$5 McDonald's value meal may be coming soon, but you'll have to pay for refills

Changes are coming to McDonald's, as the world's largest fast-food chain continues to face slowing sales. While it plans to drop a new $5 value meal next month, it may also be scrapping free refills.

Here's what we know.

McDonald's value meal coming next month

McDonald's has faced criticism as prices soared in recent years, resulting in less revenue from lower-income consumers and reduced foot traffic in stores. As a result, Chief Executive Officer Chris Kempczinski said in a late April first-quarter earnings call that McDonald's has to be “laser-focused on affordability."

The upcoming $5 meal deal comes as McDonald's struggles to keep customers interested despite soaring prices.
The upcoming $5 meal deal comes as McDonald's struggles to keep customers interested despite soaring prices.

Consumer perception of affordability has also contributed to the decrease in sales, Kempczinski shared in an April earnings meeting.

"Consumers continue to be even more discriminating with every dollar that they spend as they face elevated prices in their day-to-day spending, which is putting pressure on the industry," Kempczinski said. "It's imperative that we continue to keep affordability at the forefront for our customers."

McDonald's has since promised a reduction in prices and expressed interest in exploring more avenues to win customers back. One such strategy is the new $5 value meal, set to drop June 25.

The value meal will include four items: a McChicken or McDouble, four-piece chicken nuggets, fries and a drink, CNBC reports. The deal will only be offered for a limited time − about a month, according to a person familiar with the deal but who was not authorized to speak about it publicly.

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McDonald's may cut free refills

The fast food chain's struggle with sales has also prompted leadership to consider ways to increase revenue while maintaining its image of affordability. One such avenue is eliminating free refills.

McDonald's executives have opted to remove its self-serve soda machines by 2032, Marketplace reports. The change is already being implemented in some stores, leaving some customers furious.

"I feel like the 'free refill' is the staple of American restaurants," one user wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Just heard on the radio McDonald's management decided to no longer allow free refills after receiving a memo from McD's Corp that they no longer have to," another user wrote. "Guess McD's is no longer is lovin' it."

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It is also likely other fast-food chains will also choose to scrap free refills.

“McDonald’s tends to be a leader in the industry. And very often, when they make big changes, other restaurants follow suit. McDonald’s is very smart about their costs,” said Darren Tristano, CEO of FoodserviceResults, a research and consulting firm for the food industry.

Various news outlets have reached out to McDonald's, but the chain has yet to respond.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: McDonald's to offer $5 value meal, halt free refills as sales slow