This Is the Most Expensive Fast Food Restaurant in 2023

MIAMI, FLORIDA USA - 08-22-2022 Breakfast Baconator, breakfast potatoes, and a cup of coffee at a Wendy's restaurant.

If you think that fast food is getting expensive, you're right. A “value meal” at many fast food restaurants costs almost as much as a regular meal at a sit-down restaurant. In fact, McDonald's was criticized recently for charging up to $18 for a Big Mac. That's a high price for an unhealthy meal. 

Inflation, plus the never-ending desire to make a profit, has kept fast food prices skyrocketing over the last couple of years. Inflation alone has caused prices to increase by almost 9% in 2023. 

Believe it or not, McDonald's isn't the most expensive fast food restaurant in 2023. No, that honor goes to another fast food joint. 

The Most Expensive Fast Food Restaurant in 2023

Image of Wendy's fast food restaurant
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The most expensive fast food restaurant, according to a report by Pricelisto, is Wendy's.

Wendy's is a fast-food restaurant chain that is known for its square hamburgers and fresh-cut fries. It is the third-largest hamburger chain in the United States, with over 6,500 locations. However, in 2023, Wendy's also became the most expensive fast food restaurant in the country.

The average price of a meal at Wendy's is now $11.11, which is more than any other major fast food chain. The company has attributed this price increase to a number of factors, including inflation, rising food costs, and the need to invest in new restaurant equipment and technology.

Why Is Wendy's So Expensive?

There are a number of reasons why Wendy's is the most expensive fast food restaurant in 2023. One reason is that the company uses higher-quality ingredients than many other fast food chains. For example, Wendy's hamburgers are made with fresh, never-frozen beef, and its fries are cut fresh in-house.

Another reason for Wendy's high prices is that the company has fewer restaurants than some of its competitors. This means that Wendy's has to spread its fixed costs over fewer locations, which results in higher prices per customer.

Finally, Wendy's has invested heavily in new restaurant equipment and technology. This investment has helped to improve the quality of food and service at Wendy's restaurants, but it has also contributed to the company's high prices.

What Are the Most Expensive Items on the Wendy's Menu?

Some of the most expensive items on the Wendy's menu include:

  • The Big Bacon Classic Combo: $11.11
  • The Dave's Hot ‘N Juicy Combo: $10.19
  • The Homestyle Chicken Sandwich Combo: $9.99
  • The Spicy Chicken Sandwich Combo: $9.89
  • The Baconator Combo: $9.79

Even some of the smaller items on the Wendy's menu can be expensive. For example, a small order of fries costs $2.69, and a small Frosty costs $2.79.

Wendy's is the most expensive fast food restaurant in 2023, but it is not the only one that has seen its prices rise in recent years. Due to inflation and rising food costs, the prices of fast food meals have increased across the industry.

However, Wendy's prices are still higher than most of its competitors. For example, the average price of a meal at McDonald's is $9.05, and the average price of a meal at Burger King is $8.66.

Why are people willing to pay more for Wendy's food? Wendy's remains a popular restaurant. There are a number of reasons for this.

First, Wendy's food is generally considered to be of higher quality than the food served at many other fast food chains. As I said, Wendy's uses fresh, never-frozen beef in its hamburgers, and its fries are cut fresh in-house.

Second, Wendy's has a wide variety of menu items to choose from, including hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, and desserts. This gives customers more options to choose from, and it helps to keep the menu interesting.

Finally, Wendy's has a strong brand reputation. The company is known for its fresh food, its friendly service, and its iconic advertising campaigns.

How To Save Money Eating Fast Food

Remember that fast food generally isn't healthy food (and it's not even cheap food). But if you must eat fast food, keep these tips in mind to keep costs down. 

Be aware of upcharges: Fast food chains often offer a variety of sauces, dressings, and toppings for their menu items. While these can enhance the flavor of your meal, they often come with an additional charge. 

Opt for family-sized meals: If you're dining with a group or planning to have fast food multiple times during the week, consider buying items in bulk. Many restaurants offer family-sized meals or party packs, which can be more cost-effective when compared to purchasing individual meals. 

Check their mobile app: Many fast food chains have their own mobile apps, which offer exclusive deals, discounts, and the convenience of ordering and paying through your smartphone. Downloading these apps can provide you with instant access to savings and even reward programs.

Ditch the soft drink: Soft drinks at fast food restaurants can be surprisingly expensive, especially when you order large or super-sized options. Opting for water instead of a soft drink not only saves you money but is also a healthier choice. 

Sign up for loyalty programs: Many fast food chains have loyalty programs that reward regular customers with discounts and free items. These programs often provide points or rewards for each purchase, which can be redeemed for free meals or exclusive offers. Signing up for these programs is usually free, and it's an excellent way to get more value out of your fast food purchases over time.