How Much Does Fast Food Cost Around the Country?

A recent study shows the price of a burger and fries varied widely across 50 U.S. cities.

Burger Combos

EyeEm / Alamy Stock Photo

From name brand products like Oreos and Jell-O to cooking basics like butter, skyrocketing inflation has driven up the price of everything — and fast food is no exception. To determine just how much the cost of a fast food meal has increased in the past year, the financial advice site MoneyGeek looked at the price of a burger, french fries, and soda at 145 chain restaurants in America’s 50 largest cities and determined that prices are up 9% from last year overall.

But they also found that the cost can vary significantly depending on where restaurants are located and further broke their data down into the most and least expensive cities for grabbing fast food.

According to MoneyGeek’s findings, if you’re looking for cheap eats, perhaps stay outside of California. Four of the highest averages for a burger combo, including the top two, were in The Golden State: San Francisco was most expensive with the average price of the ten meals coming out to $15.30. Los Angeles was the second most expensive city at $14.59. Nearby Long Beach was fourth with a price of $13.08, and heading back north, Sacramento was eighth at $12.67.

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The rest of the ten most expensive cities were New York (#3, $14.22), Washington (#5, $12.94), Philadelphia (#6, $12.89), Boston (#7, $12.69), Seattle (#9, $12.58), and Mesa (#10, $12.46).

As for the cheapest cities for fast food, MoneyGeek found that a burger, fries, and soda across Tulsa, Oklahoma, averaged out to a mere $6.55. That was significantly cheaper than even the next cheapest city, Wichita, where the average was $7.22.

The rest of the ten least expensive cities for fast food was El Paso ($7.79), New Orleans ($7.93), Detroit ($8.79), Austin ($8.88), Denver ($9.19), Memphis ($9.28), Indianapolis ($9.30), and Atlanta ($9.36).

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Nationwide, the median came in at around $11, with Houston holding the 25th spot at $11.13 and Fort Worth landing in the 26th spot at $10.96. The full list can be found on MoneyGeek’s website.

Importantly, however, not all burger meals are created equal and though similar chains were used across cities, the restaurants selected were apparently not always identical. With that in mind, MoneyGeek’s own data demonstrated how much the prices at certain chains could skew results. For instance, the average price of a meal at McDonald’s came out to just $6.19 whereas the same burger, fries, and soda at Five Guys had an average of $19.95.

It’s also a reminder that, when it comes to saving a few bucks on burgers, finding a cheaper restaurant is always an option as opposed to moving to a different city.

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