It's Now Officially a Recession or, The Hamburglar Has Finally Won


My arteries cheer this news even as my wallet weeps:

While consumers have seen the prices of milk and meat products rise in the supermarket aisles for months, fast-food chains have stood against wider trends. But McDonald's today said that higher wholesale prices are forcing the fast-food chain to change its menu, meaning customers may soon get less for a buck….

For McDonald's, the biggest change surrounds the star of its dollar menu, the double cheeseburger. Some franchises are now selling it with one slice of cheese instead of two. Others are raising the price by as much as 19 cents, taking it off the dollar menu altogether.

"The life of the double cheeseburger remains to be seen," Jeffery Bernstein, Lehman Brothers analyst, said. "They'll still sell it, but you might not be seeing it for a dollar for much longer."

The dollar menu accounts for 14 percent of McD's receipts and has been widely hailed as a success in generating foot traffic that ultimately leads to higher sales overall (one reason why the double cheeseburger is routinely sold for less than its single counterpart). But it now appears that instead of washing down a dollar item with more expensive fare, customers are sticking to the cheap stuff.

More here.

Hat tip: Michael C. Moynihan.