5 Fast-Food Chains Where Portions Are Visibly Shrinking, According to Customers
Fast-food chains aren't necessarily a destination for the most elegant or highest-quality food, but they still manage to bring in customers with the simple proposition of getting a quick, filling meal at a lower price than higher-end brands. However, rising costs for food, labor, and other commodities in recent years have spurred brands to start implementing changes that are causing them to lose favor among certain customers.
Certain chains, like Chipotle and Domino's, have resorted to price hikes in order to offset those elevated costs. Lately, more and more restaurants seem to be adopting a different method to save food supplies and money that involves giving customers less food for the same price. This strategy, sometimes known as "shrinkflation," has become a major issue among customers, many of whom are taking to social media to call out chains they say have become particularly stingy.
While all of these complaint-plagued brands likely won't meet their downfall due to this public backlash, the growing grievances could spell trouble for the overall fast-food industry. Many customers seem to be reaching the conclusion that fast food in general has become more expensive than it's worth, and some say they're giving up on certain chains entirely.
Here are five fast-food chains where customers say the portion sizes are visibly shrinking.
A McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese promises a full quarter-pound beef patty, but customers have been greatly disappointed by the protein portions in the signature burger lately. A customer illustrated the stark differences between the Quarter Pounders that McDonald's advertises and what it actually provides by posting a side-by-side comparison of the two on Reddit last year. The real Quarter Pounder's beef patty looked very thin next to the thick burger patty in the McDonald's Quarter Pounder product photo.
Customers slammed McDonald's for what they said was a recent decline in value at the chain. They also lamented the days when Quarter Pounders bore more of a resemblance to the attractive, filling burgers that the company markets.
"Pathetic, their prices have shot through the roof and quality and size has plummeted. I've stopped going there!" a customer commented on the Reddit post.
McDonald's does note on its website that the beef patty in a Quarter Pounder weigh four ounces, equal to a quarter pound, before they're cooked. This means that the burgers customers end up receiving are likely less than a quarter pound since all meat shrinks in size and weight during the cooking process.
If you've suspected that the piece of chicken on your Chick-fil-A sandwich has gotten smaller lately, you're not alone. A customer called out the popular chicken chain on Reddit several months back after receiving a fried chicken sandwich where the chicken didn't even fill out the bun. The post received more than 180 comments from fellow Redditors, many of whom lamented the declining value proposition of fast food and also reported getting surprisingly small Chick-fil-A sandwiches recently.
Chick-fil-A does use whole breast meat for its chicken sandwiches, so some variation in size should be expected. However, customers are saying these smaller chicken pieces have become a noticeable pattern at the chain rather than a rare occurrence.
"I just ate there last night, the sandwich was comically small compared to just a year ago," one Redditor wrote.
Some Chick-fil-A customers have also complained about seemingly smaller waffle fry portions recently, but there's some debate about whether that's due to Chick-fil-A actually skimping on fries or the deep-fried spuds settling and shrinking in containers as they cool.
Not all fast-food fans in the United States may know about Zaxby's, since the regional chicken chain is mostly concentrated in the South. But for those who do, just be wary of some reported chicken finger-shrinkage issues before your next Zaxby's meal.
A customer posted a photo on Reddit in 2022 showing a Zaxby's chicken finger next to a french fry that was longer and almost as thick as the actual chicken.
As it turned out, the customer was far from alone in experiencing this issue. Several other patrons responded to the post to air their grievances about smaller chicken pieces and overall portion sizes at Zaxby's.
"Okay I'm glad it's not just me, me and my boyfriend thought we were going crazy because the meals we usually get didn't fill us up like usual," a customer wrote.
"YES! I got Zaxby's yesterday and they look 1/2 the size they were before, no exaggeration," another said.
There's something fishy going on with portion sizes at Arby's lately, according to customers. Earlier this year, an Arby's patron called attention to an apparent downsizing of the drinks and fries, despite prices remaining the same.
"Arby's tends to be more expensive than the other chains, but I always felt I was getting a good value. But now they're totally ripping people off," the Redditor wrote.
Another customer reported an eerily similar issue in a separate Reddit post this year. Though Arby's doesn't appear to have publicly confirmed these changes, several Redditors claimed that the chain was eliminating the large sizes of its drinks and fries and rebranding the medium sizes as "large."
Needless to say, Arby's fans have not taken kindly to this purported switch.
"This will not end well for Arby's," one customer wrote.
Five Guys is famous for providing overflowing portions of its popular fries, but some customers say the burger chain has gotten a little more stingy lately with those deep-fried, seasoned spuds.
Last year, a customer complaining about "shrinkflation" took to Reddit to ask fellow customers if Five Guys had reduced the size of its burger patties and french fry portions. While others didn't agree that the burger patties had gotten smaller, several did say they'd noticed a decrease in the number of fries they got with orders.
"Fries haven't been overflowing here in ages," a customer commented.