Nearly 80 Percent of Americans Consider Fast Food a ‘Luxury Item’ Under Biden Presidency

Nearly 80 percent of Americans now consider fast food to be a “luxury item” under the Biden administration.

According to a survey from Lending Tree of around 2,000 adults, popular food chains that used to be affordable and convenient are now becoming a rare treat.

“Thanks to rising prices, most Americans now see fast food as a luxury and are eating it less often, according to a new LendingTree survey. Rampant inflation has forced millions of Americans to reassess their spending habits. For many, that has meant fewer trips to the drive-thru for that burger, burrito or spicy chicken sandwich they love — and even a change in how they perceive fast food,” the company said.

“Americans love fast food, but costs are forcing them to curb their cravings. 3 in 4 Americans typically eat fast food at least once a week, but the majority (62%) say they’re eating it less due to rising prices. In fact, 65% of Americans have been shocked by the high price of a fast-food bill in the past six months.”

According to the data, Lending Tree said many of those surveyed said they could not afford fast food because they are struggling to make ends meet.

“78% of consumers view fast food as a luxury because it’s become increasingly expensive. Additionally, half of Americans say they view fast food as a luxury because they’re struggling financially. This is especially true among Americans who make less than $30,000 a year (71%), parents with young children (58%), Gen Zers (58%) and women (53%),” Lending Tree continued.

Last month, American Faith reported that fast food workers in California were set to be paid at least $20 an hour as a new law had been put into effect.

The law, passed by Democrats in the state Legislature last year, is part of an effort to support adults working in the fast food industry.

Many franchise owners in the state have stressed the impact the law is having on them, especially during a time of record high inflation.

“I try to do right by my employees. I pay them as much as I can. But this law is really hitting our operations hard,” Alex Johnson, owner of 10 Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and Cinnabon restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, said.

Johnson said sales have slowed in 2024, forcing him to lay off his office staff and rely on his parents to help with payroll and human resources.

Increasing his employees’ wages will cost the franchise owner about $470,000 each year, causing him to raise prices anywhere from 5% to 15% at his stores.

“I have to consider selling and even closing my business,” he said. “The profit margin has become too slim when you factor in all the other expenses that are also going up.”

According to AP News, “the law applies to restaurants offering limited or no table service and which are part of a national chain with at least 60 establishments nationwide. Restaurants operating inside a grocery establishment are exempt, as are restaurants producing and selling bread as a stand-alone menu item.”