Have restaurant menus shrunk?

I recently tried out Cronometer (free version) for a day because I was curious about my consumption of vitamins, minerals, Omega 3s, and Omega 6s.

As a thought experiment, I wanted to see what my nutritional profile would look like if I ate exclusively at certain restaurant chains for a day. But when I went to the online ordering pages, I couldn’t find the lighter and “healthier” items. McDonald’s doesn’t appear to offer salads, the grilled chicken sandwich, the plain English muffin, or the fruit and maple oatmeal WITHOUT brown sugar. (All these items are still listed in the nutritional information.)

To be fair, I’ve forfeited my moral right to complain, because the pandemic prompted me to completely avoid all unhealthy foods. If everyone else did the same, the entire restaurant industry and much of the food industry would be bankrupt by now. Depending on how much the danger from COVID-19 recedes, it will be a few months before I eat junk food or restaurant food again. Also, McDonald’s had zero reason to care about what I want even before the pandemic. I’ve been avoiding that chain ever since the movie Super Size Me grossed me out.

Have restaurants been removing items from their menus? If they’ve all been removing their lighter and “healthier” items from their menus, then that means that eating out is EVEN WORSE for your health today compared to just a few years ago. (And I’m leaving out the ways the food makes you more vulnerable to COVID-19.)

That said, health concerns may be secondary in my reasons to avoid many restaurant foods in the future. I suspect that many of my favorite restaurant foods of the past will no longer agree with my taste buds or gut microbiome. One thing I don’t miss about restaurant food is the unquenchable thirst that often followed due to the sodium overdose. (It seems that no amount of water could quench my thirst.) Something else I don’t miss is the food coma.

If I ever visit Mississippi or West Virginia again, I’ll have to first learn to hunt and gather my own food so that I’m not dependent on the restaurants. :slight_smile:

Menu abbreviations? I suspect it’s related to demand.

(With a potential dollop of revenue, profit margins!)

If enough folks start requesting that the missing diet-friendly items be put back on, they will show up.

Until then…

Restaurants are responding to rising costs by adjusting menus. I saw a news item this morning that Burger King is dropping Whoppers from its discount menu (which usually has 2 for $5 coupon, although in my area its $5 for one, and $1 for a second one).

Part of this is rising labor and materials costs (especially due to higher fuel costs) but also a response to labor shortages. They simplify the menu to make the kitchen more productive. And yes, less popular items get trimmed.

Burger King is dropping shakes and chocolate milk from the menu.

I also suspect the family steak houses are reducing meat quality to hold the line on prices.


Yes. As seldom I get takaeout or eat at a restaurant, I have noticed.

For example, shrimp egg fu yung at my local cheap Chinese joint used to proivde enough for 3 breakfasts. Now enough for 2 smaller servings, rest of the container is rice, which used to be separate. Worse, the formerly delicious shrimpw ith lobster sauce no longer has ground pork or black beans. It’s like shrimp in thickened egg drop soup!

Local Thai shrimp rolls–used to be 3 per order, now 2. And they’re smaller.

The local BBQ place completely dropped steak. They had good steak.

Menus are being trimmed. Prices are rising. Since we haven’t eaten out much in the last two years, the price increases are very obvious.

We have always enjoyed dining out – no bars, as I have said, just nice, reasonable restaurants. Problem now is that, around here, we have lost several such restaurants, mainly due to Covid there for a while, but also because they can’t find enough help! Very few are open at noon, except for junk food - McD’s, Wendy’s, Burger Doodle, etc.

Thankfully, 99 still is busy and offers pretty decent foods (and good selection). Chinese food tends to be VERY high in sodium, but we enjoy that sometimes. As spring approaches, a couple of snack bars will reopen (their owners head south for the winter!) and that will offer more choices, too. One other choice, for which we are grateful, is a little local “cafe” (small, nice diner type place) that offers decent food (deliberately UNDERsalted) at reasonable prices.

Otherwise, it’s “do it yourself”.


I have noticed that the restaurants that I generally frequent have all reduced there offerings, but I don’t think it’s health-related.

One of my favorite tapas places has reduced there offerings by more than half.

“Have restaurants been removing items from their menus?”

Some restaurants have raised prices a bunch.
Some restaurants have “simplified” their menus - so side items are not included unless the
price is bumped up.
Course, some restaurants have added riced or mashed cauliflower and such.


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