What Is a Value Menu?

Cynde Gregory

Value menus typically refer to specially marketed deals at fast food restaurants that offer a complete meal for a low price. Often, restaurant chains will create meal deals that offer entrees, side dishes, drinks, and dessert items at special low prices for each meal of the day. Customers have become accustomed to looking for value menu offerings, making them obligatory for most restaurants.

Virtually all fast food restaurants offer value menu options.
Virtually all fast food restaurants offer value menu options.

Almost all fast food chains offer some kind of a value menu these days. Without a value menu that offers a handful of items a cheap price, they would be at a competitive disadvantage. That’s because customers have come to expect these packaged deals and have made them popular.

Value menu items are often unhealthy.
Value menu items are often unhealthy.

Typical value menus cost about $1 US Dollar (USD), although some items may cost as much as $2 USD. These items can be purchased a la carte and are usually offered in small portions. Some fast food restaurants have created a size that is smaller than small and named that new size the "value size."

Value menus were a marketing creation designed to attract diners looking for a bargain. They were so popular that nearly all fast food chains have created these menus. Many restaurants have added items to their value menus over the years.

Value menu items might not be the best bargain on the menu in many restaurants, depending on how hungry the diner is. A hungry person might do better to consider other options. Most fast food spots offer the same combination of menu items in larger sizes for around the same price or just a little more.

Like most fast food, value menu items are often unhealthy. Health-conscious diners should look for the value menu offerings that are low in fat and calories. As customers have demanded these items, many chains have added salads, fruit, yogurt and other healthy items to their value menus.

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