Do Restaurants Like Chipotle Give You Less Food If You Order Online, Versus In-Person?

Apps can make ordering lunch much more convenient, but does it ever seem like the food is less satisfying?  It can be less fresh if you order ahead, and more of a mess, especially if it was delivered.

But have you ever wondered if you get smaller portions ordering online?

A software engineer from Chicago started suspecting the portions were different, because he’d alternate ordering in-person and online.  So he whipped out a scale and started weighing the food and tracking the results.

He ordered 20 of the same salads from Sweetgreen, 10 in person and 10 online.  Almost ALL of the online orders were smaller, and across all 20 orders, the online ones were, on average, 16% smaller.  (Here’s his data.)

In the comments, some food service workers suggest that this happens at many places where food is assembled in front of customers.

The idea is:  The workers have more time to complete online orders, so they’re able to follow the recipes AND the strict rules on portion sizes.

But when they’re rushed and the customer is standing right in front of them, they don’t want it to look like they’re shorting someone.  Especially if it means removing a bit to make it the correct amount.

For the record, Sweetgreen claims its portions are the same online as they are in-store, and “any discrepancy is unintentional.”

But other places, like Chipotle, admit that this CAN happen.  Chipotle says, “Customers have the opportunity to completely customize their meal in restaurants by vocalizing their desired portions.”

You can also do this digitally, but you can’t actually see the food being assembled, so it’s likely that you’ll have more control IN-PERSON.


(New York Post / Medium)