6 thoughts on “Why People Think The Economy Sucks”

  1. Inflation hit the fast food market hard because of transportation costs going up because of diesel fuel prices increases thanks to the hostile take on the XL pipeline, etc. In the old days of mom & pop diners, much of the supply was locally sourced and not so dependent on energy prices.

    With the big national chains, that’s no longer true. The meat is grown at point A, processed at point B, warehoused at point C, all before being delivered to your local restaurant at point D. The one commonality? Diesel fuel.

    Now that’s just the cost input, not the marketing uptake. To make up for the increased cost the chains have gone to those ‘deluxe’ “up-scale” menus. And have done so, so successfully that even if fuel costs drop like a rock thanks to a new administration, I don’t expect fast food prices to drop in response.

    Now maybe some savvy chain will start marketing the family ‘economy pack’ of all non-deluxe food that will bring families back into the restaurant and maybe mom or dad will up-order from the deluxe menu. I expect that to happen.

    What I also expect to happen is those automated kiosks will start with the default up-sell. You’ll have to knock items off the automatically selected menu items if you want to keep from spending over $20 bucks on lunch.

    Remember, bottom line, it’s not about convenience, it’s about making money.

    1. High energy costs resulting in higher transportation costs is part of the problems hitting fast food restaurants. It also hits on the restaurants’ utility bills. Throw in the sharp increase in labor costs and it’s no wonder why prices have increased so much. It isn’t just happening at fast food restaurants. These factors are hitting across restaurants, grocery stores, and just about everything else.

  2. OK, Suze Orman, I get that a regular habit of Starbucks or a high-end McDonalds meal was never going to let a person gain ground financially, and what is different now is that such a habit is digging people into an even deeper hole.

    But for a hard-working person of modest means, a fancy McDonalds meal is one of the pleasures they once enjoyed but now find out of reach.

    What is worse than the inflation is the “spin” being put on this. Think of Judge Judy Sheindlin’s book “Don’t (micturate) on my leg and tell me it is raining.”

    Are we turning into Cuba, where one of the professors here at the “U” upon returning from a visit remarked on what a true Socialist paradise it was, “except the people are a little calorie restricted”?

  3. Part of the issue is that cooking for one often leads to a tremendous waste of food. Especially if one is not good at leftovers.

    McDonald’s I consider to be barely food, like Subway and a few others. Some are just too incompetent to merit my business, like Popeye’s. Others I do enjoy from time to time, like DQ and Chick-fil-a. The best are always the little mom & pop dives. They may look a little grungy, but a fresh cooked meal is always tasty. Big Mama’s Chicken & Waffles and JJ’s Fish & Chicken in Dallas are great examples.

    I listen to my body. If it signals that it’s not interested in the “food” I’m ingesting I won’t eat it. If I wolf it down and feel sated then I know I’ve found the real deal. I eat whatever my body is telling me it is interested in (“cravings”), and I almost always have dessert. Long-term, I still have the same pant size as in high school, and I’m rollerblading in my mid-50s, so I don’t think I’m doing anything terribly wrong nutrition-wise. Wish I could afford a doctor visit…

  4. Yes, prices are up because costs are up but fast food restaurants introducing “fancy” menu items isn’t because they are taking advantage of a customer base that is overspending.

    Fast food now has to compete with what used to be a step up, the sit down restaurant. Red Robbin, Olive Garden, or just about any sit down restaurant now offer convenient curb side pick up and delivery. They do it at a cost that is competitive to fast food.

    To the consumer, price matters but so does value, the intersection of price and quality. Illustrative numbers, why by a $13 meal from McDonalds when you can buy something of equal portions but higher quality for $14 or $15?

    To compete, fast food increases the quality or value of their menu.

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