Man talking(l+r), Panda Express sign(c)

Bruce VanLoon/Shutterstock @samuel_lift/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Panda Express moving shady’: Panda Express customer notices something peculiar after ordering both plate and bowl

'Another greedy company just like Chipotle.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on May 15, 2024   Updated on May 15, 2024, 11:52 am CDT

Customers are accusing fast-food restaurants of getting stingy with their portions and upping their prices more and more frequently. The latest culprit? Panda Express.

Panda Express is the largest restaurant chain serving Americanized Chinese food. For a long time, they were known to serve hefty (though often inconsistent) food portions, making them a favorite among those looking to get the most bang for their buck.

But that seems to be changing.

In a viral TikTok video, Sam (@samuel_lift) stitched another creator who called out Panda Express for shorting his protein portion despite paying for a bigger meal.

In the original clip, the man explains that he had ordered both a bowl and a plate. A bowl is smaller and has one entree (like chow mein or rice) and a protein (like orange chicken or Beijing beef), while a plate has one entree and two proteins (or you can get a double portion of the same protein).

But when he opened both up he was surprised by what he saw.

“Somehow, this is the same amount as a bowl … it’s supposed to be double chicken, but it’s pretty much a single,” the man says.

“Panda Express = Walking L,” the text overlay on the video reads.

Judging by the video, there do seem to be similar quantities of chicken in each serving, but the plate appears to have more because it’s padded by the bell peppers that come with it. But you can watch the clip and be the judge of that.

@samuel_lift Panda express moving shady🫠🫠 #pandaexpress #foodportions #foodtiktok #foodtok #fastfood ♬ original sound – Sam

Sam calls Panda Express “another greedy company just like Chipotle,” but points out that he’s not sure if the smaller portions are because of employees “being greedy” or if it’s company policy to “give us sh*tty a** portions.”

Sam adds that he used to love Panda Express and ate it all the time.

He then compares the portion issue to the alleged Starbucks phenomenon in which customers get the same amount of liquid in an iced drink no matter the size they ask for, the only difference is how much ice is in it. However, several publications including a local news outlet and fact-checking site have debunked this myth for hot beverages.

“Panda Express, they’ve been doing this same shit for the longest time with their plates,” Sam says.

He adds that when he does have to eat at Panda Express, he orders the bowl with an extra side of protein.

“Buying a plate from Panda Express is like the biggest scam,” he says.

Sam says this is particularly unfortunate for him because he came to the U.S. expecting the huge portions the country is known for worldwide. “I came here to have a big back,” Sam says.

And these TikTokers aren’t the first to call out fast-food restaurants for their subpar portions and rising prices. One customer realized that she could get a similar meal for cheaper at Chili’s instead of going to McDonald’s. Another pointed out that fast food prices are no longer the cheap option many people rely on.

People in the comments section had mixed reactions.

“My Panda Express has been stingy with the serving size lately,” the top comment read.

“My local Panda and Chipotle are usually packing it on. BUT if you get that one employee, they will skimp on you,” a person wrote.

“I used to work for panda express a boss used to tell us to put little food. We used to get in trouble if you put a lot,” another shared.

The Daily Dot reached out to Sam and Panda Express for comment via email.

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*First Published: May 15, 2024, 1:00 pm CDT