Hello, fellow fast food fanatics! There's one question I've spent way too much time pondering: Does fast food cost more today than it used to?
To figure this out, I thought I'd use the many photos of old fast food menus floating around the internet, but unfortunately, none of them are dated accurately. For example, I've seen the menu below posted five or six times, but it's always said to be from a different year (ranging from the '60s to the '80s).
But then, I had an epiphany! There had to be old menus from fast food restaurants on Getty Images*, and all of their photos are accurately dated. Well, I looked...and there were!
LONG STORY SHORT...with these photos, we can finally answer my burning question! So, let's find out...does fast food only seem more costly today because of inflation? Or, have fast food restaurants jacked up their prices over the years even more than what's to be expected from inflation?
Here's how we'll find out: We'll take the price of an item from the past and — using an inflation calculator — learn exactly how much it would cost in 2022 due to inflation and inflation alone. And then, we'll look at the actual 2022 price to see if restaurants have raised the prices on us beyond that point.
One last note: The "today" prices are all taken from fast food restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area.