McDonald's $25 'deal' goes viral; users blame California's minimum-wage increase: 'Your new normal'


A viral social media video about a $25 McDonald's "deal" recently sparked an online debate about California's minimum wage increase.

A TikTok user who posts videos under the username @shannon_montipaya shared the video on March 27. She was in the drive-thru of a Southern California McDonald's location when she saw a sign for a 40-piece Chicken McNugget meal deal, which also included two large fries.

The price of the meal bundle was $25.39 – including sales tax, which would come to roughly $27. In the video, the social media user lamented that the meal didn't even include a drink.

"OK, so it's $25.39 for 40-piece nuggets and two large fries," she said. "You couldn't even throw in the Sprite?"

Split image of McNuggets and man opening wallet

The price of the meal bundle was $25.39 – including sales tax, it would come to roughly $27, no drink included. (iStock / Getty Images)

"You couldn't even throw in, like, a medium Sprite in there? Holy crap."

While the meal is designed to serve four people, it demonstrates how prices at the fast-food chain have risen over the years. A recent study by FinanceBuzz found that McDonald's prices have increased by 100% since 2014.

Ten years ago, the average price of a 10-piece McNugget meal was $5.99. Now, the meal usually goes for $10.99.

The video ended up amassing 2 million views, bringing thousands of TikTok users to its comments section – many of whom were nostalgic about past McDonald's prices.

"Remember when 40 pieces of nuggets were $5 and a large drink was $1," one comment read.

"The manager special used to be 40 nuggets, a gallon of tea, and an LG fry for like 20 dollars SMH," another said.

"I spent $48 there yesterday…my jaw on the floor," a third commenter wrote.

McDonalds Sign

Many TikTok users were nostalgic about the McDonald's prices of yore, before the price of McNuggets increased. (Brandon Bell / File / Getty Images)

Inevitably, some social media users pointed to the recent legislation in California that increased the minimum wage for fast-food workers from $16 to $20.

"20 minimum wage…..welcome to your new normal," one person said.

"Welcome to California," another chimed in.

Other users shared their local McDonald's prices – and very few came close to being as high as California's.

"50 nuggets here are 15 [dollars]," one Florida resident said.

"It’s $6.19 in Dallas for a 20 piece and 2 large fries," a Texan wrote.

Woman budgeting at a desk

A TikTok user was shocked when she saw that a McDonald's meal deal for 40 McNuggets and two small fries was priced at nearly $26. (iStock)

Some viewers thought the video was an overreaction and were unfazed by the price of the meal deal.

"12.50/person isn’t that crazy," a user wrote.

"You getting a good deal and you complaining," another said.

While the wage increase went into effect on Apr. 1 – four days after the TikTok video was posted – fast-food businesses in the Golden State had been bracing for the wage increase for months.

MOD Pizza recently closed at least five California locations before the minimum wage increase kicked in on April 1. Several California fast-food establishments, particularly pizza chains, have been laying off employees in recent months, the Wall Street Journal reported last month, including Pizza Hut and Round Table Pizza.

A former MOD Pizza employee in Clovis told FOX 26 Fresno that it "just kind of seemed like the right timing, two weeks before all of the fast-food locations in California got that increase that we closed."

Spicy Chicken McNuggets being dipped into sauce

Some TikTok users said a McNuggets meal cost far less at their McDonald's locations than at those in California. (McDonald's / Fox News)

McDonald's USA told Fox Business that the FinanceBuzz report is "not an accurate representation of pricing at McDonald's restaurants."

"As the [FinanceBuzz] report itself notes, pricing is set by individual franchisees and varies by restaurant," the statement read. "This is not an accurate representation of historical or current pricing at McDonald's restaurants, and the 2024 average prices listed are significantly inflated."

"Value is part of McDonald's DNA, and we're committed to offering customers great value through everyday affordable pricing plus special offers and deals on our App and through the MyMcDonald's Rewards program."

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