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Fast Food Portion Sizes Often Misrepresented

Last week, we spotlighted a lawsuit filed against Taco Bell for selling some menu items that had much less filling than advertised. Many of you wrote that other fast food chains do the same thing.


This is a six-inch roast beef sandwich as pictured on the Subway website.

Subway roast beef

According to the nutrition section of their website, the six-inch sub has only 25 grams of protein, presumably all from the roast beef. According to a post of an employee of Subway, there is only about 2.5 ounces of roast beef in their six-inch sandwich.

Yet, the sandwich depicted above seems to have way more than that, perhaps about eight or nine thick slices of roast beef. What are the odds that your sandwich will look like the picture?

We asked the company to justify the difference, but they did not respond.



Arby’s, whose slogan is “We have the meats,” is best known for its roast beef sandwiches. Here are pictures from its website of the three sizes they offer:

Arby's 3 sizes of roast beef sandwiches

MrConsumer doesn’t have an Arby’s in his area, but suspects the sandwiches may not be piled quite as high as their photos depict.

In the case of the half pound roast beef, presumably you really do get eight ounces of meat, but this screen capture from a YouTube video suggests it is not piled as high as the advertisement suggests, and the meat is nowhere near as rare and appetizing looking.

Actual half pound Arby's roast beef

But let’s focus on their regular sandwich and the double meat size. The double meat one sure doesn’t look like double the size of the smaller one. And checking the nutrition guide on the Arby’s site, the analysis there proves it does not contain double the meat.


Arby's roast beef

The smaller sandwich has 23 grams of protein, presumably from the roast beef, but the double-size one only has 38 grams — not double.

We asked the company for an explanation, but they did not respond.


Fried Chicken Sandwiches

It seems like advertising for many restaurants’ chicken sandwiches come with a really thick piece of chicken. Here is KFC’s fried chicken sandwich:

KFC chicken sandwich

And here is KFC’s Ultimate Chicken sandwich as advertised in a TV commercial. It appears to be half the size of this man’s head.

KFC Ultimate Chicken Sandwich

Popeye’s fried chicken sandwiches have garnered rave reviews and their advertising also depicts them with a really big piece of chicken.

Popeye's fried chicken

Here is an actual Popeye’s fried chicken sandwich as captured in a YouTube video. It does seem pretty thick and similar to the advertising.


Actual Popeye's fried chicken sandwich

We don’t know how the actual chicken sandwiches you get at your local location of these chains compares to the pictures they use, but it seems unlikely the reality matches the advertising in all cases. Tell us what your experience has been in the comments.

If you find other examples of abundant meat in fast food advertising but what you get is much less, please submit pictures of both to edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org .

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10 thoughts on “Fast Food Portion Sizes Often Misrepresented”

  1. We never go to fast food places anymore. We are disgusted by the food, the amounts, and the false advertising.
    If we want to get take out, we get a serving from our local Chinese restaurant and divide it into two servings. One container of their food is more than enough for 2 people. Plus, it’s run by people from Taiwan so it’s very authentic. One serving of a combo platter is only $8.99. Divide by 2 and that’s a reasonable price. It comes with egg roll and choice of fried or white rice, also.

  2. Let’s talk about McDonald’s and Burger King’s burgers, which are now even smaller and thinner than they were before the Pandemic while the prices are higher. It’s called Marketing, which is a glorified term for Lying

    • OMG ? that’s so true. The McDonald’s fish sandwich used to have the fish square outside the bun, now it’s literally in the middle of the bun and smothered in tartar sauce. And let’s not start on the toddler sized French fries ? ? ?

  3. I cannot comment on Arby’s, but Popeyes chicken sandwich is my favorite and Kentucky fried chickens. Chicken sandwich is also very good. Those are my two favorites. As for the size, Kentucky fried chicken is definitely smaller than what the pictures present. As for a Popeyes, it’s very close, and I will say that the actual chicken in their sandwich is huge and very filling.

  4. I went to In ‘N Out yesterday and had one of the best and freshest burgers I’ve ever had. I ordered a Double Double with extra grilled onions, and it was $10.68 all in.

    If you’re going to bother to go to a fast-food place, make sure you get the freshest and choicest ingredients you can and aren’t the victim of a “bait and switch” campaign.

  5. Lets put it this way.
    Long ago, I compared the price of a Dennies Breakfast in a Metro area.
    2 eggs(small) 2 bacon(thin)Hashbrowns(small)
    Even going to a store and buying all this stuff, would have cost me $10. 12 eggs, 16 slice bacon, 1 pound of hashbrowns.
    2 eggs =0.30 2 thick bacon 0.50 Hashbrowns another 0.50. $1.30 worth of food.
    the meal cost over $6. and I know Companies get better prices then WE DO. Buying in Bulk is tons of savings.

    Went 200 miles away to home town(rural area). Dennies. SAME meal.. Thick bacon, 3 eggs, LOTS of hashbrowns..a Plate full of food.. $6.

    NOW? I only goto the older establishments, that are recommended. EVEN LOCAL places are inflating prices.
    ANd Luncheon meat? that water filled over priced stuff?

  6. It’s called “shrinkflation” where they keep the outside looking the same, especially packaging, and shrink the inside. In the case of fast food, they keep the name the same but shrink the product.

    One chain that seems to be bucking the trend is In-n-Out. Their products seem to have remained consistent over the last few years except the price has gone up. They are still mobbed in Reno NV.

    Fast food is still relatively fast everywhere but its by no means inexpensive, especially relative to the cost per unit. I have found Chinese joints consistently competitive in that way.

  7. One comment on the protein grams to meat not – remember the bread has protein. That whole gluten thing lots of folks avoid.

    For Arby’s the bun itself is listed as having 7 g of protein. That means the roast beef is providing 16 g of protein. Double the beef and add the bun back in and you’re at 39 grams. The difference in 38 vs 39 is likely a result from rounding.

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