Recession Special? Fast food prices on the rise

Over the past few weeks, as a meat crisis has seemed more and more likely, fast food restaurants have begun increasing their prices. McDonald's is reconsidering the items on its dollar menu, Hardee's has changed the options in its 2-for-$3 promotion from burgers to hot dogs, and even upscale Chipotle's is planning a price increase.

In the meantime, New York's famous Gray's Papaya is poised to raise the price on its famous "Recession Special." A New York institution since its debut in the 1990's, the special originally cost $1.95, but rose to its current price of $3.50 a few years ago. Consisting of a medium tropical beverage and two hot dogs, the combination of two perfectly prepared hot dogs and a medium fruit drink has long been one of the city's best food bargains.

While the Recession Special's whimsical name has been a selling point for years, the arrival of a real recession has forced the restaurant to raise the price on the combo meal. In February, facing increasing food prices, Gray's founder Nicholas Gray began warning customers that a price increase was on the way.

This week, it finally came to pass, and the special went up to $4.45. Hopefully, the $0.95 increase will even things out for a while. After all, if the Recession Special gets priced out of the average person's range, then times will truly be hopeless!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. If it weren't for hot dogs, he might be a thin man.
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