Britain will have one of the cheapest Big Macs in the world as McDonald's joins the UK government's 50% discount scheme

  • McDonald's has announced that some of its UK restaurants will take part in the British government's new discount scheme for people dining out.
  • This means a Big Mac purchased in the UK could now become one of the cheapest in the world.
  • Under the terms of the 50% discount offered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, a Big Mac could sell for as little as £1.69 ($2.15) in participating restaurants.
  • McDonald's has also announced it will reopen 700 of its UK restaurants for dine-in with numerous measures to help social distancing. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK is set to be home to one of the cheapest Big Macs in the world after McDonald's announced that some of its restaurants there will take part in a 50% discount scheme.

On Tuesday, McDonald's announced that it will reopen 700 of its UK restaurants for dine-in from Wednesday, and that some of them will be able to take part in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme, which offers a hefty discount on meals eaten in restaurants.

This could see the famed Big Mac sell for as little as £1.69 ($2.15) in participating restaurants — a reduction from the recommended price of £3.39 ($4.30).

This price point now beats Mexico, which sells Big Macs for 50 pesos, or $2.24.

In fact, with prices adjusted to the US dollar, a Big Mac in the UK is now cheaper in all but four of the countries listed in The Economist's 2020 Big Mac Index: Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and South Africa.

By comparison, here's how much other major countries sell their Big Macs for:

  • US: $5.71
  • Japan: 390 yen, or $3.64
  • Australia: $6.55 Australian dollars, or $4.65
  • Euro area: 4.21 euros or $4.82
  • South Korea: 4,500 won or $3.76
  • Saudi Arabia: 14 riyals or $3.73

The same price reduction in the UK would apply to other favorites such as six Chicken McNuggets or a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Sunak's scheme is aimed at helping the UK's hospitality sector, which has taken a massive hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the scheme, 50% of any dine-in restaurant bill at participating restaurants — up to the value of £10 ($12.71) — will be covered by the UK government on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for all of August. Here are the full details of the scheme.

McDonald's hasn't announced which of its venues will take part yet, but excluded restaurants in Wales as dine-in is restricted there. 

The company had already recommended price cuts of around 8% thanks to an earlier tax reduction announced for the hospitality sector, and it's not currently clear if the two offers will overlap. 

Individual franchisees have a say in exactly how to price their menus, McDonald's said, so prices may vary.

In a statement to Business Insider, McDonald's outlined numerous safety measures including plastic screens in the kitchens, a reduced workforce, and personal protective equipment for staff. 

Three of McDonald's UK restaurants have been trialling the new dine-in arrangements for over a week. When Business Insider visited a pilot restaurant, there were numerous changes compared to the pre-coronavirus era.

Tables were cordoned off to achieve around 6 feet of distance between diners, and the ordering system was set up to include as little human contact as possible. Diners had the option to leave their personal details for contact tracing. 

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