How Much Would Big Macs Cost If McDonald’s Paid $15 an Hour?

Would you like a living wage with that?

Workers at McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants have been protesting in several cities and demanding $15 an hour, The New York Times says. We’ve also learned in news reports that some McDonald’s employees are paid with fee-heavy prepaid cards, and that a budgeting guide the chain put out for its employees had multiple jaw-dropping conclusions, including that employees would need two full-time jobs to make ends meet.

Some people are asking how much it would raise the cost of McDonald’s food if employees got a wage increase. In a March hearing on the federal minimum wage, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested that raising it to $10.10 an hour would increase the cost of a McDonald’s combo by just four cents. The national median pay of fast-food workers right now is $9.05 an hour, the Times says.

Arnobio Morelix, an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas business school, tried to do the math for $15 an hour. His findings were covered by Forbes and The Huffington Post, among others. Morelix’s math suggested a $15-an-hour minimum wage at McDonald’s would raise the cost of a Big Mac by 68 cents, a Big Mac combo nearly a dollar, and Dollar Menu items to $1.17.

However, he apparently based his analysis on McDonald’s corporate earnings and didn’t account for the fact that more than 80 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are franchises and not corporate-owned, HuffPo said. If McDonald’s franchises spend close to what a typical fast-food restaurant does on labor (about a third of income), that increase would look more like $1.28 for a Big Mac, it said.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told The Huffington Post such an increase would require some layoffs, but would not put McDonald’s out of business and would reduce turnover.

Restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs, however, said doubling wages for all workers was “not even in the realm of feasibility.” A 24/7 Wall St. analysis suggests it would cost McDonald’s an extra $8 billion a year to meet worker demands.

Assuming you eat at McDonald’s, would you be willing to pay somewhere between 68 cents to $1.28 more for a Big Mac if it meant the employees had a stable job that paid a living wage? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • Janice

    yeah, like the money can only come from passing the cost along to the consumer…riiiiight

    • bigpinch

      So, where is the money supposed to come from, genius? Don’t just say, “corporate profits” or “stock dividends.” Explain what happens when a business doesn’t make a profit or a stock owner doesn’t realize a return on money they put a risk. then you can go back to watching “American Idol” and vote for Hillary.

      • Janice

        we aren’t talking about “when a business doesn’t make a profit,” genius, we’re talking about McDonald’s. And I’d never vote for Hillary….ever.

        • abanikka

          I guess I’ll nullify your vote as I WILL vote for Hillary!

      • abanikka

        There’s this little problem we have in this Country called honesty. Compare proportionally what a perception of a decent profit was 40 years ago to today. Today, when may business’s or corporations say they can’t afford to operate at certain cost’s, the truth is their saying they can’t afford to operate at the same profit levels companies made 40 years ago when they were growing leaps and bounds. The problem is many of us believe what ever they say and take it to the bank. We’re totally eliminating any possibility of greed in the picture when it is abound!

  • Heneryg

    First of all, I can’t think of a single friend of mine that at one time didn’t work for McDonalds, Bk, Wendy’s, Taco Bell or some other fast food restaurant including myself. But then I and friends were not planning on raising a family on minimum income but rather to just have your own money for dates and cars while still in HS and living at home. Second we stayed in school to get an education and didn’t drop out and knock up some young teenage girl and start an unplanned parent child relationship. Third, you can’t blame the kids that finished school and set their priority’s in align and planned their futures. Fourth, it may be hard to take care of your responsibilities and go back to school and do what you should have done when you were a teen. But I strongly recommend you learn to do something other than flipping burgers or bending tacos, The public is not going to pay an X-Tra buck or more for a burger to pay for your request for $15.00 for doing something a monkey can do. And final thought that any one working in the restaurant business , you are not an educated person and depend on tips, you have no skills and really your charm and service is only temp until you start to show you age. You are like a beggar and chances are you don’t even report you tips and consider that a gift rather than income. But gift taxes are higher than income taxes. Well hope you are all pissed at me because I told you what you should of known and what your parents tried to teach you when you knew everything. Bottom line “No I will not pay more a lousy burger”

    • Mamatoni6

      Judgmental much? Your going to stereotype every person who has to work at a fast food chain or restaurant? Come on! If you believe that every person that has to work in these industries are non educated or just stupid, among everything else you have belittled them as, then you are a serious douche! People do what they have to do to get by. If that means flipping burgers then that’s what they’ll do. The last thing I would think they need is a snob with his nose in the air making them feel like crap! You don’t know their life or situation, who are you to be such a judgmental a&$! More so if you believe a college education automatically means “great job and income” then you need to come out of your fairy land and introduce yourself to the real world!

      • Heneryg

        Call it what you will! Most the people you say I stereotyped probably never finished High School, And yes you are right that you do what you have to, but obviously you have no clue on changing your life by changing jobs by learning a trade, or bettering your education to be able to find a better opportunity for better pay. you just don’t know do you? All the while you work your butt off and going backwards and complaining. I know that everyone has been given an education but when you don’t learn or graduate from HS 101 then you’ve already set yourself up for low skill low pay jobs. Trade schools are options! Plumbers , a/c mechanics, automotive mechanics, carpenters, police, medics just mention a few trade will pay incomes of 40K + per year. Jobs in hospitals, beauty industry, hair dressers the list goes on. The only sacrifice you’ll need is to get out of you growing up garb (dress Code) and learn some upscale etiquette and social skills. I hope you read this and take a good look at what I’ve just mentioned and take a step forward in control, you’ll crawl before you walk!

        • Max_Powers007

          So we ridicule people for not working and then we ridicule people who work, but don’t have a job that is skilled enough.

          You’re worried about everyone getting a better education, yet Republican Governors choose not to invest in education and continually cut spending to education in the (low-income) areas that need it most.

          People could afford to pay a little more for a burger if they got paid a living wage. Raise the minimum wage.

          The average age of fast food worker is 29. Its not young people doing these jobs anymore and there aren’t enough young people to fill the demand anyway.

          McDonald’s food is horrendous. With my limited cooking skills, I can make a burger that is fresher, cheaper, healthier, and tastier.

          • Heneryg

            Its not up to the government to insure you education! Its up to you to take the initiative to move forward. Looking at Detroit that was the Democrat Liberals that created that mess and its not the Democrats that own the businesses that put you to work. They are the Have Nots and always will be. They will keep the people poor and on welfare at the expense of the working class.

        • Mamatoni6

          There you go stereotyping again. I say it the way it is, and its because I have “a clue” that it pisses me off when judgmental people like you come along and start ridiculing those who didn’t or couldn’t receive a higher education of any sort. Like I said you don’t know their life situations that have lead them there. Yet if that person was sitting at home taking advantage of the welfare system you would demean them for not at the very least working at a fast food chain or restaurant. You really think that person (adult, which I assume is the demographic we are discussing) taking orders wouldn’t prefer a better job? Something that doesn’t make them feel like crap when those with your same attitude comes along. You don’t get to walk into a trade school class room with the tuition waved and books handed to you free of charge. At this point our government has turned school loans into such a huge debt that taking one for trade schooling is just about impossible to repay, compared to the pay. Changing your wardrobe? That’s the secret to successes? I’m not even going to go into something that silly especially when attire and social skills is something you can’t possibly know of about the person taking your order. When your trying to make ends meat schooling is just not an option, not when your paid the minimum. Did it occur to you that maybe that person is working there till they can achieve better? Even McDonalds requires a HS diploma or the equivalent now, so there goes part of your stereotyping. I was a high school drop out. I was lucky in that I was able to continue my education to a career which is neither low skilled nor low paying, but that is not a luxury everyone has. Yes, I say luxury because of nothing but pure luck was I able to make it happen. I didn’t have to flip burgers to get by. If needed, I would have been taking orders if thats what I needed to do. So yes, I do have a clue. Instead of ridiculing those that do the low paying jobs maybe you should try a little empathy or even try to understand that everyone does not get equal opportunities while growing up, everyone is not lucky enough to have a support system behind them during that crucial time in their lives.
          I will grant you, there are plenty of those who do fit your stereotype, but not everyone and it is completely unjust to bunch everyone into your neat little judgmental categories. You insinuate I have a lack of control, did you even read your first post? I may have come on harsh..ok pissed, but there was no lack of control considering what I really wanted to write. The only one here that needs a clue is you, that is not meant to be taken as an insult just a dose of reality. So maybe you will read my post and know you need to learn to walk before you run!

          • Heneryg

            Sorry Bud! Just trying to help you out but seems like you have an excuse to not pursue any thing but you’ll procrastinate before you even check out your options. And yes your right! you baited yourself to what I had to say and start with this blame game but yet you don’t know anything about someone showing you that there is hope to take another positive direction, But you get angry! You don’t write bad and you are not stupid and you don’t want to be a social leach, which is a good thing. Do not take my blog as an insult until you try something you obviously haven’t tried. I don’t know you but you have to quit putting yourself down and I don’t care to know how your life is but that you can be so much more if you set your mind to it. The cost of education is not that bad and I’m sure that whatever city or state you live in that have programs that will help you and not kill you! Check that out and speak to a counselor at a county school, I’m sure you will be surprised that there are people that care!

          • Mamatoni6

            And here I thought I was having a conversation with someone who could follow it. You either choose not to read or are purposely trolling the conversation. Neither of which I’m whiling to participate in. I do have to say you need to look at the cost of school tuition and books. As it is something very difficult to obtain for someone who has to work in a fast food restaurant just to get by. And, it sounds like you need a view of what the real world is really like. I stand behind my previous remarks about you being a judgmental, ridiculing jerk towards those that work in the low paying industry. Yes, school is attainable, but not nearly as simplistic as you seem to think it is. I don’t need any help, especially from someone that you’ve conveyed yourself to be. I’ve been there done that. As I said before, no I didn’t flip burgers, but I was one who took orders and by your words “received tips by my charm”, though I didn’t have to continue waiting tables till my “age starts to show”. Just to be clear, I never put myself down. I may have dropped out of high school, but I was lucky in that I was able to continue my education and pursue my career choice, something not everyone has the luxury of doing. I only used myself as an example because I could very well have been in the same position as someone who needs that low paying job. You seem to be under the impression that I am someone having to work at McDonalds or the like. I don’t. It just pisses me off to read something so hateful and judgmental towards those who have too. So I will speak up and call you out for the way YOU have perceived yourself to be, by your very own words.

  • http://yeehee.com/ Yeeheecom

    I quit eating fast food years ago. I chose not to take a risk eating something some 18 year old kid made and might have done some obscene things to it thinking they are funny by putting a video on youtube about it. Or because of “diversity” they hire muslim jihadist who end up poisen the food. Paranoid? Maybe . But better safe than sorry

  • bummer Fu

    Right, where it the beef? how big the big mac? I thinks either ways they cut it small and more soys n other stuff in the meat and less beef!

  • Teary Oberon

    Is this entire article not one giant economic fallacy? The total input costs for a good do not determine its price — price is determined solely by the consumer making a personal valuation. The consumer does not care about inputs or if it costs $0.01 or $50.00 to make the hamburger — all he cares about is what HE thinks the hamburger is worth and what HE is ultimately willing to pay for it. That is the price.

    If the producer prices his hamburger above consumer valuation, then the hamburgers will simply not sell. If the producer cannot produce hamburgers for less than consumers are willing to pay for them (turning a profit), then the hamburgers simply won’t be made in the first place (a supply reduction). And so we see that prices for consumer goods are somewhat inflexible in RISING, even when costs are forced up (such as with minimum wage increases). What does give way is the supply — either you have employers hiring FEWER minimum wage workers, or fewer restaurants and fewer hamburgers produced.

    That is unless of course the company can figure out new ways to reduce costs, such as by substituting the now more expensive workers with technology and automation…then they could keep the supply steady, though the workers are probably screwed.

  • abanikka

    Hey! McDonalds isn’t healthy to begin with, is not an essential in life and merely a convenient option for fast food on the go. Based on what McDonalds should represent to intelligent minded people, .68 to 1.28 increases are MORE than worth their workers making more money to get by.
    Count me in 150%! I have no problem paying that extra money for these people. Now if I can’t afford it I’m a little irresponsible gong to McDonalds anyway aren’t I? Our household income between my wife and myself is around 48K. We don’t eat out often, maybe once a month. But when we do, McDonalds is usually the best economic alternative. These increases needed to pay these people right sure don’t violate or change that best economic option.
    How much you want to make a bet that most of the complaints come from people who’s income exceeds our by a longshot? At 48K, WE can afford it and they can’t? Please……Gve me a break!

  • abanikka

    There’s a little more money in the corporate coffers than your giving credit for. One also has to realize that by being an American corporation it also means ensuring you properly invest in your company, community, state, Country and people. Without these investments, your own resources for future wealth will run dry. If the masses ability to spend within an economy are reduced you are also reducing the future economy that will produce your own corporate profit. Profits and sound economic times DO NOT come from a handful of wealthy people and companies claiming they cannot afford livable wages. Paying a livable wage is a companies or corporate contribution to ensure the spending within the economy stays healthy. Now when they all get on a kick of refusing to contribute to that “ecosystem”, what do think will happen? Of course you’ll get temporary increases in investor earnings but that will only end in companies going bust and corporate takeovers while those with the moistest attempt to corner the markets. It was incredibly obvious more than 35 years ago. Today’s economic status is only a shock to those that never paid attention or weren’t around to watch it all unfold and refuse to listen to the elderly voices of reason and rather the listen to the radical ignorant rhetoric of the day.