California tops most expensive cities for burger meals in US: study

America's favorite meal is apparently getting more expensive - and it'll cost you even more if you live in California (surprise, surprise). 

You can thank inflation, which has affected everything from food to home goods. 

MoneyGeek analyzed menu prices for a burger, french fries and soda across 145 major and local chains in the 50 largest cities in America. The survey found that from 2021 to 2022, prices have risen 9%, on average. But in some cities and franchises, you’ll be paying substantially more. We're looking at you, Los Angeles!

MoneyGeek’s analysis found that San Francisco was the most expensive place to get a burger, fries and soda, with the average meal cost at major chains topping off at $15.30. California cities occupied four of the top ten spots, with Los Angeles not far behind San Francisco at $14.59.

For the most affordable burger on the list, head to Tulsa, Oklahoma: at number 50 in the study, analysts found that you can still get a full burger, fries and soda meal there for $6.55.

Here's the full list of most expensive cities for a burger, fries, and soda: 

  1. San Francisco: $15.30
  2. Los Angeles: $14.59
  3. New York: $14.22
  4. Long Beach: $13.08
  5. Washington: $12.94
  6. Philadelphia: $12.89
  7. Boston: $12.69
  8. Sacramento: $12.67
  9. Seattle: $12.58
  10. Mesa: $12.46

MoneyGeek analyzed menu prices for a burger, fries and soda across major chains in the 50 largest cities in America by population size. They utilized and to source 2022 prices — along with the Wayback Machine to source 2021 prices for those same menu items — to calculate price differences.

Five Guys is the most expensive burger chain, with customers paying around $20 for a burger, fries and soda, up $2.37 from 2021.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the year-on-year increase in inflation as of June 2022 was the most extreme increase since 1981. Continued fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from disruptions to the supply chain to the effects of the stimulus package, are a few reasons inflation remains so high.

Experts say that inflation prices —– and subsequently, hamburger prices in 2022 — are unlikely to go down any time soon.