Is Chili's more affordable than fast food?

Chili's is comparing themselves to places like McDonald's and Five Guys and we want to know if they win.

Chili's Grill and Bar, photo courtesy Chili's
Chili's Grill and Bar, photo courtesy Chili's /

We all know that food prices are going up, right alongside everything else. And for a lot of people that means less going out to eat and perhaps even more trips to fast food drive-thrus. After all, fast food is usually the more affordable option for a quick and easy meal.

Recently, Chili's has been taking to social media to share comparisons between themselves and some fast food restaurants, such as Five Guys and McDonald's. In the posts, they point to their $10.99 3 for Me deal which gets you a drink, an order of salsa with chips, and an entree such as a cheeseburger (there are four different burger options to choose from and fries are usually included too). And if you didn't want a cheeseburger, you could choose a quesadilla, cajun shrimp pasta, and more. So basically, you don't even have to stick to a burger to spend just $10.99 for a meal.

Honestly, $10.99 for a drink, an appetizer, and an entree is a steal. But does it compare to places like McDonald's, Burger King, and Five Guys? Do they actually win in terms of how much you are spending for what you are getting?

Is Chili's the better option with their 3 for Me deal over a fast food restaurant?

Honestly, we have to start with Five Guys, because they are one of the fast food chains that Chili's themselves took on. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Chili's wins hands down. I have only been to Five Guys twice and both times the sticker shock was real. Once it was by myself and I dropped around $20 to get a drink, fries, and a cheeseburger. And forget going with someone else as that was easily a $40 trip. So right there Chili's and their 3 for Me deal comes out on top

Now we have to look at McDonald's, which was another chain that Chili's compared themselves to. Now obviously, prices will be different depending on where you are located. I am in Massachusetts in a relatively big town/city and our prices are pretty consistent with a number of other states I have visited when traveling, camping, or even when visiting friends and family. However, I have to say that a basic Cheeseburger meal with two cheeseburgers, fries and a drink will cost around $10.29. But once you move past the basics, you are looking at prices such as $12.79 for a medium Big Mac meal, $12.99 for a medium Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal, $14.19 for the Bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal in medium, and even $15.19 for the Double Bacon Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal in medium.

Technically, you could potentially pay less at McDonald's if you are choosing the Basic Cheeseburger meal in a size medium. But any other burger with cheese on the menu in a medium or larger is automatically going to be more than what you pay at Chili's for their 3 for Me deal. Once again, we have to give this to Chili's.

No matter what you think about Wendy's, they have long had a tasty burger and their Dave's Single (Double or Triple) is always a win. But this is another meal that starts at $11.39 for a medium drink and fries with a Single with cheese. And the prices just go up from there, with the medium Baconator meal coming in at $14.39.

Finally, we decided to take a look at Burger King. As the home of the Whopper, we were curious to see how they did in comparison. And we have to point out that their small Whopper meal with no cheese is actually $8.99, with a medium coming in at $9.98. Now if you want cheese on your Whopper, that small meal will cost you $9.49 and the medium is $10.48. The small Bacon King (which comes with cheese) comes in at $11.69. And a small Whopper Jr. with Cheese meal is $6.99, while a medium is $7.98.

Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Burger King Of Falsifying Whopper Size In Ads
Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Burger King Of Falsifying Whopper Size In Ads / Justin Sullivan/GettyImages

Obviously, at places like McDonald's, Wendy's, and even Burger King, there are different options you can choose to keep the cost low that will work to give you a meal, but if you are opting for meals of the menu, then Chili's is beating the competition hands down. Of course, there are plenty of other fast food chains to choose from and some of these might be better than Chili's in terms of cost, but when it comes to some of the big burger chains, it is hard to compete with that 3 for Me. (I did live in Dallas, Texas for a number of years and Whataburger might give Chili's a little competition as their medium Whataburger Whatameal with cheese is $9.39, while the small Whataburger Jr. meal with cheese is $7.39. And my personal favorite was the Whataburger Patty Melt Whatameal, which would run $10.89 for the medium meal.)

In the end, Chili's won against three out of four fast food restaurant comparisons. Burger King was definitely the winner here, as there are quite a few meal options that come in under the $10.99 price of the 3 for Me deal. But when Chili's has the better deal against places like McDonald's, Wendy's, and even Five Guys, you know it might be time to rethink those fast food choices.

But what do you think fellow foodies? Does this surprise you? Were you expecting Chili's to beat out the fast food competition?

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