Wendy’s 1-cent burger deal aimed at inflation-weary consumers

Wendy's has joined the fast food price wars with a 1-cent hamburger for a week - Photo by Siyuan Lin on UnSplash

For a limited time, it’s selling its Junior Bacon Cheeseburger for just a penny

Suddenly, the tide appears to be turning for fast food customers. Wendy’s is the latest chain to offer a meal deal, and this one may be hard to beat.

From May 28 through June 2, the chain will sell its Junior Bacon Cheeseburger for 1-cent. The promotion launches on National Hamburger Day.

Wendy’s move follows McDonald’s and Burger King’s recent announcements of adding a $5 meal deal to their menus for a limited time. It also comes on the heels of a customer revolt against the higher menu prices some fast food chains – McDonald’s in particular – launched in the wake of higher costs.

But the chain ran the same promotion in 2023, so the response may not be tied to the competition.

Consumer pushback

When McDonald’s reported fourth-quarter earnings in February, the company noted that it had lost some lower-income customers.

“I think what you’re going to see as you head into 2024 is probably more attention to what I would describe as affordability,” McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said on the conference call.

Tonika, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from High Point, N.C., also found that some McDonald’s had cut out free beverage refills. When she confronted the manager of a New Jersey McDonald’s, she says she got this response:  

“He said we don’t give out refills,” Tonika told us. “I said you guys don’t give refills? He said we have not given out refills in about two months.”

It remains to be seen how much further the fast-food price war will go before it begins to cut into profit margin. Right now, it appears to be all about regaining market share.

Besides its 1-cent hamburger, Wendy’s is also trying to woo breakfast customers. This week it launched a breakfast deal for $3, consisting of a combination of potatoes and a choice of either a Bacon, Egg & Cheese English Muffin or a Sausage, Egg & Cheese English Muffin.

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