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How Much 12 Classic Fast-Food Items Used to Cost

Find out what your favorites cost back in the day.

Lodz, Poland, January 5, 2018 McDonald's Big Mac night, Christmas tree in background, McDonald's was founded in 1940 as restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in USAGrzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

McDonald’s Big Mac

In 1967, when McDonald’s introduced the sandwich that became iconic, it cost 45 cents. The price remained about a dollar through much of the 1970s, but it has gone up since. These days, the cost of two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, and onions on a sesame seed bun ranges around the world. In New York City in 2018, a Big Mac would set you back $5.09, according to Business Insider.

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand - May 10, 2018 : Burger King Cola Cup, Potato french fries and Whopper Hamburger in Burger King restaurant. Burger King is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurantsnatthi phaocharoen/Shutterstock

Burger King Whopper

Ten years earlier, Burger King released its flame-broiled signature sandwich in Miami, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The price in 1957? 37 cents. Today, a Whopper will cost you about $4.19. Find out the first locations of famous fast-food restaurants.

frosty sizesCourtesy The Wendy's Company

Wendy’s Frosty

This confection has retained its value over time. When Wendy’s first opened in 1969, a Frosty cost 35 cents. More than 50 years later, a small Classic Frosty is just 99 cents. With changing prices comes changing places; these American towns used to be poor, but are now rich. 

Hand on extra cheese pizza pan, stock photonalinratphi/Shutterstock

Pizza Hut Cheese Pizza

When college students Dan and Frank Carney opened a pizza place in Kansas in the late 1950s, a large pizza only cost $1.50, according to The Daily Meal. Now, a large hand-tossed cheese pizza at Pizza Hut goes for $14.99. Find out the 15 most convenient fast-food restaurants.

Moscow, Russia, March 15 2018: McDonald's potato french fries in the red box on wooden backgroundGilmanshin/Shutterstock

McDonald’s Fries

Ray Kroc opened a McDonald’s in Illinois in 1955. The price for fries and soda were each ten cents, while a burger cost 15 cents. A Classic Meal Deal today is $6. Don’t miss how your favorite fast-food restaurants got their names.

Ham and salad submarine sandwich from freshly cut baguette on rustic wooden bread board.stevemart/Shutterstock

Subway Sub

In 1965, when Fred DeLuca opened the sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that would grow into Subway, a sub started at 49 cents, Entrepreneur reports. Footlong subs today start at about $5.50. Find out 10 fast food facts that are actually false.

Vilnius/Lithuania May 14, 2014 A Bucket of KFC ChickenKarolis Kavolelis/Shutterstock

KFC Family Bucket

Colonel Sanders and his first franchisee created the KFC Family Bucket in 1957 as a way to give housewives a reprieve, according to the National Museum of American History. The “finger-licking good” meal in the bucket included 15 pieces of chicken, gravy, and six hot rolls. The price? $4.90, according to GoBankingRates.com.

DonutsBusara/Shutterstock

Dunkin’ Donut

In 1948, William Rosenberg opened a restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts called Open Kettle. He charged five cents for a doughnut and ten cents for a cup of coffee. The restaurant grew into the international Dunkin’ chain. Today, a doughnut will cost you around 99 cents. Read about 10 fast food scandals that rocked the industry.

Tortillas with beans, beef and tomatoes close upgeniuscook_com/Shutterstock

Taco Bell Bean Burrito

Entrepreneur Glen Bell took a no-frills approach when he opened the first Taco Bell in Downey, California, in 1962, HuffPost reports. His first franchise opened two years later on Torrance, California. The menu? Tacos, burritos, frijoles, and tostados. They kept the price simple too: every item cost 19 cents. Today, a bean burrito is still a deal at $1.19. Find out how much your favorite products cost when they were first produced.

White-Castle_The-Original-Slider[2]Courtesy White Castle

White Castle Slider

When White Castle opened its first restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921, they charged five cents for their pint-sized burger, according to QSR Magazine. These days, a plain slider will run you about 72 cents. Believe it or not, these things will actually be cheaper in 2020.

BANGKOK, THAILAND - DECEMBER 21, 2017: Dairy Queen at Siam Center branch in Bangkok, Thailand serve the blizzard ice cream caramel almond with whipped cream topping.Bhubeth Bhajanavorakul/Shutterstock

Dairy Queen Blizzard

Launched in 1985, the Blizzard quickly became a major moneymaker for Dairy Queen. Back then, a 12-ounce Blizzard sold for $1.29, the New York Times reports. Now a small Blizzard will cost you about $3.69. Find out about 12 weird effects fast food has on your brain.

Lafayette - Circa October 2018: Starbucks Retail Coffee Store. Starbucks aims to Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020 IVJonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Starbucks Tall Coffee

It’s hard to get out of Starbucks ordering a basic coffee. But you can still order a tall Starbucks coffee from $1.95 to $2.15, depending on location, Fortune reports. That’s an increase from 1994 when the same cup of joe would have cost you $1.25. Next, find out 33 secrets your fast food worker isn’t telling you.

 

Jen McCaffery
Jen McCaffery is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Prevention, Rhode Island Monthly, and other publications and websites. When she’s not writing or editing, she’s growing veggies or trying to figure out the way home from assorted trails.