$25 Chicken Nugget Meal: California’s Minimum Wage Hike Takes “McFlation” to a Whole New Level

California’s minimum wage increase had immediate adverse effects on the fast food industry. In addition to mass layoffs and location closures, many franchises have resulted to increasing menu prices in order to afford to pay their employees. The most recent upset comes from a chicken nugget meal that costs an almost inconceivable $25.

Source: SaltWire

“McFlation” is a term coined by the internet to describe the shockingly high prices of McDonald’s menu items in the wake of unprecedented inflation and minimum wage hikes. The dollar menu is almost entirely a thing of the past.

Source: Reddit/ Mildlyinfuriating

In the past few months, the $18 Big Mac meal made headlines and alarmed consumers. The fast food industry used to be the most affordable way for many people to feed themselves and their families. But now, as fast food is becoming unaffordable for the average American, consumers are left with limited options.

Source: CalMatters

The minimum wage for fast food workers increased from $16 to $20 in the state of California. The bill was passed in an effort to provide fast food industry workers with a livable wage in the Golden State, but layoffs, increased prices, and store closures quickly made clear that the 20% wage hike did not take the consumers into account.

Source: @shannon_montipaya/TikTok

People took to the internet to share videos and pictures of the shocking new price points of McDonald’s food. One customer visited a drive-thru in Southern California and was horrified to see the 40-piece chicken McNuggets bundle cost $25.39 plus tax!

Source: @shannon_montipaya/TikTok

@shannon_montipaya on TikTok aptly named her discovery of the new elevated prices of McDonald’s food “McFlation”. The meal came with 4 10-piece nuggets and 2 medium fries, but no beverage. The high price point is just one example of how expensive fast food has become.

Source: Facebook/ McDonalds

McDonald’s maintains that they are doing everything in their power to keep prices manageable for the consumer as they navigate an appropriate balance between profit and fair pay. They released a $5 meal earlier this month that offers a McChicken sandwich, small fries, small drink, and four McNuggets.

Source: Cockeyed

However, consumers remain largely unimpressed with their efforts as price tags continue to increase on their most basic items. Videos such as the one created by @shannon_montipaya are filled with commenters lusting for the “olden days” when a 40-piece nugget only cost $5 and large drinks were $1.

Source: Wikipedia

The continually increasing prices of McDonald’s is already starting to drive consumers elsewhere. The chain reported a drop in growth from double digits gains in 2021 and 2022 to 9% last year. This year they project that number to drop again to about 3-4%, according to AP News.

Source: KLA

However, the minimum wage hike impacted many franchises across the state so consumers worry they will have difficulties finding affordable alternatives. The dramatic price increases mark the beginning of a stark change in the fast food industry that bring into question food affordability.