The cheapest item on McDonald's menu is the hamburger, which cost $1.69 at my local McDonald's. The most expensive item is the Double Quarter Pounder with bacon and cheese, at $8.
These sandwiches look like they're from entirely different restaurants. The hamburger contains 250 calories, while the Double Quarter Pounder has 820.
Everything about the sandwich, from the bun to the beef, was different. The only elements they had in common were their pickles, ketchup, and mustard.
According to the McDonald's website, the hamburger is made with a regular bun, McDonald's traditional frozen beef patty, ketchup, pickle slices, onions, and mustard. It has been a menu mainstay for years.
I guess technically there were multiple onion bits on this burger.
But all in all, it was more bun than burger.
And yet the meat was the star of the show. The bun itself was bland and dry.
But supported by meager yet effective condiments, the meat managed to make the hamburger more palatable.
It is by no means an appealing or satisfying option, but it certainly is the cheapest one. You would need at least two of these to make a filling meal, and the majority of that meal would be bread.
The Double Quarter Pounder with bacon and cheese is made with two quarter-pound fresh beef patties, a bun, two slices of American cheese, bacon, ketchup, pickle slices, onions, and mustard. It was made a permanent addition to the menu in March after McDonald's bacon-focused promotion that began in January ended.
The beef was thick and colorful, while the bun was shiny and round, with a photogenic splash of sesame seeds. On the outside, this sandwich looked quite different.
However, aside from a few strips of bacon and larger onions, this burger had the same condiments as its junior partner: ketchup, pickles, mustard.
With two quarter-pound patties, this burger weighs in at roughly half a pound of beef when uncooked. It's more than a large meal for the average American.
This sandwich is a lot of meat — and better, juicier meat. It was greasy and packed with protein and fat.
The sesame-seed bun was also a step up, and the bacon added an extra burst of flavor.
Is it worth paying nearly four times the cost of a hamburger? It is if you can afford it.
That said, it's still a McDonald's burger. Sliced onions do not make it a gourmet burger.
But it's clear that what McDonald's offers its most budget-oriented customers is nothing like what it offers customers who are willing to dish out.
With the elimination of its Dollar Menu, McDonald's has made options more limited and less satisfying for its customers seeking value.
There are increasingly two kinds of Americas and two kinds of McDonald's burgers: the value-menu burger, and the deluxe burger delivered to your door.