Look no further than the fast-food drive-thru for evidence of inflation fatigue.
Food companies have been passing along higher labor and ingredient costs to consumers long after inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022. Diners are getting fed up, eating less fast food and griping on social media that their go-to cheap meals aren’t so cheap anymore.
Sales show it. McDonald’s reported underwhelming results in the fourth quarter, and Yum Brands showed weaker-than-expected growth in its top brands, which include KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.
Fast-food executives are taking note. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts Monday that consumers are becoming more discriminating with their dollars, and he promised the company would focus more on affordability this year.