McDonald's employee
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
March 7, 2024 ·  3 min read

McDonald’s Insider Says Fast Food Giant is No Longer Catering to Customers Who Earn $45k or Less

A former McDonald’s employee claimed the firm now caters to the wealthy, sparking debate. Chef Mike Haracz (@chefmikeharacz), a former McDonald’s corporate chef, has made waves on TikTok for divulging company information. TikToker has revealed the worst time to go to McDonald’s, the truth behind McDonald’s birthday cakes, and why the menu doesn’t change much. He’s sparked debate by saying McDonald’s is abandoning low-income customers.

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In an earnings call this morning, [McDonald’s] openly admit that they are losing value customers, specifically those making $45,000 a year or less,” he says in the nearly 1 million-view video. “They are losing them to the grocery store, so they concede you can make the same stuff cheaper there.

In the film, Haracz highlights that McDonald’s has claimed profitability despite declining foot traffic. McDonald’s makes more money even though there are fewer customers because the increased prices make customers spend more. He continues, “Lower-income folk– McDonald’s is not the place you want to go for affordable food options anymore. They said they might target low-income people in the future. The problem is they’ll likely manufacture excessive portions. You’ll spend a lot for what you receive.

This is common in fast food. Companies prefer to embrace offerings that cater to higher-income customers, people who are willing and able to pay more for products and services. Limiting discounts and adding add-ons or visual adjustments to make the product look and feel more “premium.”

McDonald’s indeed singled out lower-income customers during a recent earnings call, but they didn’t declare they were trying to eliminate them. So they call this market a “battleground.” “Low-income consumers are under pressure in the U.S. Call it $45,000 and under“, said McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski. That customer is pushed. In the latest quarter, the industry witnessed that cohort drop, especially as eating at home has grown more economical.

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We’re not seeing any genuine behavior change with middle and high income. We continue to gain share with those groups,” Kempczinski said later in the call. “However, that low-income customer is the battleground. I think 2024 will see a greater focus on affordability.” Haracz told the Daily Dot why the corporation called this market a “battleground” in an email.

His words: “It is a battleground market since it is the biggest consumer base they have been losing over the years, and they are less brand loyal, making it difficult to lure them to the restaurant. Due to overpricing their primary menu items, “their affordability entails considerably lesser portion sizes,” he said.

User comments on Haracz’s video discussed McDonald’s price increases. “$30 for two McDonald’s meals is crazy.” A user mentioned they only go when they have an app active. “Yes, most fast food outlets today.” One joker said, “Taco Bell is forcing you to live less.” “Thank you, McD’s. Price spikes taught us how easy and affordable self-cooking is“, said a third.

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