Restaurants Are Shrinking Portion Sizes Right Now—Here’s Why

To make ends meet, restaurants are increasing prices but shrinking the size of meals.

If you’ve noticed that some restaurant meals look smaller than normal, you’re not alone. In fact, according to recent Yelp data, many diners are experiencing “shrinkflation.” The menu items seem to be getting smaller and smaller due to the high rate of inflation and increased costs. Yelp evaluated a series of reviews that mention shrinkflation, taking a deeper look at the type of restaurants that have been affected. Here’s what they discovered.

Smaller Portion Sizes Are Showing Up Across the Country

According to Yelp, restaurants serving the most affordable food seem to be taking the biggest hit due to inflation. Restaurants serving hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza have been affected the most, followed by seafood restaurants, Italian food and Chinese food.

Yelp reported that year-over-year, 47 states—including Washington, D.C.—saw an increase in inflation between 2021 and 2022, with 35 states reporting more than a 25% increase in inflation. States with the highest reports of inflation in restaurants are South Dakota (up 170%), Kansas (111%), Arkansas (81%), Wisconsin (59%) and New Hampshire (56%). At this point, you might be wasting money on restaurant meals.

Why Are Portion Sizes Shrinking?

Restaurant Business reports restaurant menu prices are at the highest they have been in over 40 years due to inflation, with limited-service and full-service restaurants raising prices by at least 7% over the past year. Grocery prices are not far behind with a 7.4% increase. And some fast food prices even rose more than 15%, while other chain prices dropped.

This is due to the rising costs of food, materials and labor. Restaurant Business also reports that restaurants are seeing a 10% increase in wage rates due to the labor shortage. The Food Institute says that higher costs for basic food items—like wheat, flour, proteins and vegetables—are causing strain for restaurants.

Now, with food shortages and the increased cost of ingredients, restaurants need ways to make the experience as cheap as possible. Some restaurants are luring customers back with limited-time discounts, like the summer deals at Starbucks and Camp McDonald’s giveaways . These restaurant deals give customers the illusion of getting the most bang for their buck—even if the deal isn’t really a deal at all.

Next Up: Here’s what you should never order in a restaurant.