Panda Express customer claims takeout containers have gotten smaller

Roman Tiraspolsky/Adobe Stock @jayasuriyafamily/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Look how deep this fork goes’: Panda Express customer claims takeout containers have gotten smaller

‘Following Chipotle’s footsteps.’


Jack Alban


Inflation has been on everyone’s minds ever since it began skyrocketing in 2021, adversely affecting pricing in several industries. For some reason, fast-food joints have clocked higher-than-national average inflation numbers when compared to grocery stores and even many sit-down restaurant chains.

While some establishments seem to get more hate on social media than others, like McDonald’s and Chipotle, there have also been several posts about Panda Express. Many shoppers are questioning whether the franchise should receive ire for the lack of value it offers its patrons.

A TikToker named Jay (@jayasuriyafamily) shared a video where he shows a container of food from Panda Express. From the onset of the clip, before he reveals the contents of the packaging, he lets viewers know that he’s got a “problem” with what he was served from the restaurant.

Panda Express disappoints customer

“All right so…we have a bit of a problem. This is our dinner from Panda Express,” he says. “What we noticed is it’s not much food.”

He opens the top of the packaging, revealing a few bits of breaded pieces of fried chicken, along with some rice, vegetables, and noodles.

“For what they used to give. And then we were like oh, wasn’t sure about it, and then sure enough,” he then takes a pause and grabs his fork and sticks it into the food container.

“Watch how deep this fork goes,” he states, re-positioning the camera to show off the profile of the container, suggesting that the depth of the packaging has changed.

@jayasuriyafamily #pandaexpress followning Chipotle’s footsteps. Weldone.. @Panda Express 🖕🖕#fypage #shrinkflation #greedycorporations @chandiban ♬ original sound – JayFamily

“It’s not even an inch and a half deep. What they did was they changed the box, to even a shallower box,” he alleges. “It looks tall, from the side, but actually when you look underneath it’s not that deep.”

He holds up another food container above the camera lens to further drive his point home: “It’s even more shallow. Look at that…I guess this is corporate America. All right. Good job Panda, good job.”

Customers aren’t satisifed

Jay isn’t the only person to call out Panda Express’ container sizes. One Reddit user also expressed their concern over smaller boxes, stating that they previously were able to share a single three-portion plate with their husband, but now both of them aren’t satisfied.

“The box just looks…. different. My husband and I used to be able to share a 3 plate and feel satisfied. But now, I feel like we are both still super hungry. What gives? Did they do this to keep the prices the same …” they wrote.

In April 2020, during the height of COVID-19, Panda Express linked to a Mashed article on its Facebook page about how it intends to help during the pandemic.

One commenter wrote that, four years ago, the restaurant had shrunk the size of its packaging: “If you visited Panda Express recently, you will notice the change of their containers used. The volume of the plastic containers is less than the previous PE cartons. That means there is a increase of price by giving less in volume. I brought this matter to the head office of PE and their reply was an apology because they ran out of the previous cartons and the new plastic carton are similar.”

Another person, in response to the story, also complained about the restaurant’s portions: “I ordered the Family Meal last Saturday for my sons and I. Unfortunately, the portions were so small, it was barely enough to feed the three of us, and we really don’t eat that much.”

TikTokers who responded to Jay’s video also offered up some suggestions on how to get his American-style-Chinese-food fix without feeling like he’s being hosed.

“Go to trader Jo’s and get the frozen orange chicken. It’s so good! Try it,” they said.

Another person suggested folks simply go to a local Chinese food restaurant instead, writing, “Panda Express is OKAY but local restaurants are way better.”

Some, like this user, just missed the days of old: “I remember around 2018 when the packaging used to be much bigger and a plate used to be $7.85.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Panda Express via email and Jay via TikTok comment.

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