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Monday, June 17, 2024

This Map Ranks Fast Food Prices Per State

The cost of our drive-thru runs and DoorDash orders has continued to rise this year, to the point where over three-quarters of Americans have started to consider fast food to be a luxury. McDonald’s and Burger King have both responded by releasing $5 value meals that include a sandwich, chicken nuggets, fries and a drink, in addition to occasional specials, like the week that Wendy’s offered 1-cent bacon cheeseburgers

But according to some new data, there may still be a way to save a couple of dollars on your next fast food purchase — you just may have to go to Mississippi to order it. A savings-focused website called BravoDeal conducted a survey to determine which state had the least expensive (and the most expensive) fast food choices. 

It took four factors into consideration: the average price of a McDonald’s Big Mac; the average price of a medium cheese pizza from Domino’s; the average price of a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich; and the average price of a combo meal at Taco Bell. After adding and averaging all of those numbers, it ranked all 50 states from the lowest average price to the highest. 

The state with the overall lowest prices was Mississippi, where a Big Mac costs around $3.91, which is over 10% lower than the national average. Its Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches were also the cheapest in the country. The rest of the top five included Arkansas, Alabama, Nebraska, and Kentucky. 

On the other side of the affordability spectrum, it’s no surprise that Hawaii tops the list, with the most expensive prices across all four categories. The average Big Mac costs $5.31 in the Aloha State and that medium pie from Domino’s clocked in at an eye-watering $18.99. (And, before you ask, Alaska — our other non-contiguous state — was the sixth most expensive, where those four food items cost around 11% more than the national average.) 

After Hawaii, the next four most expensive states were New York, New Jersey, California, and Maryland. 

“These findings reveal the varied cost of takeaways across the U.S., reflecting America’s love for fast food staples like McDonald’s, Domino’s, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell,” Marco Farnararo, the CEO and co-founder of Bravo Savings Network, said in a statement.

”Hawaii’s position as the most expensive state comes as no surprise, given its remote island location, which drives up the costs of goods due to transportation expenses. However, what’s really interesting is the variety of price ranges we see elsewhere. From wallet-friendly Mississippi to the slightly more expensive areas such as California and New York, it’s eye-opening for anyone who loves a quick takeaway.” 

And a second survey, conducted by price-tracking website Pricelisto, calculated which state was the “Fast Food Capital” of the United States, based on the number of fast food restaurants in each state compared to the overall population. The research involved adding up all of the locations of 22 different franchises, including heavy hitters like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway, along with smaller chains like In-N-Out and Raising Cane’s. 

After doing a lot of math, the number-crunchers determined that West Virginia was the fast foodiest state in America, with 888 fast food restaurants. That averages out to 49.04 restaurants for every 100,000 residents. 

The four other states with the highest number of per-capita fast food choices were Kentucky (47.21 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), Kansas (47.1 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), Mississippi (46.71 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), and Ohio (46.63 restaurants for every 100,000 residents.) 

10 Cheapest States to Buy Fast Food

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Alabama
  4. Nebraska
  5. Kentucky
  6. South Dakota
  7. Iowa
  8. Ohio
  9. North Dakota
  10. Missouri

The states with the lowest number of per-capita fast food locations were Alaska (30.82 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), California (30.05 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), Idaho (29.78 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), New York (29.47 restaurants for every 100,000 residents), and Vermont (27.65 restaurants for every 100,000 residents). 

So with the least expensive fast food meals and the fourth-highest number of fast food locations, if you’re into Big Macs, assorted chicken nuggets, and copious amounts of French fries, then Mississippi sounds like the place to be.

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