McDonald's can have big price differences

McDonald's Austria can have huge price differences for the same products. After an online search for the McDelivery “home office menu” found differences between 12.20 and 18.90 euros, the group only offers franchisees unrestricted price recommendations, a spokesperson insisted to APA. A look at competitor Burger King in Germany provides some insight into the fast food giant's pricing.

The current price range is for example the “home office menu” of around 12.20 to 18.90 euros, with the fast food company's suggested retail price “in the middle of this price range”, says the group's Austrian spokesman. He emphasized: “For the most part, our price recommendation is also implemented, but as you can see, there are still some price systems – cheaper and more expensive.”

Price targets are also subject to antitrust reservations. There are also potential price differences by branch for individual products – not just for menus when ordering.

“In general, we are also feeling increasing pressure on prices, from raw material prices to energy costs and packaging costs,” the spokesperson continued. They don't want to pass these increments on to each other. But: “Nevertheless, price adjustments are possible,” it said, pointing out that franchisees are “absolutely free to set their own prices.” 90 percent of bars in Austria are operated by licensees.

A glance north across the border shows that Burger King, McDonald's main competitor, has recently engaged in purely strategic pricing. dpa-AFX recently reported that price cuts for vegan foods are fueling competition for market share in the industry. Plant-based products are ten cents cheaper each than comparable meat-based products. “We want to encourage more guests to try a plant-based diet if they like it,” managing director Jörg Ehmer said on Tuesday.

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Burger King's economic calculation is not based on the profit margin of an individual meal, but on the assumption that more guests will come. “It has nothing to do with price calculation. It's not about improving profits, but about sending a clear signal,” Ehmer said. Burger King did not provide specific figures for sales of meat and non-meat products.

At the end of last year, Burger King Germany operated 145 restaurants on its own account. 610 owner-operated. The majority shareholder is American investment firm McWin Capital Partners.

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