18 Ways Fast Food Chains Secretly Upcharge You

Fast food chains might seem like a convenient, cost-effective option, but they have plenty of tricks to inflate your bill. Here are 18 sneaky ways they’re upcharging you.

1. Premium Menu Items

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McDonald’s Signature Crafted Recipes and Burger King’s Gourmet Burgers come with a heftier price tag. These premium items are marketed as high-quality, but they’re often just dressed-up versions of regular items.

2. Upselling Combos

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You go in for a burger, and before you know it, you’ve agreed to a combo meal. Those fries and drink might seem like a deal, but they add unnecessary cost.

3. Size Upgrades

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Fast food workers are trained to upsell by asking if you want to “make it a large.” Those few extra cents for more fries and a bigger drink add up, costing you more and impacting your health.

4. Adding Bacon or Cheese

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Places like Wendy’s and Five Guys love to offer add-ons like bacon or extra cheese for an additional fee. These extras can add $1 or more per item, quickly increasing your total.

5. Healthier Options

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Salads and wraps at places like Subway or Panera Bread are often priced higher than standard sandwiches or burgers. A simple Caesar salad can cost as much as a premium sandwich.

6. Specialty Beverages

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Those frappes, smoothies, and fancy coffees at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts can cost upwards of $5 each. Stick to basic coffee or water to avoid these pricey drinks.

7. Limited-Time Offers

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McDonald’s McRib and Taco Bell’s limited-time offerings create a sense of urgency, making you feel like you have to try them now. These items are often more expensive than regular menu items.

8. Allergy-Friendly Options

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Gluten-free buns or dairy-free cheese at places like Chipotle or In-N-Out Burger come with additional charges. These necessary options for some can add significant cost to your meal.

9. Vegan or Vegetarian Meals

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While it’s great that more chains like Burger King with their Impossible Whopper are offering plant-based options, these items are usually priced higher than their meat counterparts.

10. Meal Deals

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Those value meals aren’t always a value. They include items you might not need, like a large soda, which bumps up the cost. Pay attention to what you’re really getting for the price.

11. Surcharges for Delivery

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Ordering through apps like UberEats or DoorDash from chains like KFC or Pizza Hut includes delivery fees, service fees, and sometimes higher menu prices. These hidden costs can turn a cheap meal into an expensive one.

12. Extra Sauce

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Craving extra dipping sauce at Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s? It’s going to cost you. These small charges add up, especially if you like your sauces.

13. Seasonal Items

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Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte and other seasonal treats often come with a higher price tag. These items capitalize on limited availability to charge more.

14. Location-Based Pricing

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Chains like Starbucks and Chipotle charge more in urban or high-demand areas. A burrito in New York City can cost significantly more than one in a suburban location.

15. Customization Fees

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Want to customize your order at places like Subway or Chipotle? Adding extra toppings or making special requests often comes with additional charges.

16. Charging for Water

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Some places, like certain airports or theme park locations, might charge you for a cup of water. Always ask for tap water to avoid this sneaky charge.

17. Meal Modifications

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Modifying your order to fit dietary restrictions, such as asking for no bun at Five Guys or extra veggies at Subway, can sometimes lead to unexpected extra charges.

18. Loyalty Programs

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While loyalty programs at places like Dunkin’ or McDonald’s offer rewards, they also encourage more spending. You might find yourself buying more than you need just to earn points.

Watch Your Wallet

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Fast food chains are masters of making you spend more without realizing it. By being aware of these tactics, you can make smarter choices and keep your fast food costs under control. Remember, a little vigilance can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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The post18 Ways Fast Food Chains Secretly Upcharge You first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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