Walk into any fast food chain, and you will almost unfailingly find some variant of a dollar menu. At Wendy’s, it’s the “Everyday Value Menu” — at Taco Bell, it’s the “Why Pay More Menu.” Plenty of people frequent these dollar menus in an effort to save money on meals, but some chains are more deserving of those dollars than others. Even though in each case, the items cost about a dollar (prices vary by location), they’re not all equal in value.
Below are the five fast food chains with dollar menus offering the most bang for your buck.
#5: KFC Dollar Menu
KFC’s Ultimate Value Menu boast 12 items for under $2 each. You might expect KFC, with its signature fried chicken, to be a better value than the burger-and-fries purveyors when it comes to poultry. However, the crispy KFC Snacker on the value menu turns out to be less substantial than chicken sandwiches offered by competitors, at 120 grams and 310 calories, compared with at least 142 grams and 360 calories elsewhere.
It also lacks lettuce, a standard add-on at other restaurants on our list. A blogger at Fast Food Geek reports that the crispy strip contains far more batter than chicken and KFC skimps on the sauce.
#4: McDonald’s Dollar Menu
If you’re on the hunt for cheap burgers, you’d be wise to turn to grill reviews instead of dollar menus and invest in a backyard barbecue.But while you’re saving up for that Weber, McDonald’s beckons with Dollar Menu items such as the McDouble.
The McDouble comes with two beef patties and a slice of American cheese, and has the highest ingredient cost of any item on the McDonald’s Dollar Menu, reports Forbes. With a regular cheeseburger going for 99 cents, the McDouble is a steal, essentially offering an extra patty for the same price.
However, McDonald’s Dollar Menu no longer includes fries or soft drinks, thwarting the popular strategy of making a full meal out of Dollar Menu items. The restaurant replaced those favorites with a vanilla ice cream cone and Fruit n’ Yogurt Parfait — both extras or desserts, rather than components of a main meal.
#3. Burger King Dollar Menu
Burger King holds its own with the Value Menu’s Double Cheeseburger and Chick’n Crisp sandwiches, which are comparable to the McDonald’s McDouble and McChicken. At 149 grams and 470 calories, the Classic Chick’n Crisp is the heftiest chicken sandwich on any dollar menu we came across.
Burger King ups the ante with a wide variety of desserts and sides like fries, onion rings and salad, as well as four additional protein options, including new Crispy Chicken Wraps. Burger King and McDonald’s are the only fast food restaurants to offer value menus at breakfast as well.
(Image: Julien Menichini)
#2. Taco Bell Dollar Menu
Taco Bell’s “Why Pay More!” Menu takes on all those double cheeseburgers with the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito. The menu dips somewhat with the unsubstantial Cheese Roll-Up and practically weightless Cinnamon Twists, but you’ll find old favorites there, too, like the Bean Burrito and Crunchy or Soft Tacos.
The Why Pay More Menu also includes $2 Meal Deals, which are comprised of a drink and bag of Doritos, plus a taco, burrito or Gordita. No other fast food chain can lay claim to a meal that includes a main dish, a side dish and a drink for only $2.
(Image: Javier Aroche)
#1. Wendy’s Dollar Menu
Wendy’s “Right Price, Right Size Menu” takes the top spot with a wide selection of items that start at $0.99, including fries and other sides, such as the famous Frosty.
While the Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe comes with only one patty, and the McDouble and Burger King double cheeseburger have two, the Wendy’s offering actually amounts to more food (157 grams compared with 151 grams from McDonald’s and 148 grams from Burger King).What’s more, the sandwich comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, where the most toppings other burgers offer is pickles and minced onions. The Wendy’s value menu also includes a 157-gram Crispy Chicken Caesar Wrap, compared with the 137-gram Crispy Chicken Wraps.
(Image: Calgary Reviews)
This post was contributed by By Kym Pham of Cheapism.com.