Pandemic Pares Menu Offerings

Dec. 14, 2021
Many restaurants are cutting back on the size and complexity of their menus to cope with labor shortages and other problems, according to a menu-tracking data service.

Many restaurants are cutting back on the size and complexity of their menus to cope with labor shortages and other problems, according to a menu-tracking data service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that 60% of the restaurants surveyed by Datassential, a foodservice industry tracking service, had shrunk their menus this year. The trend was especially noticeable in fine-dining places, which frequently offer unique dishes. The number of menu items in such establishments went down 23% this year.

The cutbacks are mostly among appetizers and desserts, although some restaurateurs told the Journal that they were having trouble finding expensive proteins like steak and tuna.

One owner of a café in Palo Alto, Calif., said the 17 dishes he offers constitute half of what he used to: “We’re a little bit more of a greatest-hits album.”

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