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Unhappy With Happy Meals Pricing, McDonald’s Franchisees Butt Heads with Corporate

McDonald’s franchisees are not toying around when they say they have to raise Happy Meal prices.

McDonald’s franchisees may have to raise prices on the brand’s famous Happy Meals amid a growing feud with the corporate office, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

McDonald’s corporate office announced that in January it would end a $300 a month rebate for its 14,000 franchisees that covered the cost of the toys included in Happy Meals. The meals sell for an average of $3.76 across the country, and the corporate office said franchisees were free to raise prices, according to the report. 

But the Happy Meal issue represents just the latest chapter in a rocky 2020 for the brand’s franchisor-franchisee relationships. A previous report in the Journal detailed how franchisees had become angry about receiving a lack of support through the pandemic. McDonald’s corporate argued that it had supported the stores with a $100 million marketing spend, but the franchisees were looking for help on rent and royalty deferrals.

McDonald’s, like other brands, has looked to technology to help it survive the pandemic. Now, in addition to dropping the rebate for toys, the brand will look to collect $423 in monthly fees for technology investments starting in March, according to the Journal.

Read the full report here.