Students today have more options for quick, delicious meals than ever before. Casual restaurants like Chipotle and Shake Shack are the part of the newest trend dominating the dining scene, and the traditional fast-food giants are beginning to take notice. Popular fast-food stops like Wendy’s and McDonald’s have adopted the same strategy: make prices as cheap as possible. Now that Burger King has thrown its hat into the ring with its “5 for $4” deal, the stakes are rising in the competition for the lowest prices.
Here is a rundown of what you can expect at these three fast-food restaurants when you order their meal deals:
Deal: 2 for $2
What you get: Mix and match between a McChicken, a McDouble, small fries and three mozzarella sticks.
Value: Because you get to choose your two items, the amount of food that you get will vary. The McDouble, which contains 2 beef patties with one slice of cheese, has 380 calories, compared to 370 for the McChicken, 230 for the small fries and 200 for the three mozzarella sticks. In terms of size, it looks to be about as big as the other burgers on this list, with a weight of 150g. In total, this meal has 760 calories which averages out to 380 calories per dollar, and a total weight of 300g.
Deal: 4 for $4
What you get: A Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, four chicken nuggets, small fries and a small drink.
Value: The Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, which contains one beef patty, one slice of cheese and bacon, contains 380 calories like the McDouble, but it weighs 165g, making it heavier. With the four chicken nuggets, small fries and drink, the total number of calories adds up to 1100, or 275 calories per dollar. The total weight of the meal, excluding the drink, is 333g.
Deal: 5 for $4
What you get: A bacon cheeseburger, four chicken nuggets, small fries, a small drink and a chocolate chip cookie
Value: The bacon cheeseburger, which contains one beef patty, one slice of cheese, bacon, ketchup and pickles, has 290 calories and weighs 112g. The four chicken nuggets have 190 calories and weigh 70g. The small fries have 340 calories and weigh 128g. The small drink, which is 16 fl. oz like the one at Wendy’s, has a maximum of 190 calories. The chocolate chip cookie has 160 calories and weighs 38g. This adds up to 1170 calories, or 234 calories per dollar. The total weight, excluding the drink, is 348g.
If you choose to only judge the meal deals’ respective values based on the criteria of calories purchased per dollar, McDonald’s provides the best bang for your buck and Burger King, the newest kid on the meal deal block, fails to keep up with its competitors. If you look at how much food each of the restaurants offers based on weight, however, Burger King lives up to its name as the king of the pack.
A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 16 print edition. Email Michelle Ming at [email protected]