A selection of value-menu hamburgers from McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic Drive-In and Wendy's.
A selection of value-menu hamburgers from McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic Drive-In and Wendy's.

A value menu (not to be confused with a value meal) is a group of menu items at a fast food restaurant that are designed to be the least expensive items available. In the US, the items are usually priced between $0.99 and $2.99. The portion size, and number of items included with the food, are typically related to the price.

Examples

Arby's

Arby's announced the launch of their value menu on April 9, 2010.[1] Items on the value menu vary based on location, but typically include small or value size roast beef sandwiches, curly fries, milkshakes, chicken sandwiches, ham and cheddar sandwiches, and turnovers.[2]

Burger King

Burger King added a value menu in 1998 with items priced at 99¢ (USD),[3] equivalent to $1.65 in 2021. In 2002[4] and 2006, BK revamped its value menu, adding and removing products at 99¢, and later increasing some prices to $1.39.[5] Many of these items have since been discontinued, modified or relegated to a regional menu option.[6] The Burger King Whopper was the very first 99 cent burger and it revolutionized the 99 cent menu in the fast food industry.[7]

McDonald's

After numerous attempts beginning in 1991,[8] experimenting with a variety of menus and pricing strategies,[9] McDonald's launched its first national value menu, the Dollar Menu, in late 2002 in the United States.[10]

The latest iteration was rolled out on January 4, 2018 in the United States. It features a dozen items at various price points: $1, $2 and $3, with four items per price point.[11] It no longer featured fries, which was criticized by Good Mythical Morning along with the lack of items at the $1 price point.[12] In Canada, fries are available for CA$1.59 on the Value Picks menu.[13]

McDonald's Dollar Menu (USA)
Price point Items
$1 Cheeseburger McChicken Sausage Burrito Soft Drink
$2 Bacon McDouble Buttermilk Crispy Tenders (x2) Sausage McGriddles Small McCafé
$3 Triple Cheeseburger Classic Chicken Sandwich Sausage McMuffin with Egg Happy Meal
McDonald's Summer Value Menu 2020 (Canada)[14]
Price point Items
$1 Any Size Soft Drink Medium Iced Coffee Vanilla Cone Cookie
$2 Small Real Fruit Smoothie Small Iced Frappé Medium Slushie Sundae
$3 (retired) Small Skor Coffee Iced Frappé Small Real Fruit Protein Smoothie Does not appear Does not appear

Subway

Main article: Subway $5 footlong promotion

Subway currently offers a $4.99 footlong menu in the United States. The promotion began in 2004 as a $5 footlong menu (equivalent to $7.17 in 2021).

Taco Bell

In 1988, Taco Bell lowered the prices of all new items and launched the first three-tiered pricing strategy and free drink refills.[15] In 2010, Taco Bell introduced the $2 Meal Deals menu, featuring a menu item (i.e., a chicken burrito, a beefy 5-layer burrito, a double decker taco, or a Gordita supreme), a bag of Doritos, and a medium drink.[16] On August 18, 2014, Taco Bell launched a new value menu called Dollar Cravings that included eleven food items each priced a $1.[17][18][19][20]

On December 15, 2017, Taco Bell launched a new advertising campaign called "The Belluminati" to advertise its Dollar Cravings menu.[21]

Wendy's

Wendy's is generally credited with being the first fast food chain to offer a value menu in October 1989, with every item priced at $0.99. (equivalent to $2.16 in 2021).[22][23][24] However, the general price for value menu items is now around $1.55.

References

  1. ^ Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc. (April 9, 2010). "Arby's Launches National Value Menu Starting at $1" (Press release). Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  2. ^ arbys.com. "New Arbys's Value Menu". arbys.com. Archived from the original on 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
  3. ^ Burger King (March 16, 1998). "Burger King Debuts New 99¢ 'Great Tastes' Menu" (Press release). PR Newswire. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  4. ^ "Burger King promotes new menu". South Florida Business Journal. August 12, 2002. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  5. ^ Burger King (February 28, 2006). "Burger King Introduces Value Menu" (Press release). Media Post. Retrieved 2010-04-04.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ BKC publication (July 2007). "US Regional Menu Nutritional Brochure" (PDF). Burger King Holdings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  7. ^ "Were the BK Whoppers ever 99c before? | Retro Junk".
  8. ^ Richard Martin (January 7, 1991). "McDonald's kicks off value menu blitz". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  9. ^ "McDonald's Continues Dollar Menu Brand Campaign With Bilingual Spots[...]" (Press release). Business Wire. June 12, 2002. Retrieved 2010-04-04.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "McDonald's Spices Up Dollar Menu Price Attack". Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News. November 27, 2002. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
  11. ^ Taylor, Kate (December 6, 2017). "McDonald's has a new Dollar Menu — here's everything that's on it". Business Insider. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  12. ^ Good Mythical Morning (December 14, 2017). "We Demand $1 Fries on the New McDonald's Dollar Menu". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Value Picks Menu". McDonald's Canada. December 16, 2017. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  14. ^ "Summer Drink Days". McDonald's Canada. Retrieved June 30, 2002.
  15. ^ "Our Company: History". tacobell.com. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
  16. ^ "Taco Bell - $2 Meal Deals". tacobell.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
  17. ^ Brianna Sacks (18 August 2014). "Taco Bell is latest chain to offer a dollar menu - LA Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  18. ^ Tuttle, Brad (August 18, 2014). "Taco Bell Breathes New Life Into Fast-Food Dollar Menus - Money.com". Money.com. Money.com. Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  19. ^ Leslie Patton (15 August 2014). "Taco Bell to Introduce Dollar Menu Nationwide - Bloomberg". Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  20. ^ Ashley Lutz (15 August 2014). "Taco Bell Dollar Menu New - Business Insider". Business Insider. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
  21. ^ Monllos, Kristina (December 16, 2017). "Taco Bell's Hilarious, Over-the-Top Nod to the Illuminati Isn't Your Average Value Menu Campaign". Adweek. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  22. ^ wendys.com (February 5, 2007). "About Us: The Wendy's Story". wendys.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
  23. ^ Stuart Elliot (February 6, 2006). "Wendy's Returns 99¢ to Its Place on the Price Pedestal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
  24. ^ York, Emily Bryson (April 7, 2008). "Value menu battleground". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communication, Inc.