McDonald's $12 Dinner Box and Chick-fil-A's New Sandwich Are Going Viral for Different Reasons

Looking for a budget-friendly fast-food fix? We explore a viral hack and a limited-edition menu item, plus how social media is reacting to both.
Updated April 11, 2024
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worker giving a tray with food in mcdonalds restaurant

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Fast food can be a convenient option for busy families, but eating out can also put a dent in your wallet. Luckily, there are ways to be smart and strategic to get the most out of your fast-food experience.

We explore if a recent viral McDonald's "hack" could make your paycheck stretch a bit further, plus a secret menu item at Chick-fil-A.

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The McDonald’s "Dinner Box" hack

Наталия Кузина/Adobe hamburger menu in McDonald's restaurant

A recent TikTok video went viral showcasing a McDonald's "dinner box" – a seemingly budget-friendly way to feed a family. The video showed a Texas McDonald's offering this box for just $12, packed with two cheeseburgers, four small fries, 10-piece chicken nuggets, two Big Macs and sauces.

Hold on to your fries: It's not quite that simple

rzoze19/Adobe mcdonald's drive thru

The social media response to the McDonald's "dinner box" hack was a mix of excitement and frustration. While the original video garnered many likes, viewers from across the country flooded the comments with their own experiences.

Disappointment was a common theme, with many users reporting significantly higher prices for the "dinner box" at their local McDonald's.

TikTok user kk15002 said, “That’s crazy! I paid $7 today for 6 nuggets and a medium coke.” Another TikTok user sweettea commented, “What state are you in?! In AZ $12 won't even cover a Big Mac meal.” TikTok user Innocenttilprovn agreed, “This dinner box is $22 here in Ohio idk where it’s $12???”

The comments also highlighted the inconsistency of the price and availability of the deal. TikTok user Katie Austin said, “I type in dinner box in my Macdonalds app and it says ‘0 results’ ”

It turns out that the availability of the dinner box and its price varies by location, so you might be among the lucky, or you might need to find a different way to save money.

Finding the savings: Here's the real hack

FellowNeko/Adobe McDonalds app icon

Even without the elusive "dinner box," there are ways to save at McDonald's:

  • The McDonald's app offers deals and bundled meals you might not know about. Check the "Shareables" section for family-sized options that fit your budget better than individual items.
  • Consider splitting adult meals or opting for combination platters to get more food for your money.
  • Drinks can significantly inflate your bill. Opt for water at home instead.

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Chick-fil-A's new sandwich: Limited time, limited locations

Allison/Adobe chick fil a sign

Chick-fil-A is testing a brand new Pretzel Cheddar Club Sandwich. This limited-time offering features their signature chicken on a toasted pretzel bun, complete with classic fixings and a creamy Dijon mustard sauce.

However, there's a catch: this sandwich is currently only being tested at select Chick-fil-A locations in Raleigh, North Carolina, and will be on the menu from April 8 through May 25, while supplies last.

Social media split: Splurge or skip on Chick-fil-A's Pretzel Cheddar Club?

Courtesy of Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A  pretzel bun sandwich

Priced at $8.19 a sandwich, the Pretzel Cheddar Club might not be the most budget-friendly option, it could be a delicious way to add variety to your fast-food routine without going overboard.

Social media users are divided on the price tag of the new sandwich. Some found it reasonable for a new menu item, especially considering Chick-fil-A's reputation for quality.

Redditor Missxem7 said, “Isn't it $1.50 to add bacon alone? This isn't bad given it comes with cheese, bacon and a pretzel bun.”

However, budget-conscious fast-food fans were hesitant to spend that much on a single sandwich, especially compared to the potential savings highlighted in the McDonald's "dinner box" section.

“Chikfila is the most over hyped fast food in existence. The only thing they have right is the French fries pricing, but the chicken sandwiches are ridiculous, and they definitely didn't need to raise their prices like 3 times last year,” reddit user Cozart said.

Bottom line

gargantiopa/Adobe McDonald's worker holding bag of fast food

Fast food can be a budget-friendly option, but it requires a little planning and strategy. Utilize apps for deals, explore menu options to find the best value, and don't be afraid to try new things (like the Chick-fil-A Pretzel Cheddar if you're lucky enough to live in Raleigh).

By being a savvy fast-food consumer, you can use a credit card to earn rewards on everyday purchases and still enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank.

Editor's Note: Generative AI tools helped write this story.

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Author Details

Maneesha Tiwari With more than seven years of experience managing content and editorial teams, Maneesha is passionate about news and how to help her audience navigate the ever-changing landscape of personal finance. She previously served as a journalist for Reuters, where she covered the stock market.

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