Applebee’s and Chili’s picked a nasty fight with McDonald’s after this shocking move

May 17, 2024

The price of eating has gone through the roof after the inflation crisis began.

Customers are trying to stretch their dollars to get the best value possible.

And Applebee’s and Chili’s picked a nasty fight with McDonald’s after this shocking move.

Fast food is no longer the value it once was after inflation

Fast food chains have suffered after inflation began running rampant throughout the economy.

The days of dollar menus are long gone and value menus have been filled with items that cost $3 to $4 each.

Combo meals at many of the biggest fast-food chains have gone well over $10.

Inflation has caused consumers to become more careful about how they spend their hard-earned money.

Fast food prices are getting closer and closer to casual restaurants.

Rising prices at McDonald’s and other fast-food chains have opened the door for casual restaurants to begin competing with them for customers.

Now Applebee’s and Chili’s are entering into direct competition with fast-food chains for their customers.

Dine Brands – the parent company of Applebee’s – is betting the customers will trade up for a sit-down dining experience over fast food.

“You can get our burger for $9.99,” Dine Brands CEO John Peyton told CNN. “Why would you take a $10 burger . . . that you can eat in a bag out of your car?”

Dining out used to be a treat but casual restaurants like Applebee’s have become competitive price-wise with fast food chains on staples like hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.

Higher prices across the board are causing many Americans to eat at home more often and spend less money when they do go out.

That means that restaurants are fighting over fewer customers that have less money to spend.

Applebee’s is running promotions for meals that cost nearly the same as a fast-food combo meal.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski admitted the company needed to pay more attention to affordability.

Peyton said Applebee’s is seeing the impact of years of inflation and rising interest rates on its customers. 

“We think it’s going to be a fight for share of wallet and market share all year,” Peyton said.

Chili’s picking a fight with McDonald’s

Chili’s newest menu item, The Big Smasher Burger, is meant to lure customers away from McDonald’s and other fast-food chains.

The Big Smasher Burger features a half-pound hamburger patty topped with lettuce, onions, pickles, and Thousand Island dressing, which makes a Big Mac imitator minus the middle bun.

Chili’s launched the 3 For Me promotion that lets customers pick from entrée like The Big Smasher Burger, fries, chips, and salsa, and a drink for $10.99.

That price makes the promotion competitive with most fast-food combo meals.

A Big Mac combo meal can run as high as $15 in some parts of the country.

“We’ve always had incredible burgers on our menu, but for about a year now, we’ve been hearing more and more frustration from fast-food fans over rising costs,” Chili’s director of culinary Brian Paquette, told Business Insider.

Chili’s didn’t shy away from a competition with McDonald’s by noting in a press release its new hamburger has “flavors fast food lovers will recognize.”

The battle between fast food chains and casual restaurants is heating and customers will be the big winners.

Read All About It will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.

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