burger varieties, both have specialties in burgers.

McDonald’s is known for their Big Mac burger, McDouble burgers, cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and quarter-pounder burgers. The patties used in these burgers are cooked on a grill.  

In McDonald’s breakfast menu options, you will find sausage and egg McMuffin, pancakes, sausage biscuits, big breakfast platter, breakfast meals, and oatmeal. 

Coming to the side menu, McDonald’s offers French fries, hash browns, mozzarella sticks, side salad, and coffee beverages. 

Talking about drink options, McDonald’s has a broader variety of drink options. It offers soft drinks, frozen drinks, fresh juices, low-fat milk, coffee beverages, tea, and more. 

Now, let’s move towards Carl’s Jr. menu options. Their primary specialty is charbroiled burgers. They serve various charbroiled burgers, such as a western bacon cheeseburger, a superstar with a cheeseburger, an El Diablo burger, a giant hamburger, and a big Carl burger.  

Talking about breakfast menu options, Carl’s Jr. offers breakfast combos and sandwiches, including grilled cheeseburger combo, sausage, egg, cheese biscuit combo, breakfast burrito, monster biscuit sandwich, coffee, and much more. 

Carl’s drink menu is limited, offering soft drinks, juice, decaf coffee, milk, and lemonade. The menu offerings include hand-crafted lemonade, strawberry lemonade, Arabica coffee, iced tea, chocolate milk, etc. 

On Carl’s Jr. sides menu, you will find French toast dips, cinnamon rolls, hash browns, fries, jalapeno peppers, fried zucchini, onion rings, waffle fries, etc. 

So, overall, both fast-food chains offer many menu items. However, McDonald’s menu offerings are vast, with about 145 items. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. menu items are about 100.

So, in that case, the real winner here is… 

Winner – McDonald’s! It offers a variety of options in desserts, drinks, burgers, and sandwiches. 

Which Is More Cheaper?

more cheaper

When comparing the prices of McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr., we must compare various menu items. Both fast-food chains offer a range of menu items with different pricing, so which one is cheaper? Let’s compare and decide. 

McDonald’s is known for its affordable meals, including their value menu, which caters to price-conscious consumers. On the other hand, Carl’s Jr. positioned itself as a premium fast-food chain. 

You’ll likely find McDonald’s cheaper if we compare the similar menu items from both restaurants, such as hamburgers, unique burgers, coffee, drinks, and side menu items. 

When it comes to breakfast meals, McDonald’s breakfast combo is priced between $5 to $8. Carl’s Jr. breakfast combo meal is priced between $10 to $12. 

Regarding drink menu options, McDonald’s decaf coffee is $1.99, whereas Carl’s Jr. decaf coffee is $2.75.

I have also found that burgers at Carl’s Jr. are a bit more expensive than McDonald’s. For example, Carl’s Big Mac Burger is priced at $6.79, whereas McDonald’s Big Mac Burger is priced at $4.79.

Apart from that, there are many other burger options at Carl’s Jr., priced between $6 and $10. 

Now, let’s see the price comparison table of two fast-food chains:

Menu ItemsMcDonald’sCarl’s Jr.
Hamburger$ 1.99$ 2.82
The Big Carl Vs Big Mac$ 4.79$ 6.79
Double Cheeseburger$ 4.79$ 4.39
Black Coffee (Medium)$ 1.99$ 3.39
French Fries (Medium)$ 3.59$ 3.95
Chocolate Chip Cookie$ 2.19$ 0.83
Orange Juice$ 3.29$ 4.39
Coke (Medium)$ 1.79$ 3.59
Chicken Sandwich$ 4.79$  8.68

Looking at this table, we can see that Carl’s Jr.’s prices are higher than McDonald’s. So, now let me announce the winner of this segment. 

Winner – McDonald’s wins this battle as it provides more affordable meals. 

Which Has Better Tasting Food?

better menu

Taste is something you will never compromise when it comes to fast food. There are some fantastic food options on McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. menus. But which one offers unforgettable taste? Let’s start the battle.

So, McDonald’s is always known for its classic burger taste. They offer pretty decent options on their menu, like hamburger, cheeseburger, McDouble, sausage and egg McMuffin, and their famous filet-o-fish burger. All these burgers contain fresh ingredients and sauces for which you will love. 

Regarding fries, no one does a better job than McDonald’s. Their fries are more crispy, perfect-sized, and have well-balanced salt. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. fries are a bit soggy.

Apart from that, McDonald’s also boasts of offering delicious coffee drinks. They have immense fan-following for their iced coffee, whereas Carl’s Jr. only offers two coffees. 

Coming over to McDonald’s McFlurries, they are the world’s best desserts. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. has no soft serves or ice cream on their menu. 

Carl’s Jr. is always known for its charbroiled burgers, which give you instant smoky flavors. Their burgers are gourmet-style burgers and have been customers’ favorite ones. When you compare both fast-food chain burgers, they have loyal customers for their burgers. 

I have to say, there is so much to love about McDonald’s. The chain is famous for multiple menu items rather than just its burgers. But that’s not the case with Carl’s Jr. 

So, I have my winner for this segment.   

Winner – McDonald’s has better-tasting food. Period!

McDonald’s Burgers vs. Carl’s Jr. Burgers

McDonald’s Burgers vs Carl’s Jr. Burgers

Fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. offer the best burgers. However, there are taste and flavor differences in both of their burgers. So, let’s look at what sets them apart and whose burger is the best. 

First, let’s look at McDonald’s burgers. So, their burgers are classic and iconic. Some of the best burgers on their menu are Big Mac burgers, quarter pounder with Cheese, hamburger, and Cheeseburger. 

Their burgers are decent, low-calorie compared to Carl’s Jr, and have the tastiest burgers. You will wonder to know that McDonald’s sources their meat from different suppliers and is processed in a specific way. The meat patties are quite flavorful with simple salt and pepper seasoning. [Tell about the core used and interlink and the flavor profile of McDonald’s burgers. Moreover, McDonald’s burgers are high in protein and have fresh ingredients. 

When it comes to Carl’s Jr. burgers, they are known for their charbroiled burgers. Some of their famous burgers are EL Diablo Angus, Famous Star with Cheese, Superstar with Cheese, and Western bacon cheeseburger. Their burger patties are grilled on an open flame, giving them a smoky flavor. Their beef patties are pretty juicy, which the customers love about Carl’s Jr. burgers. 

Comparing the burgers of these two chains, it’s pretty clear that both have unique offerings and loyal customers. So, any guesses, who wins this round?

Winner – It’s a tie! Both McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. won this round. 

Which Has A Better Breakfast Menu?

better breakfast menu

Hoping at a fast-food restaurant and expecting a good breakfast is not a false expectation. Both McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. offer you delicious breakfast options. But the question is – which one has a better breakfast menu? For that, we need this round of battle. So, let’s start. 

McDonald’s offers various breakfast menu items such as sausage McMuffin, egg McMuffin, scrambled eggs, hotcakes, hash browns, coffee drinks, bacon, egg & cheese biscuits, oatmeal, apple slices, breakfast platter, etc. You can try all these menu items available during McDonald’s official breakfast hours.  

The breakfast combo meals at McDonald’s are pretty affordable. You can choose from 10 combo meals with an exciting selection of items, including McDonald’s best-selling breakfast menu items, like McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. Mention Carl’s Jr. Breakfast Deals, too.

Now, let’s look at Carl’s Jr. breakfast menu. Carl’s Jr. offers bacon, egg, cheese burrito, bacon, egg, cheese biscuit, biscuit and gravy, sausage grilled cheese breakfast sandwiches, and various breakfast combos. Apart from that, it also offers coffee drink options too. 

Apart from that, Carl’s Jr. also offers various breakfast combos like breakfast burger combo, French toast dips combo, sausage, egg and cheese biscuit combo, and many others. The official breakfast timing at Carl’s Jr. starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 10:30 a.m.  

So, looking at their breakfast menu options, I have found that McDonald’s offers various kinds of coffee on their breakfast menu. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. breakfast menu is small and has limited offerings. 

I have a winner with me.  

Winner – McDonald’s has a better breakfast menu. 

Which Has Better Drink Options?

better drink options

If I talk about drink options, again, McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. offer a variety of drinks. However, one is better than the other. So, who wins this battle round? Let’s look at their drink options and decide. 

So, McDonald’s drinks menu offers a variety of options such as frozen drinks, coffee drinks, soft drinks, milkshakes, low-fat milk, smoothies, and fresh juices. 

Moreover, McDonald’s iced coffee and frappe lineup is extensive. All these items are the best-ranked coffee drink items on McDonald’s menu. Apart from that, McDonald’s is also known for its best-iced coffee drink options, including iced caramel mocha, caramel latte iced coffee, caramel macchiato, and much more.  

Coming back to Carl’s Jr., they offer various drink options, including soft drinks and iced tea, but their beverage menu is not as extensive as McDonald’s. Some of the best drink options include strawberry lemonade, regular lemonade, decaf coffee, iced tea, and many others.  

However, Carl’s Jr. is primarily known for its food offerings, especially their charbroiled burgers, and doesn’t have the same variety and specialization in drinks as McDonald’s. Mention more about Carl’s Jr. 

So, without a doubt, McDonald’s emerges as a clear winner here.  

Winner – McDonald’s has a better menu for drinks as it offers various options. 

Which Has Better Desserts?

better desserts

Desserts are something that’s permanently attached to your order. Since many fast-food chains have started offering dessert items like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr., it is sometimes difficult to say which one has better desserts. In that case, we will have this round dedicated to who has better desserts. 

McDonald’s offers a wider variety of desserts. Their dessert menu includes apple pie, McFlurry flavors, soft serve and sundaes, chocolate chip cookies, milkshakes, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin and creme pie, blueberry muffins, and much more. These are some of the best McDonald’s desserts to try.  

On the other hand, Carl’s Jr. does have some dessert options like cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, hand-scooped ice cream shakes, chocolate shakes, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, and strawberry swirl cheesecake.

As you can see, Carl’s Jr. offers limited varieties when it comes to desserts. So, it can be unpleasant for customers looking for ice cream treats. 

Now I will announce who is the winner in the dessert department.

Winner – The winner here is McDonald’s. It offers a variety of dessert options like soft serves, cookies, muffins, milkshakes, and a lot more. 

Which Is More Healthy?

healthy menu items

When looking for healthier fast-food options, comparing the nutritional content of McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. food items is essential. While both chains have tried to include healthier choices on their menu, one or the other will come out as a winner. So, let’s start this round. I have made a table below to check the nutritional value of McDonald’s menu items.

Menu ItemsMcDonald’sCarl’s Jr.
Hamburger250 kcal480 kcal
Double Cheeseburger450 kcal380 kcal
French Fries (Medium)320 kcal147 kcal
Chocolate Milkshake (Medium)650 kcal710 kcal
Chicken Sandwich470 kcal650 kcal
Coke (Medium)210 kcal240 kcal
Sausage Biscuit With Egg530 kcal640 kcal
Chocolate Chip Cookie170 kcal170 kcal
Kid’s Meal Hamburger475 kcal580 kcal
Decaf Coffee15 kcal15 kcal
Sweetened Iced Tea (Medium)130 kcal152 kcal

As you can see in the table, Carl’s Jr. menu items are higher in calories compared to McDonald’s. The nutritional profile of McDonald’s is better. After so many obligations on McDonald’s for serving bad food that is harmful to your body, they have worked hard towards providing low-calorie options. 

Now, you can find many low-calorie menu options on McDonald’s menu, which customers prefer more. Hence, we have a winner for this round. 

Winner – McDonald’s offers healthier options. Hence, it wins this battle round. 

Which Has A Better Kids Menu?

better kids menu

Are you looking for a restaurant that offers exciting kids’ meals to young diners? Well, McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. are no exception. Both chains provide kids’ meals, but if you are confused between these two chains, I will help you choose the one for your next visit. So, let’s start this battle round on who has a better kids menu. 

We are talking about a kid’s meal, and McDonald’s is the first one that comes to your mind. It takes the lead and offers well-rounded Happy Meal toys that kids love. 

McDonald’s offers a variety of kids’ menu options like chicken nuggets, hash browns, kids’ fries, hamburgers, cheeseburger combo, and milk. The fast-food chain has changed its toy options, offering paper-based toys rather than plastic ones.

The chain recently launched McDonald’s adult Happy Meal in collaboration with Cactus Plant flea market boxes. Customers had to choose between a Big Mac or 10-piece chicken nuggets, including fries, a drink, and a free toy character. 

Now, coming to Carl’s Jr., the chain’s kids menu is not as exciting as McDonald’s. Currently, they offer Starpals kids meals, which consist of four options: hamburger kids meal, cheeseburger kids meal, 2-piece chicken tenders kids meal, and chicken stars kids meal. All these meals are under 700 calories for kids.

Carl’s Jr. recently teamed up with Bad Guys to provide activity sheet toys with kids’ meals. Moreover, we have seen that the chain has also teamed up with Rayon’s World and offered three paper-based games with kids’ meals, including bingo games, race games, and scramble image puzzles. It created a lot of buzz among kids and was quite successful. 

However, this scheme was for a limited time only. We don’t see any unique items Carl’s Jr. offers on its kid’s meal.

Any guesses on who will win this segment? 

Winner – Your beloved McDonald’s wins this battle. 

Which Has A Better Secret Menu?

better secret menu

McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr.’s secret menus offer many exciting and indulgent menu items. Let’s start this round by listing hidden menu items of both chains and see who wins.  

McDonald’s Secret Menu

  1. Big McChicken
  2. Birthday Cake
  3. The 2 Cheeseburger Meal
  4. The Chicken McGriddle
  5. Big Mac Sauce With Fries
  6. The Land, Sea, And Air Burger
  7. The MC 10:35
  8. The McCrepe
  9. The Mc Gang Bang
  10. The McKinley Mac
  11. The Monster Mac
  12. The McLeprechaun Shake
  13. Neapolitan Shake
  14. The Pie McFlurry
  15. Caramel Apple Sundae
  16. Orange Creamsicle Shake
  17. McBrunch Burger
  18. Poor Man’s Big Mac
  19. Big Mac N Cheese
  20. Grilled Cheese
  21. Chicken Cordon Bleu McMuffin
  22. Cinnamon Melt A La Mode
  23. Hash Brown McMuffin
  24. Biscuits & Gravy
  25. Root Beer Float

Carl’s Jr. Secret Menu

  1. Chicken Stuffed Superstar Burger
  2. DIY jalapeno Chicken Tenders
  3. 1 Ib. Monster Angus Thickburger 
  4. Cake Shake
  5. Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Shake

Looking at the list above, we can say that McDonald’s has many hidden gems to try compared to Carl’s Jr. Moreover, McDonald’s secret menu has a wider variety of items such as burgers, cakes, desserts, shakes, and meals. At the same time, Carl’s Jr.’s hidden menu items are limited to burgers and shakes. 

So, I have the real winner who won this battle. 

Winner – McDonald’s wins this segment. It has better secret menu items that are pretty popular among fast-food lovers. 

Which Has Better Deals?

better deals

If you are looking for the best deals on your fast food, you won’t miss this showdown of McDonald’s vs. Carl’s Jr. Both fast-food restaurants provide discounts and rewards. But in this battle, we have to see who wins the battle round. So, let’s get started.

McDonald’s is offering attractive deals right now. There are 2 for $4, 2 for $5, 2 for $6 meals, free fries Friday, and many more. Apart from that, McDonald’s offers various breakfast deals too. They offer two 2-for $4 mix-and-match discounts, $0.99 for any size of premium roast or iced coffee. 

Apart from that, we cannot forget about McDonald’s famous dollar menu. It includes three price tiers: $1, $2, and $3. There are various items lined up in these particular dollar prices.

Now, let’s jump on to Carl’s Jr. deals. The chain offers surprisingly better deals and offers. For example, if you sign up for Carl’s mobile app for the first time, you get a free burger on a minimum purchase of $1. So, you can choose from their famous burgers like western bacon cheeseburger, renowned star, or hand-breaded chicken sandwich. 

They also have an earn point system where you earn ten stars for every $1 spent on ordering through the mobile app. You can redeem your favorite menu items as soon as you receive 150 stars. 

McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. steal the spotlight with deals and offers. They offer pocket-friendly offers that customers love. Both chains offer appealing discounts. 

Now let me reveal who is the winner of this round. 

Winner – It’s a tie! Both McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. offer amazing deals. Therefore, both win this battle. 

Which Has A Modern Look?

modern look

Since their inception, McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. have adopted a modern look in their restaurants and stayed relevant with time. Both fast-food chains offer a stylish dining experience for their customers. Both chains have worked to keep up-to-date with modern trends, from sleek interiors to digital menu boards. 

Regarding promotions, McDonald’s is well-known for its quirky and clever branding and advertising. Their frequent promotions are seen on billboards and highways. One of the famous branding promotions was done on roads, stating, “Stuck in a jam? There is light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Some other iconic examples are McDonald’s blurry billboards. The fast-food chain displayed blurry billboards with french fries in the center, stating only a straightforward message, “Say no more” in Spain. The worldwide advertising of McDonald’s is remarkable. 

Returning to Carl’s Jr., the brand has also made some efforts in branding and promotions. One of the branding moves by Carl’s Jr. here is the “Famous Stars, Eating Famous Stars” campaign.

In 2021, Carl’s Jr. partnered with singer Celeste Barber to promote its new “Famous Stars, Eating Famous Stars” campaign. Barber is an Australian comedian known for her satirical Instagram posts about celebrities. In the campaign, Barber recreates some of Carl Jr.’s most iconic ads with a twist.

In one of Carl’s old Paris Hilton ads, she eats a burger in a bikini. However, in Barber’s version, she is wearing a bikini, eating a burger, and funnily recreating the parody. That campaign brought a lot of buzz on the internet. 

Carl’s Jr. promotions are mostly occasional and proactive advertising. The humor is less compared to McDonald’s witty brand promotions. 

While both brands do good social media postings, McDonald’s wins with its clever branding and humorous videos. If I have to pick one winner here, it’s McDonald’s.

Winner – McDonald’s wins this battle round.

Which Is More Successful?

more successful

When comparing the success of McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr., McDonald’s takes the lead. McDonald’s boasts a significantly more significant global presence than Carl’s Jr. 

Currently, McDonald’s has over 39,000 restaurants in over 100 countries. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. has over 3800 restaurants in more than 42 countries. 

Regarding revenue generation, McDonald’s has generated around 23.18 billion dollars, whereas Carl’s Jr. has generated around $2.26 billion.

As a result, McDonald’s has better popularity, more revenue generation, and a better global presence. So, now let me announce the winner. 

Winner – McDonald’s wins this battle as it’s a more successful fast-food brand. 

Who Wins This Battle- McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.?

McDonald's win the battle

McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. have faced fierce competition in this ultimate fast-food battle. We have judged them on various factors such as breakfast menu, kids menu, better deals and promotions, secret menus, and more. The results were also announced by the end of the battle round. 

Overall, McDonald’s has won the most battles. Hence, McDonald’s has a victory in this face-off. With its extensive menu offerings, global presence, and affordable prices, McDonald’s is the most successful player in this battle.

Carl’s Jr. had a fair play but lost in maximum rounds. I am signing off with these results, but if you want to catch up with other incredible fast-food battles, stay here. We have many other blogs, such as Jack In The Box vs. McDonald’s, McDonald’s vs. In-N-Out battle, McDonald’s vs. Hungry Jacks showdown, and McDonald’s vs. Taco Bell battle. You will enjoy reading them. Have a great day!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the main differences between McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr.?

McDonald’s menu items focus on classic burgers and chicken sandwiches. At the same time, Carl’s Jr. offers unique charbroiled burgers and milkshakes. Besides that, McDonald’s is more affordable than Carl’s Jr., offering better burgers. 

Is McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. healthier?

When comparing both, McDonald’s offers healthier and lower-calorie food options than Carl’s Jr.

Which restaurant offers a better breakfast menu – McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.?

Both McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. offer a better breakfast menu.

Who is more popular – McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr.?

McDonald’s is more popular than Carl’s Jr. McDonald’s has more restaurants opened worldwide – about 40,00 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *