8 Of The Most Expensive Fast Food Items Throughout History

The concept of luxury cuisine usually conjures images of caviar and truffles courtesy of Michelin-starred chefs, not hamburgers and hot dogs from fast food joints. While most drive-thru orders won't result in you breaking into a $50 bill, let alone a wad of $100s, in recent years we've witnessed a growing trend toward high-end fast food. It might sound like a contradiction, but there's a whole world of junk food that isn't junk at all. 

When word gets around of some bespoke burger hitting the market at a majorly inflated price, it begs the question as to who has the disposable cash to sample such delights. Moreover, the advent of these culinary creations leads us to wonder what fancy ingredients go into the items to make them so desirable as to warrant such a lofty price tag. 

Whether the appeal of these foods is mere novelty or whether the super rich are actually willing to part with hundreds of dollars for, say, a champagne-soaked hot dog remains a matter of dispute. These items may command relatively astronomical prices, but are they enough to satisfy gastronomical needs? Let's take a look at the curious world of high-end burgers and dogs as we take a deep dive into some of the most expensive fast food items throughout history.

1. Arby's Meat Mountain

Arby's is renowned for offering customers hearty comfort food at an affordable price. But back in 2014, the restaurant launched a colossal sandwich that cost a pretty penny. At $10, Arby's Meat Mountain is far more expensive and exclusive than its regular meaty offerings. 

The secret menu item is a 10-layer Noah's ark of a sandwich, seemingly containing two of every animal, with stacks of pepper bacon, roast beef (1.5 ounces to be precise), roast turkey, chicken tenders, and Angus steak, not to mention a hefty dolloping of cheese. The sandwich is so enormous, in fact, that it doesn't even fit into regular Arby's packaging, instead having to be wrapped in sandwich paper.

Is this Frankenstein's monster of a meaty concoction worth the eye-watering price tag? Meat Mountain aficionados seem to think that this is well worth burning a hole in your wallet, even if squashing the sandwich is a tad difficult. "The trickiest part was trying to keep the chicken fingers on there while eating it," a Meat Mountain taste tester told The Consumerist in 2014. "That being said, it could be done if you just compressed it a little bit. With the amount of meat you're getting, it seemed easily worth the $10." For folks eager to tackle the beast, Arby's still offers the Meat Mountain as part of its secret menu.

2. Burger King Japan offers a super-sized, super-pricey burger

In its numerous locations across the world, Burger King has all sorts of exciting items we wish would come to the U.S., from Germany's Extra Long Chili Cheese burger to the Crunchy Cheese Whopper in the U.K. Few of these will set your bank balance back much, with BK being famously low priced. There is, however, one notable exception to the company's otherwise affordable menu.

In Japan, fast food fans can enjoy the King Yeti Super One Pound Beef Burger, a title which is as much of a mouthful as the burger itself. It was launched in 2022 and came with a whopping price tag of ¥1,750, or around $15, making it one of the most expensive Burger King menu items in history. The Yeti consisted of layer upon layer of beef, cheese, onions, pickles, and Caesar sauce, rounded off with a toasty, golden brioche bun. Truly, Burger King Japan's commitment to the super-sized menu puts all others to shame.

This one would do a number on your stomach and be nearly impossible to finish off in one sitting. Nevertheless, with all that meat plus the cheese, which a Grape Japan review noted merged into a not entirely appealing white coating, customers certainly get bang for their yen.

3. But this was the most expensive Burger King item of all time

The King Yeti Super One Pound Beef Burger may have burned a hole in consumers' pockets, but this next Burger King offering burns the pants completely. In 2008, a London-based branch of Burger King unveiled the most expensive menu item in the chain's history, setting consumers back nearly $200. That $15 Yeti Burger looks like a bargain basement offering by comparison.

The gourmet addition to the usually inexpensive fast food chain was certainly against the grain. "It sounds delicious. The ingredients are very good and high powered, but why are Burger King doing it?" celeb chef Antony Worrall Thompson remarked to Sky News Online (via Fox News).

At a colossal $190, the pricey limited-edition offering, simply dubbed The Burger, was launched as part of a charitable campaign to benefit Help A London Child. The fancy patty, which was made using Wagyu beef and sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt, was not only expensive but exclusive. Chef Mark Dowding, who developed the luxury fast food item, told ABC News that he was appealing to a specific kind of foodie more than willing to dish out a small fortune for a meat patty. "I call them burger aficionados," he said. "We're using the finest combination of products to get the optimal burger."

4. Head to Australia for high-end McDonald's

McDonald's has toyed with the idea of a high-end menu in the past, with a Signature Collection launching across the pond in 2018. That same year, the chain also debuted a gourmet burger in Australia — once again this was a luxury item reserved for fast foodies outside the U.S. The fancy burger cost AU$10.75 (around $8.25 in U.S. dollars), and much like the aforementioned exorbitant Burger King patty, it was made using Wagyu beef. At the time, it was hailed as the most expensive McDonald's burger in the world. 

Unfortunately, those who taste-tested McDonald's Wagyu Beef Burger lamented that it was hardly worth frittering away one's finances. A review by Insider concluded that the company should stick to what it does best, i.e. cheap comfort food, and leave gourmet cuisine to the Michelin chefs. The outlet noted that the unusually expensive patty both smelled, looked, and tasted downright bland.

Nevertheless, that didn't stop the Aussie branch of the fast food chain from promising to bring back the gourmet offering in 2021. Amanda Milios, brand manager for McDonald's Australia, insisted that there was indeed a market for fast food patrons looking for a more refined and high-end alternative to Big Macs and chicken nuggies. "We know this is a favorite for many of our customers who are looking for a delicious, more premium lunch or dinner option," she stated in a press release. The burger returned to restaurants for a limited time that year.

5. Head to France for the most expensive McDonald's item in the world

Whether you're visiting your local McDonald's or pulling a Vincent Vega and heading to its branches in Paris, the much-loved fast food chain is universally affordable. Or is it? Despite its reputation as a budget eatery, McDonald's prices vary widely across the globe. So if you head to France for Le Big Mac, be prepared to pay a pretty penny (or euro).

Wealthy European countries generally have some of the costliest McDonald's menus around. Unsurprisingly, then, a 2023 study by CashNetUSA revealed that France is home to the most expensive McDonald's burger in the world. The Triple Cheddar & Double Beef will set you back a startling $15.70. Compare that to just $3.91 for a Big Mac in Mississippi, or even, at the somewhat higher end, $4.47 in Florida.

So, why does a French McDonald's burger cost so much? As it turns out, the chain has been overcharging European consumers for decades. This is due to its aggressive real estate practices in Europe, whereby restaurants are forced to pay exorbitant rent to the company, having no option but to hike up the prices in turn. As such, French consumers can expect to pay more for the pleasure of Mickey-D's.

6. Taco Bell's most luxurious meal

Taco Bell is among the cheapest fast food joints around, with customers able to purchase a hearty meal, beverage, and dessert for just a few bucks. The company's commitment to offering customers super-cheap food is largely attributable to its reliance on using the same ingredients in different meals, albeit with varying degrees of spices and sauces.

But in 2019, the chain changed things up and debuted the most expensive Taco Bell meal ever. The Double Steak Melt Deluxe Box set consumers back $7, making it significantly more expensive than the majority of items and meal deals on offer. The deluxe box featured extra helpings of steak alongside the chain's beloved nacho fries but was only available to customers in Cleveland, Ohio, for about a month.

Taco Bell fans on Reddit were outraged by the pricing, with many accusing the chain of swindling folks over a box that was seemingly neither deluxe nor delectable. "$7?? You can get a chalupa, 5-layer taco, cinnamon twists, and a soda for $5. TB's losing it," argued one user. Meanwhile, another admitted that it was the first time they had ever felt ripped off by the restaurant. Thankfully for disgruntled consumers, the company's venture into high-end cuisine was fleeting. Accordingly, fans of the chain can continue enjoying low-price Tex-Mex culinary delights.

7. DougieDog and the $100 hot dog

For peak comfort food, few snacks can compare to a delicious hot dog seasoned with relish, sauerkraut, and mustard. Usually, this fast food staple costs little more than a couple of dollars, but one Canadian food truck had big plans for the humble hot dog.

In 2012, Vancouver-based vendor DougieDog Hot Dogs unveiled its $100 hot dog, dubbed the Dragon Dog. The title was both a celebration of the Year of the Dragon and the proprietors' appearance on reality series "Dragon's Den." "In designing this hot dog I wanted to come up with something super tasty and high-end that stays true to the traditional identity of the hot dog — a hot dog that any hot dog lover would enjoy," said owner Dougie Luv (via Eater). While the dog doesn't look like anything special, its splendor lies in the secret ingredients, including an infusion of lobster and $2,000-a-bottle Louis XIII cognac.

Subsequently, the Dragon Dog entered the Guinness Book of World Records, breaking the record for the most expensive hot dog in the world. The title was previously held by a $69 wiener from New York, and Luv delighted in his victory over the Big Apple. As for the hefty price tag, did the Dragon Dog cut the mustard? "A hundred bucks isn't that much to pay for a great, memorable dinner," Luv argued, per a press release. "Plus the Dragon Dog is great for sharing and the perfect way to impress a date."

8. This Seattle hot dog is the most expensive of all time

Move over Dragon Dog — there's a new top dog in town. This bespoke wiener from Seattle's Tokyo Dog is sure to break the bank. In 2014, it was revealed that the food truck was home to the most expensive hot dog of all time, surpassing DougieDog's world record just two years after the vendors celebrated their victory. At $169, Tokyo Dog's offering, dubbed the Juuni Ban, is sure to make your eyes water.

Being snoopy dogs, we can't help but wonder what's inside this concoction that merits such an exorbitant price tag. Well, it turns out that the ingredients are a smorgasbord of culinary opulence. 

Those looking to make it rain were treated to infusions of the controversial foie gras, black truffles, and even caviar, making the Juuni Ban sound like the sort of delicacy one would expect at the Four Seasons, as opposed to a humble food truck. Eugene Woo, who developed the high-end, record-breaking wiener, reasoned that it was well worth the extravagant fee. "We did this because we believe people are willing to pay for a top quality hot dog, and it was also a fun event for Seattle," Woo explained (via Guinness World Records). "We wanted to bring the record home."