Dining

Did You Know That McDonald’s Charges You Different Prices At Different Outlets?

mcdonald's menu prices singapore

Eugenia Liew

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Last week, Clara made a seemingly harmless, random comment about how expensive the Lido McDonald’s is. I was shocked because AREN’T ALL MCDONALD’S PRICED THE SAME????!

Oh boy, did she open a can of worms, because the answer – as I soon found out – is no.

 

Differences in McDonald’s Singapore menu prices

McDonald’s has always had a special place in my heart – like most Singaporeans from middle income families, I grew up looking forward to chicken nuggets and Happy Meals on the weekends.

So of course, I was horrified at the idea of McDonald’s charging us different prices at different outlets. I needed to investigate.

There are 135 McDonald’s restaurants in Singapore, and I couldn’t possibly visit them all, so I decided to split 7 of them into different tiers of “atas”.

“Atas” tier McDonald’s outlets visited
School campus Singapore Polytechnic
Heartland district Clementi Mall, Toa Payoh Lor 1, Siglap 
Town SCAPE, LIDO Shaw House
Tourist spot Changi Airport

My hypothesis (that the prices may be different for these areas) was right – in fact, prices also differed within the heartland districts and town. Let’s use the heartland central prices as the “normal” one for base of comparison.

McDonald’s outlet Price compared to heartland outlets
Heartland district (Clementi Mall, Toa Payoh Lor 1)
School campus (SP) -31.08%
Heartland district (Siglap) +0.83%
Tourist spot (Changi Airport) +3.61%
Town (SCAPE) +4.41%
Town (LIDO Shaw House) +11.95%

I’ll just give you a few moments to collect yourself.

(If you want the entire breakdown, here it is.)

When you’re done and can pick your jaw off the floor, keep scrolling for the price comparisons of each outlet.

 

Heartland districts – McDonald’s Clementi Mall, Toa Payoh Lor 1

This is the food menu for McDonald’s Clementi Mall and Toa Payoh Lor 1 (excludes beverages).

McDonald’s Clementi Mall & Toa Payoh Lor 1   Price
Dessert
McFlurry Oreo $2.70
McFlurry Strawberry Shortcake/Mudpie $3.00
Sundae $1.70
Vanilla cone $0.80
ChocoCone $1.00
Beef
Classic Angus cheese burger $8.95
Classic Angus cheese burger meal $10.95
Double cheeseburger $3.50
Double cheeseburger meal $6.10
Big Mac $5.75
Big Mac meal $7.50
The original Angus $6.20
The original Angus meal $7.95
Fish
Double Filet-O-Fish $5.40
Double Filet-O-Fish meal $7.35
Salads & Wraps
Grilled chicken salad $5.80
Grilled chicken salad meal $7.55
Grilled chicken wrap $5.80
Grilled chicken wrap meal $7.55
Chicken
McSpicy – single $5.25
McSpicy – single meal $7.00
McSpicy – double $7.20
McSpicy – double meal $8.95
Buttermilk crispy chicken $6.95
Buttermilk crispy chicken meal $8.95
McWings – 4pc $4.20
McWings – 4pc meal $6.10
Chicken nuggets – 6pc $4.60
Chicken nuggets – 6pc meal $6.10
Chicken nuggets – 9pc $6.20
Chicken nuggets – 9pc meal $7.95
Extra Value Meals (EVM)
Filet-O-Fish $5.00
McChicken $5.00
BBQ beef burger with egg $5.00

Out of the 7, only these 2 outlets had identical prices. So I’ll assume that this is the “regular” menu price.

Note the iconic $5 Extra Value Meals (EVM) and $0.80 vanilla cone.

 

McDonald’s on campus – Singapore Polytechnic (SP)

Let’s start off with the menu prices for McDonald’s Singapore Polytechnic. Understandably (and as expected), everything is way cheaper (average -31.08%). For convenience, I’ve shortlisted the ones that are more than 40% cheaper at SP:

McDonald’s menu items Price at Clementi, Toa Payoh  Price at SP  % difference 
Chicken nuggets – 9pc $6.20 $3.85 -61.04%
Big Mac $5.75 $3.60 -59.72%
McFlurry Oreo $2.70 $1.75 -54.29%
Double cheeseburger meal $6.10 $4.05 -50.62%
McSpicy – single $5.25 $3.60 -45.83%
Big Mac meal $7.50 $5.15 -45.63%
Vanilla cone $0.80 $0.55 -45.45%
Grilled chicken Salad $5.80 $4.00 -45.00%
Grilled chicken Wrap $5.80 $4.00 -45.00%
Chicken nuggets – 9pc meal $7.95 $5.55 -43.24%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc meal $6.10 $4.30 -41.86%
Sundae $1.70 $1.20 -41.67%
Double cheeseburger $3.50 $2.50 -40.00%

Granted, I didn’t expect the price difference to be this much, but I completely accept it because it’s within a school.

It’s reasonable that they charge less. Like school canteen mah – must pass down the savings (from cheaper rental, etc) to the students.

Like all McDonald’s, this is open to public so if you live in the Dover area and are in need of a fast food fix – visit this outlet! The 9-pc box of chicken nuggets is only $3.85! (squeals)

 

“Atas” Heartland districts – McDonald’s Siglap

What surprised me was that even though I categorised them all as “heartland districts”, the Siglap Centre McDonald’s was slightly more expensive than the ones at Clementi and Toa Payoh.

And I really mean slightly (<1%), because most items are the same price, with a handful that are just $0.05 to $0.20 pricier. These are the ones I’m talking about:

McDonald’s menu items Price at Clementi, Toa Payoh  Price at Siglap  % difference
Sundae $1.70 $1.80 5.56%
McSpicy – single $5.25 $5.45 3.67%
Double cheeseburger $3.50 $3.60 2.78%
McSpicy – single meal $7.00 $7.20 2.78%
Grilled chicken salad $5.80 $5.90 1.69%
Grilled chicken wrap $5.80 $5.90 1.69%
Double cheeseburger meal $6.10 $6.20 1.61%
McWings – 4pc meal $6.10 $6.20 1.61%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc meal $6.10 $6.20 1.61%
Grilled chicken salad meal $7.55 $7.65 1.31%
Grilled chicken wrap meal $7.55 $7.65 1.31%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc $4.60 $4.65 1.08%
Big Mac $5.75 $5.80 0.86%
Big Mac meal $7.50 $7.55 0.66%

It’s a bit sian because the inflation is so insignificant that it feels like a deliberately sneaky move to just earn that 1% more or something.

I also noticed that McDonald’s Siglap charges more for meals. You pay the same price for the a la carte burgers, but order the meals and you’re charged a slight premium.

Weird, huh.

 

Tourist spots – McDonald’s Changi Airport (T4)

Now, onto Changi Airport, which I kind of expected to be the most expensive of the lot. Why? Simply because it’s the most affordable dining option in the airport. But surprise, surprise – the T4 Mac’s is actually cheaper than Orchard SCAPE and LIDO.

McDonald’s menu items Price at Clementi, Toa Payoh  Price at Changi Airport (T4)  % difference 
Vanilla cone $0.80 $1.00 20.00%
ChocoCone $1.00 $1.20 16.67%
Sundae $1.70 $1.90 10.53%
McFlurry Oreo $2.70 $3.00 10.00%
Double cheeseburger $3.50 $3.80 7.89%
Double Filet-O-Fish $5.40 $5.80 6.90%
McFlurry Strawberry shortcake/mudpie  $3.00 $3.20 6.25%
McWings – 4pc $4.20 $4.40 4.55%
McSpicy – single $5.25 $5.50 4.55%
McSpicy – single meal $7.00 $7.30 4.11%
Double cheeseburger meal $6.10 $6.30 3.17%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc $4.60 $4.75 3.16%
Grilled chicken salad $5.80 $5.95 2.52%
Grilled chicken wrap $5.80 $5.95 2.52%
Chicken nuggets – 9pc $6.20 $6.35 2.36%
Double Filet-O-Fish meal $7.35 $7.50 2.00%
Grilled chicken salad meal $7.55 $7.70 1.95%
Grilled chicken wrap meal $7.55 $7.70 1.95%
The original Angus meal $7.95 $8.10 1.85%
Chicken nuggets – 9pc meal $7.95 $8.10 1.85%
Big Mac $5.75 $5.85 1.71%
McWings – 4pc meal $6.10 $6.20 1.61%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc meal $6.10 $6.20 1.61%
The original Angus $6.20 $6.30 1.59%
Big Mac meal $7.50 $7.60 1.32%

Pleasant surprise: Most things are just $0.10 to $0.40 more expensive, which I think is an acceptable premium to pay for the convenience of it being at the airport.

If this bugs you and you really want to save that few cents, at least now you know you can eat at the McDonald’s near your place before your flight.

 

Downtown – McDonald’s SCAPE

Next category – town. I expected all McDonald’s restaurants in Orchard to be priced about the same, but for some reason, they’re not. The SCAPE prices are actually mostly the same price as Changi Airport’s. The only difference is that $5 Extra Value Meals are $5.50.

McDonald’s menu items Price at Clementi, Toa Payoh Price at SCAPE % difference
Filet-O-Fish EVM $5.00 $5.50 9.09%
McChicken EVM $5.00 $5.50 9.09%
BBQ beef burger with egg EVM  $5.00 $5.50 9.09%

 

Atas parts of town – McDonald’s LIDO, Shaw House

SCAPE is about 4.41% more expensive when compared to the heartland prices, but LIDO is almost 3X that. Siao leh – see for yourself:

McDonald’s menu items Price at Clementi, Toa Payoh  Price at LIDO, Shaw House  % difference 
Vanilla cone $0.80 $1.40 42.86%
ChocoCone $1.00 $1.60 37.50%
Double cheeseburger $3.50 $4.90 28.57%
Sundae $1.70 $2.20 22.73%
Filet-O-Fish EVM $5.00 $6.35 21.26%
BBQ beef burger with egg EVM $5.00 $6.30 20.63%
McChicken EVM $5.00 $5.95 15.97%
McFlurry Oreo $2.70 $3.20 15.63%
McWings – 4pc $4.20 $4.95 15.15%
Double Filet-O-Fish $5.40 $6.35 14.96%
McFlurry strawberry shortcake/mudpie $3.00 $3.50 14.29%

It’s by far the most expensive restaurant of the 7, by about 11.95%. Those listed above are only the items that are over 10% more expensive.

Noteworthy ones include the three $5 Extra Value Meals that range from $5.95 to $6.35 at LIDO. Also, the ChocoCone is $1.60 – seriously? I don’t know how I never noticed it before????!

#ProTip: If you’re wise, you’ll be like me and da bao Mac’s from elsewhere before the movie.

 

Bonus – how do McDelivery prices compare?

You probably already know and expect this, but for comparisons sake, let’s look at the McDelivery menu as well:

McDonald’s menu items Prices at Clementi, Toa Payoh  McDelivery prices  % difference 
Double cheeseburger $3.50 $4.9 28.57%
Sundae $1.70 $2.2 22.73%
Filet-O-Fish $5.00 $6.35 21.26%
BBQ beef burger with egg $5.00 $6.3 20.63%
McChicken $5.00 $5.95 15.97%
McFlurry Oreo $2.70 $3.2 15.63%
McWings – 4pc $4.20 $4.95 15.15%
Double Filet-O-Fish $5.40 $6.35 14.96%
McFlurry strawberry shortcake/mudpie  $3.00 $3.5 14.29%
McSpicy – single $5.25 $5.8 9.48%
Double Filet-O-Fish meal $7.35 $8.1 9.26%
Buttermilk crispy chicken $6.95 $7.65 9.15%
Classic Angus cheese burger $8.95 $9.85 9.14%
McSpicy – single meal $7.00 $7.7 9.09%
McWings – 4pc meal $6.10 $6.7 8.96%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc meal $6.10 $6.7 8.96%
Double cheeseburger meal $6.10 $6.65 8.27%
Chicken nuggets – 6pc $4.60 $4.95 7.07%
The original Angus meal $7.95 $8.5 6.47%
Chicken nuggets – 9pc meal $7.95 $8.5 6.47%
Grilled chicken salad $5.80 $6.2 6.45%
Grilled chicken wrap $5.80 $6.2 6.45%
McSpicy – double meal $8.95 $9.55 6.28%
McSpicy – double $7.20 $7.65 5.88%
Buttermilk crispy chicken meal $8.95 $9.5 5.79%
Chicken nuggets – 9pc $6.20 $6.55 5.34%
Grilled chicken salad meal $7.55 $7.95 5.03%
Grilled chicken wrap meal $7.55 $7.95 5.03%
Classic Angus cheese burger meal $10.95 $11.5 4.78%
The original Angus $6.20 $6.5 4.62%
Big Mac meal $7.50 $7.85 4.46%
Big Mac $5.75 $6 4.17%

In general, you’re paying about 10% more, excluding the $4 delivery fee.

I suppose this one is somewhat justified because you’re paying for the convenience of staying home and resting on your couch while someone picks up your food for you.

 

Conclusion – are the price differences justified?

To be honest, I can’t tell you that. Perhaps McDonald’s has a really good reason for this price discrimination.

I’ve tried searching for an explanation in the FAQs, but couldn’t find any. (If you find it, please send them my way!!!!!) The only culprits I can think of is that they either A) want to account for differing overheads like cheaper/more expensive rental prices, or B) have a franchise model.

Both are valid, I suppose. And the franchisees probably have the liberty to set their own prices and/or discounts and whatnot.

I guess it would be better if they at least had a different branding for each tier of restaurants so you know what you’re getting into. Like Astons vs Astons Express vs Astons Specialties for example.

Then they can offer a slightly different menu with higher- or lower-end dishes to suit the budget of the market.

With McDonald’s, you’re getting exactly the same thing. Buay sai, lah.

To be fair, they do state in the fine print of the menus that prices vary between restaurants. And while I can’t find an explanation on the local McDonald’s site, there are FAQ answers on the U.K. and UAE sites. This is what the U.K. one says:

McDonald's menu prices singapore

 

How do you feel about the price difference between the McDonald’s stores in Singapore? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.