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The McDonalds Burger Index? (UAE)

Travel Forums General Talk The McDonalds Burger Index? (UAE)


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1. Posted by MerB (Full Member 147 posts) 7y

How DOES one calculate the cost of living in a foreign country.

I've heard that, probably because it is so difficult to do calculate this, people just use
the McDonalds Burger Index, i.e. what does that burger cost in that country. Any thoughts
on that? I mean it must be grosssly inadequate as a standard, but what else can one do?

I am asking because I am planning (hoping) to go to the UAE (Dubai) soon, and one does like
to know what one's money will be worth before one goes.

How DOES one calculate/roughly estimate the cost of living in a country - without a degree
in financial economics or mathematics??

By the way there's no emoticon for someone who's thinking hard.

2. Posted by joffre (Respected Member 157 posts) 7y

Hiya, I hadn't heard of this index before, it's an interesting concept & probably gives you a rough idea as to costs (for burgers at least) for a particular country. But after looking over the list of figures (ie. Norway high & HK low), I think they are somewhat skewed to be used as a useful country cost comparison. What about countries that don't have Maccas? Personally, I prefer to use the LP Index...

3. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Price of a beer in a bar is how I have always done it. I don't eat mcdonalds so I have no idea of their prices.

4. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 7y

Mercers and Forbes have been known to survey cost of living in different cities of the world, so maybe you can check their latest ranking to get some idea? I believe Dubai falls within the top 20 of most expensive cities to live in, although given the current economic standstill in Dubai (particularly after Dubai World requested for debt payment freeze just this week) things may change quickly and it could be hard to gauge the situation accurately.

I have heard of both McD and LP indices, but never quite pay attention to them because I neither eat at McD nor use LP guides.

5. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

McDonalds Index doesn't work...I think you need a basket...Beer Bread Beef is how I try to figure it.


6. Posted by MerB (Full Member 147 posts) 7y

Thank you all for the feedback.

joffre - I didn't know there were any countries without a McDonalds.
Neither do I know what the LP index is?
And where did you get this info that skews towards HK and Norway?

lil_lil - your advice was MOST useful and I will definitely be checking out this Merecers
and Forbes index.

7. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

I've heard of the McDonald's, Burger King, KFC index thing.
Unfortunately, it's not that accurate. For example, a Big Mac Menu (Big Mac meal in the UK) in Budapest (with a beer, unheard of in the UK) is about the same price as a Big Mac meal with a Coke in the UK. Order a beer and it's extra, but works out at the same price as in the UK, so you can get the Coke thrown in as well.
However as we're comparing cities, a room in London of the same quality as in Budapest, with breakfast, will cost around 4 times as much, whether a hostel or 5* hotel, in most cases even more.

8. Posted by Ofelia (Respected Member 142 posts) 7y

Quoting MerB

I didn't know there were any countries without a McDonalds.

Thankfully, there are still loads of countries without McDonalds! Most of Africa, except for South Africa, doesn't have one. I also don't remember seeing one in Bolivia...I'm sure there're loads more!

Funny enough, the McDonald's in Iceland is going out of business (too expensive to run) so the franchise is pulling out...

9. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 7y

One reason the big mac index is used (I always learned it was called that in any case), is because it typically uses local ingredients, and needs to include a variety, ie. bread, beef, tomato/lettuce and some sauce. Then the cost of transport/labour/rent also adds into the pricing of course. So it's actually not that bad as a measurement as it does take a number of factors into consideration, although of course it fails miserably if there's no maccers in the country :)

Dubai is quite expensive from what I've heard, but then again, most people earning wages there hardly pay any tax.... and people wonder why it's coming to a standstill

10. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 7y

On a slightly unrelated note, here's a new report from HSBC Bank re expat experience and it's not looking too rosy for UAE...