Here’s Why McDonald’s Wants to Sell You Sodas for Just $1

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Oh, McDonald’s.

It’s sweet, really, to watch you try to lure us back in.

First it was gimmicks, like all-day breakfast or the recent “There’s a Big Mac for That” campaign. And sure, those tricks worked for a hot minute — until the novelty wore off.

But now, after years of trying to regain our attention while still periodically raising prices (can you even call it a dollar menu anymore?), McDonald’s is trying a new strategy.

Soon, the purveyor of delicacies such as the McRib sandwich will offer any size soft drinks for just $1. And for a limited time, McCafe items — all those specialty coffees and smoothies — will be just $2.

But Was Soda Ever the Problem?

OK, so I’m more than a little tempted by a $2 Frappé.

But the appeal of McDonald’s (for me, anyway) was not lost when the McChicken jumped from 99 cents to $1.19. Sure, to a Penny Hoarder, 20 cents is a pretty big difference — but the very occasional fast-food splurge isn’t enough to affect my long-term savings goals by any means.

Instead, I think the issue McDonald’s is facing is not a few cents here and there — it’s that we’re at the beginning of the end of the era of greasy fast food.

Give the People What They Want: Healthier Food

With grocery prices dropping, fast-food prices rising and people generally wanting to eat healthier, fast-food chains have seen pretty dramatic decreases in sales over the last few years.

And it just doesn’t seem like cheap soft drinks are going to be the pièce de résistance. In fact, soft drink sales hit a 30-year low in 2016.

However, vice president of marketing for McDonald’s, Adam Salgado, is optimistic that the lower drink prices will work to bring more customers through those golden arches.

“We know that there are budget-conscious consumers out there,” Salgado told Fox News. “Value will always be a part of our strategy.”

So will cheap sodas and smoothies be enough to drive McDonald’s sales back to a level the chain is comfortable with? Well, that remains to be seen.

In the meantime, McDonald’s is putting up a pretty good fight.

Your Turn: Will you take advantage of that $1 soda?

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. No false pretenses here: She’s a slave to the sheer convenience of the McDonald’s Dollar Menu.

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