Why Restaurant Menus Are Shrinking

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Why Restaurant Menus Are Shrinking
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Why Restaurant Menus Are Shrinking

Read on to learn why restaurant menus are shrinking in America.

According to The Washington Post, in an effort to keep up with the competition, menus grew more intricate to attract customers. Long menus were trendy for a while, but now it's seems the opposite is the case.

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Now, restaurants like the International House of Pancakes (IHOP), McDonald's and Olive Garden have decided to make their menus more succinct.

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In the restaurant world, less is becoming more. When restaurants have fewer menu items, they can focus on making their dishes excellent, their service faster and their food hotter, according to USA Today.

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In the U.S., the typical menu size has decreased to fewer than 93 items, whereas it peaked at 100 items per menu in 2008, according to data assembled from Datassential Menu Trends.

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In the top 500 restaurant chains, the total amount of menu items has decreased by 7.1% this year, going from 40,658 in 2013 to 37,770 in 2014. Entrees have dropped by nearly 9% according to restaurant researcher Technomic. Appetizers have dropped by 8% and desserts by 7.5%.

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Trimming down the menu doesn't just make customers happy, it also cuts costs for restaurants. Instead of focusing on a variety of dishes, restaurants can emphasize the quality food, waste less and hopefully increase profits by charging more for the items or spending less on them altogether.

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For a while, long menus were fashionable. Filled with different options from various cuisines, menus at some restaurants seemed to just grow longer and longer. Now, it seems customers aren't so interested in having hundreds of options when they go out to eat. According to research, the typical menu size at restaurants has decreased in recent years. So what's changed?

Check out the slideshow above to learn why restaurant menus are shrinking.

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