Why Is Burger King So Expensive? | The Real Reason Behind It?

Are you wondering why is Burger King expensive? Well, you are not alone. Burger King’s menu prices have risen dramatically. The Whopper was sold for only 37 U.S. cents when they first launched it. However, it cost $7.99 today. So, let’s find out why Burger King has become so expensive.

Burger King

Burger King has become more expensive due to inflation, higher location and operating expenses, and increased competition. Moreover, the price of beef has risen by more than 40%, and the bulk of Burger King hamburgers are made entirely of beef. 

We will look deeper into the factors that have affected the prices of Burger King’s menu items. But the good news is that despite the price rise, there are many ways to save money at Burger King. For example, you can take advantage of exclusive deals offered by Burger King. So, continue reading to find out more ways!

Why Are Burger King’s Menu Prices Skyrocketing?

burger king restaurant

Burger King’s menu prices are skyrocketing due to inflation, ingredient changes, and labor costs. Adjustments to the business’s pricing strategy have also contributed to this change. Thus, the price of its famous items has risen by more than 50%. 

Back then, Burger King launched its famous Whopper for 37 U.S. cents. Due to inflation, today, a Whopper costs $7.99. Likewise, the cost of Burger King French fries and shakes has also increased. 

The price of Burger King French fries in 2019 was $2.39; today it is $3.79. Similarly, the cost of B.K. shakes was $2.99; today, it is $4.79.  

Let’s look deeper into these reasons, starting with a table that helps us identify the prices of famous Burger King menu items compared to fast food from McDonald’s.

Menu ItemsBurger KingMcDonald’sWendy’sChick-Fil-A
Whopper (BK) Vs. McDonald’s Vs. Wendy’s Vs. Chick-Fil-A$7.99Big Mac $4.79Daves’ Single – $6.94Chicken Deluxe $3.65
Crispy Chicken Sandwich (BK)Vs. McDonald’s Vs. Wendy’s Vs. Chick-Fil-A$6.09McChicken $4.79Crispy Chicken Sandwich $4.49Chicken Sandwich $ 3.05
Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich (BK) Vs. McDonald’s Vs. Wendy’s Vs. (Chick-Fil-A)$6.09McChicken Spicy $4.99Spicy Chicken Sandwich $7.55Spicy Chicken Sandwich $3.29
Classic Fries (BK)  Vs. McDonald’s Vs. Wendy’s Vs. Chick-Fil-A$3.79French Fries $3.59Ghost Pepper Fries $4.62Waffle Potato Fries $ 1.65

It is common knowledge that inflation leads to a general increase in the prices of goods and services, including food ingredients and labor. Thus, restaurants need to adjust their menu prices to cover increased expenses.

Thus, Burger King’s menu has also seen a surge in price every year due to changes in the cost of ingredients, minimum wage laws, or labor market conditions that impact the cost of hiring and retaining staff. Let’s see an example to understand how its menu prices have increased.

Regarding the most recent inflation, Burger King’s menu prices increased significantly in 2022. According to Pricelisto, a website that tracks menu prices for U.S. fast-food chains, the prices surged about 13%. 

One of the items that saw the highest inflation rate in 2022 was Burger King chicken fries. Their pricing rose from $3.97 to $4.64

However, more reasons exist for the increased price of Burger King food items. Over the years, Burger King has introduced new items or limited-time promotions. They are priced differently, mostly higher than existing menu items, as a part of their strategy to maximize profits. 

Moreover, the use of best-quality ingredients, higher location and operating expenses, increased marketing expenditure, and competition have also contributed to the increase in menu prices. They have, in turn, contributed to the closing of many Burger King restaurant outlets. Thus, Burger King’s menu has become expensive over time.

The Recent Inflation

Burger King

Inflation has significantly impacted the pricing of Burger King’s menu. Due to inflation, the prices of the main ingredients of Burger King’s menu items like beef and cheese have increased. It has, in turn, led to an overall increase in the price of its menu items.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Beef and veal experienced an average inflation rate of 4.10% per year. This rate of change indicates significant inflation. In other words, beef and veal costing $20 in 1935 would cost $683.84 in 2023 for an equivalent purchase.”

Likewise, inflation has also increased in the price of cheese. ABC News says, “Prices for milk, yogurt, and cheese are up almost 15 percent from the same time last year.” Furthermore, prices of vegetables have also seen a surge. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fresh vegetable prices were 1,900.41% higher in 2023 versus 1947.

As these three ingredients are crucial in building the signature Burger King items, it has increased Burger King’s menu prices. Thus, Burger King has become expensive over the years.   

Let’s compare the prices of some Burger King menu items to understand how inflation has affected their prices in a gap of 4 years.

Burger King Menu ItemsPrices in 2019 Prices in 2023
Whopper $3.99$7.99
Double Whopper$4.99$9.19
Original Chicken Sandwich$3.99$6.79
Chicken Fries$2.99$4.99
Big Fish Sandwich$3.79$7.39

Using Best Quality Ingredients 

Burger King

It’s common knowledge that better quality ingredients come at a significantly higher price. Thus, the use of best-quality ingredients by Burger King has made its menu items expensive.

Like many fast-food chains, Burger King emphasizes the use of quality ingredients in its menu items. For example, they focus on using beef as the primary ingredient in their flagship menu items. Thus, they claim to use 100% beef patties in their higher-priced burgers compared to cheaper alternatives. 

Furthermore, they also use expensive cooking techniques compared to their competitors. Burger King flame grills its patties instead of frying them as compared to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Chick-fil-A. 

Thus, it results in a better-quality taste and texture of their burgers. Likewise, it introduced the Impossible Whopper for vegans, but its competitors need such options. 

If we look at Chick-fil-A’s menu, Burger King has a more diverse menu. Thus, it sources ingredients from local suppliers to ensure better quality.  

Moreover, if we look at the chicken and fish items on the menu, they are also expensive compared to other restaurants. Burger King makes use of real chicken that is sourced from various farmers in America from specific places. 

Likewise, Burger King sources White Alaskan Pollock filets for its fish sandwich. Due to the special sourcing of these items, the cost of ingredients, handling, and operations increase. That’s why the price of these items is higher than at other fast-food restaurants. 

Higher Location And Operating Expenses

Burger King

One of the critical reasons why Burger King’s food is so expensive is that operating expenses have increased due to inflation. They raised the cost of food due to the same. 

A restaurant’s operating expenditures include the costs of ingredients, labor, wages, upkeep, and rentals. Plus, there are several other hidden costs, such as equipment maintenance, marketing and promotions, and technology costs.

These costs can also vary from location to location, directly impacting menu prices and profitability. Furthermore, rent in major cities and prime urban areas is typically much higher than in smaller towns or less desirable locations. 

Additionally, the type of property or space can also impact rent. For example, standalone buildings, shopping center locations, and storefronts in malls or strip malls have different price points. 

Moreover, the ease of access and visibility from the street or a busy road also impacts the rent rate. All these factors have a direct impact on the price of goods. As a result, the cost of each Burger King franchise is defined by the location’s price.

But these factors have also led to the closing of Burger King stores. This year, Burger King is closing nearly 300 to 400 stores as many franchises have filed for bankruptcy. 

While the operational expenses lead to an increase in the menu’s prices, dining at Burger King also has some perks. For example, Burger King offers discounts, freebies, and even free WiFi to its customers in some outlets. Thus, despite being expensive, you may still get pocket-friendly deals at Burger King.

More Marketing Expenditure

Burger King is also expensive because of its investments in expensive marketing campaigns that include celebrities. Thus, the overall pricing of such campaigns goes significantly higher. 

One such campaign was where Burger King joined hands with some of the world’s most renowned celebrities to promote and advertise their menu. They introduced Burger King’s keep it real meal with Nelly, Lil Huddy & Anitta, which was a win-win collaboration for both Burger King and the celebs involved.

While they made money with exceptional sales of products, the cost to pay the celebrities to promote products is significantly higher. In comparison, a simple advertisement with no collaboration doesn’t cost much.

Another marketing expenditure occurred when Burger King created an upside-down whopper in partnership with Netflix in 2019. This meal was available only for a day. However, such limited menu inclusion increases food costs as premium or exotic ingredients are also involved.

Thus, their procurement is an added expense for the company that is adjusted by increasing the product prices. If we go back, B.K. launched a Whopper Virgins campaign in 2008. It was a documentary-style marketing effort that involved taking the Whopper to remote locations and having people try it. 

Now, such a campaign also demands a lot of money to visit such locations and make a documentary. But that’s not where it ends. Burger King has also taken on a global rebranding campaign in 2014. It involved changing the tagline to “Home of the Whopper.” Of course, rebranding involves high costs. 

While the campaigns mentioned above were successful for Burger King, many didn’t work out and had significant costs. For example, Burger King launched crinkle-cut French fries with reduced fat content. While the marketing idea resonated with customers, the product was soon discontinued. 

Likewise, Burger King launched a “women belong in the kitchen” campaign that wasn’t received well by people. The campaign was intended to promote an increase in the number of female chefs in restaurants. However, the campaign was met with confusion and anger. Some people described it as tone-deaf. 

Burger King introduced another campaign that didn’t receive appreciation. Super Bowl game day is incomplete without commercials. Therefore, Burger King took the opportunity to release its own jingle as a marketing strategy. 

They offered customers a karaoke version of their popular tune, “Whopper Whopper,” on TikTok and Spotify. However, it became a running joke, and social media users made countless memes and remakes of the jingle.

Increasing Competition

burger king

Menu price hikes have been observed in response to increasing competition. Thus, as Burger King grows, new ideas and food trends require it to adapt to the changes. This, in turn, results in a rise in the menu prices. 

Therefore, to remain competitive, menu innovations lead to expenditure. To differentiate themselves and justify higher charges, Burger King creates new, unusual, or premium menu items. 

For example, Burger King introduced Big King as a competitor to McDonald’s Big Mac. Then, it introduced crispy and grilled chicken sandwiches as they were offered by its competitors like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A. 

Furthermore, Burger King also introduced grilled dogs in response to the popularity of Sonic Drive-In’s hot dogs. Subsequently, they also introduced the B.K. stacker as the popularity of layered or stacked burgers increased.  

Thus, such changes lead customers to choose between fast-food competitors. That brings people to compare Burger King and McDonald’s, as both restaurants provide good competition regarding their food.

Likewise, Burger King and Wendy’s have been competing for years in the fast food industry for their similar menu. Furthermore, Whataburger is also a prominent fast-food restaurant chain like Burger King. While they have some differences, their similarities lead to comparing Whataburger and Burger King food items

As we compare these restaurants, let us remember how much people adore KFC for its crispy fried chicken. As a result, the KFC Vs. The Burger King debate is also worth noting. 

Similarly, tacos from Taco Bell make for a delicious meal. Therefore, customers often compare Taco Bell food items with Burger King’s food. Furthermore, Five Guys and Chick-fil-A cannot be overlooked regarding direct competition for hamburgers. Burger King faces stiff competition from Five Guys’ made-to-order burgers

Lastly, Chick-fil-A is known for its chicken-focused menu. But Burger King also sells good chicken options. So, is Chick-fil-A a better option than Burger King?

Unanticipated World Events

burger king

Unanticipated world events also significantly impact restaurants, leading to potential price increases. The most recent COVID-19 pandemic forced Burger King to discontinue many food items. It also increased the cost of items due to food shortages. 

During the pandemic, Reuters reported that the chain would stop selling sundaes, whipped toppings, and chocolate milk. The sale of Whopper also became limited in a few places. 

This led to the prices of menu items going up to meet expenses. Likewise, wars, economic shutdowns, and changes in exchange rates disrupt the global supply chain, which directly impacts prices. 

Thus, ingredients, such as agricultural products or imported goods, become scarce or more expensive. These disruptions lead to increased food costs for restaurants.

How You Can Save Money At Burger King 

Burger-King-Meals

Saving money at Burger King is easy. You can use Burger King deals, rewards, promotions, and discounts. Moreover, Burger King also offers attractive combos to please your pocket.

Let’s take a look at the ways that can help you save money at Burger King. If you are heading to Burger King for breakfast, you can avail yourself of the Burger King breakfast deals running at the stores. For example, you can avail of the Burger King 2 for $4 deal and get two sandwiches for $4. 

Likewise, you can look for Burger King combos or meal deals, including burgers, fries, and drinks. These can be more cost-effective than purchasing items individually. 

Additionally, Burger King also offers coupons and promotions with heavy discounts. These offerings often come with discounted prices or combo deals. While taking advantage of them, remember to find out how many coupons you can use at Burger King.

With Burger King coupons & promotions you can avail heavy discounts to purchase your favorite food items. Furthermore, just like its competitors, Burger King also offers rewards to its customers that can be redeemed while buying food. 

Lastly, the Burger King value menu is excellent for taking advantage of lower-priced items. These can be an affordable way to enjoy your favorite menu items. 

With so many options to save money at Burger King, you will surely have a great time at the restaurant. But there are many more Burger King hacks and tips for your next order. So, remember to check them out. 

Conclusion

Why is Burger King so expensive? Well, you have the answers to this question now. Many factors affect the pricing of Burger King’s menu. However, despite being expensive, you can take advantage of Burger King’s special discounts, value meals, and promotions. 

Such offerings bring down the total value of your meal to suit your pocket. So, have a great time at Burger King. If you have any further questions about the fast-food chain, please ask me in the comments section below.  

Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs)

Is Burger King food more expensive than at other fast-food restaurants?

Yes, Burger King’s food is comparable to other food chains.

What makes Burger King food expensive?

Many factors contribute to making Burger King’s food expensive. These include inflation, increased competition, unanticipated world events, marketing expenditure, and more.

Does Burger King offer discounts?

Yes, Burger King offers discounts, deals, value meals, coupons, and more that can reduce the cost of your meal.

Which restaurants are cheaper as compared to Burger King?

McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, and Whataburger offer cheaper food than Burger King.

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