El Pollo Loco's 'crazy' drive-thru prices send woman home

A woman was left speechless after she recently visited her local El Pollo Loco drive-thru and saw how much everything cost. 

TikTok user Josie (@josieherrera65) sat in El Pollo Loco’s drive-thru and filmed her reaction as she looked over the menu, in disbelief. 

"I remember when a 12-piece Family Meal was $12.99. Now, it’s $43.99," Herrera said in the video. "I was okay when it was $23.99, $28.99, but $43.99? "That is crazy."

The 12-piece family meal on the drive-thru menu came with 12 pieces of chicken, three large sides, tortillas, and chips and salsa.

The starting price for the 8-piece family meal is $32.99, while the 16-piece is at least $52.99, according to Grubhub. Keep in mind, however, that prices vary based on the restaurant's location as well as taxes. 


Most people seemed to agree in the comments section.

"I remember when fast food was cheap!" one person commented.

"I boycotted a lot of fast food restaurants since they started price gouging… best decision I've made in a while," another said. 

"And that's not even including drinks or taxes!" someone else remarked. 

Some people echoed the sentiment and said this isn't unique to El Pollo Loco - prices are going up everywhere. 

"We were in the KFC drive thru and quickly moved on. One meal was over $50," one person said.

"Popeyes chicken family meal was $23 back in 2022 and now it's $50 for 12 piece meal," another shared.

"Popeyes wants to charge $22 for a 5-piece nder combo here in the Bay. it's nuts," another person said. 

Multiple people shared the same idea that it would be cheaper to snag a $5 Costco rotisserie chicken or a similar one at another grocery store like Ralph's. 

El Pollo Loco is just one of several fast food restaurants in California that has increased prices to combat rising labor costs. This comes after the state increased minimum wage for fast food workers from $16 to $20 in April.

Restaurants including McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Burger King have all raised menu prices to offset the labor costs.

But this doesn't apply to just fast food restaurants. Consumers also noted prices of food in grocery stores have also gone up. 

In a video that's been viewed over 17 million times on X, a father-of-six's camera panned across a massive Trader Joe's receipt from a location in Southern California. The total? $444.

"Here's what it takes to feed six kids [for] about a week and a half," the man is heard saying in the video. Most of the items on the massive receipt cost between $2.99 and $3.99. 

A recent nonprobability survey conducted by LendingTree found 78% of consumers now consider fast food to be a "luxury" purchase due to how expensive the meals have become.

Half of those polled said they view fast food as a luxury because they’re struggling financially. This is especially true among Americans who make less than $30,000 a year (71%), parents with young children (58%), and Gen Zers (58%). The findings show 3 out of 4 Americans typically eat fast food once a week, but 62% of respondents said they are eating it less frequently due to the cost.