HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s going to cost you a little more to get a side of fries with your meal at your favorite fast-food restaurant.
The National Restaurant Association is reporting a seven percent increase in fast-food prices over the last 12 months – the highest price jump in decades. The association reports the last time prices jumped this high was over 40 years ago.
“I keep being surprised that they continue to rise,” Homewood resident Tish Patton said. “I just think it’s important that those businesses continue to thrive. I would rather see them open and thriving then struggling and failing.”
There was a mix of reactions in Homewood Monday about higher fast-food prices. Many people said off camera they weren’t willing to spend more than $10 for a fast-food meal. For Mason Sykes, he said he didn’t want to spend more than $12.
“It’s crazy,” Sykes said. “It’s just everything’s going up in the past year. I guess it’s all correlated to inflation, gas, groceries, fast food. We’re all taking a hit.”
University of Alabama Business Professor Dr. James Cochran said it’s all driven by gasoline. For instance, it takes a lot of gasoline just to transport wheat to a restaurant.
“Any time there’s a rapid increase in the cost of gasoline, you’re going to see something like this happen,” Cochran said. “As long as supply is less than demand for gasoline, we will continue to see inflationary pressure.”
Cochran said many people depend on fast food because of price, proximity and accessibility, but the tool we have as consumers is to buy less gasoline to switch up that supply and demand.
“It’s not going to come down simply through reducing demand to where the prices were a year ago,” Cochran said, “We’re going to have an influx of supply in order for that to happen.”
Cochran said it’s going to take time for fast-food prices to come down, but for some families, these prices have already hit the tipping point. He said another thing we can do here in the Birmingham metro is to keep making contributions to food banks to make sure everyone has something to eat.