Grocery Shrink Ray Hits Arby's In OK-KS-MO-AR

Starting this week, a few portions are smaller and prices higher at Arby’s in the OK-KS-MO-AR region. Here’s the aftermath:

AuJus sauce (by itself, not with meal): from free to $.50
Sandwiches in “Pick 5 for 5.95 combos: 2oz of sliced beef to 1.5 oz, 4″ bun to 3.5″ bun.
Sandwiches with cheese: $.10 increase

No word yet on whether this shrinking/price increase combo will spread to other regions.

One of the Arby’s employees we spoke to over the phone said the changes were necessary because of rising costs, “of oil and stuff.”

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  1. SkokieGuy says:

    The Chicagoland Arby’s promotion is 4 for $5. These plain roast beef (alleged) sandwiches used to be 5 for $5 about a year back.

    Also, is there something vaguely disturbing to anyone else about the concept of “Horsey Sauce”?

  2. andys2i says:

    Welcome to the new reality of shopping – low prices and even lower portions!

    However the silver lining from all this is that this may alleviate America’s obesity problem. After all if you eat less, smaller portions, then you’ll pack on fewer pounds. Right?

  3. plural_of_moose says:

    In the town my college is in, they (being the only 24-hour fast food place) changed their 5 for 5.95 to 5 for 6.95, around last september when school started…I don’t even want to think what they’re going to do with an actual reason to increase their prices.

    They know they have a good deal going because they also put in wireless…it’s just hard to hate our arby’s.

  4. Oklahoma, Kansas, Michigan, and Arkansas?

  5. @SkokieGuy: Also, is there something vaguely disturbing to anyone else about the concept of “Horsey Sauce”?

    The first time I’d even heard the term was in college. I was at a drive through and this particular clerk was very loud & proud. So he says “Do you want some Arby’s sauce or Horsey sauce with that?” and I almost laughed right in his face. Between his delivery and that stupid name…

    I really though he just couldn’t pronouce horseradish or something, until quite a while later and I actually saw a packet of the stuff in person. Such a dumb name, especially given the color and texture of the stuff.

  6. TheBusDriver says:

    It is really shrink-ray or price increase? The shrink-ray effect is when you get less, same packaging so it is not obvious, and you still pay the same….

  7. lalaland13 says:

    @Ash78: Maybe it’s supposed to be Missouri? Although Michigan is possible, Missouri seems to fit better in that cluster of states.

    I’m in that region, and I’ll have to go check out the Arby’s stuff. I usually get chicken, though, rather than roast beef. The extra prices might be worth it though, if I get to hear the guy on the drive-thru singing and muttering “I’m bored” rather than taking my order. Turns out his headset was accidentally on lock or something.

  8. Ladley says:

    I’m guessing they meant MO.

  9. ohyeahright says:

    I haven’t eaten at Arby’s since the deal was 5 for $5, your choice of plain or ArbBQ.

  10. Jesse says:

    @ohyeahright:

    I only eat at Arby’s about once every 2-3 months. The stores in my area are depressing (understaffed, slow, etc) and the food mediocre. They used to be better back in the day.

  11. DeadWriter says:

    Really, the $.10 extra for each cheese goes to a mental health program for the cows whose children are being served slathered with their milk. Who can argue against that.

    I am really craving an Arby’s sandwich right now. I wouldn’t had thought of Arby’s if it weren’t for this thread.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    One of the Arby’s employees we spoke to over the phone said the changes were necessary because of rising costs, “of oil and stuff.”

    This would explain some things.I kind of suspected that petroleum was a major ingredient in their Arby-Q…

  13. fett387 says:

    Our Arby’s stopped serving regular fries. Now you can only get curly fries. This stinks since I like regular fries.
    I now have to go to the McDs down the road to get fries when I get a sandwich from Arbys. I know u might think it’s weird, but hey, it’s what I want.

  14. ObtuseGoose says:

    Wow. A ginormous 1 1/2 ounces of beef per sandwich. Maybe they’ll let me order half a sandwich.

  15. Half Beast says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  16. scooby76 says:

    I remember when Arbys wasn’t so expensive and actually gave you a lot of food for your money.

  17. am84 says:

    FYI – I don’t know if this is nationwide or not, but I can say for a fact that Arby’s restaurants in the Pittsburgh area are selling roast beef sandwiches and curly fries for .99/each today only. I’ll be going there for lunch later. :)

  18. Gev says:

    Maybe if we complain really loud and long, the price of “oil and stuff” will go back down and then prices on other products will go down and things will be like they used to be.

    I think blaming the president might help a little bit too.

    Unfortunately in reality higher prices for everything are pretty much here to stay regardless of how much you may gnash your teeth and use witty terms to describe how things are changing.

  19. AceKicker says:

    You know, fast food may be the one exception where the grocery shrink ray could be a GOOD thing. We as a country could probably benefit for getting less food in their scarf bag.

    Of course we still deserve to know about it, but looking at this notice it looks like Arby’s is giving due notice

  20. PinkBox says:

    Are smaller portions in our society really a bad thing? ;)

  21. PinkBox says:

    @AceKicker: Great minds, eh?

  22. MonkeyMonk says:

    There’s got to be a point of diminishing returns to all this shrink-ray horseplay.

    Hypothetically, say I go to Arby’s once a week for lunch and get the same sandwich. It’s the perfect size and completely satisfies me. If Arby’s reduces the size too much it’s not like I’m going to buy a second sandwich — I’m just going to feel unsatisfied with their lunch and stop going there altogether.

    I’m already starting to feel this sensation at the grocery store (there are products that just don’t excite me anymore at their smaller size) but I would think it would be much worse at a restaurant.

  23. ChuckECheese says:

    Fast food prices have doubled in the past 4 or 5 years, even though most fast food workers didn’t get a raise (the stores did start taking credit cards about that time though). My BK has a $7.50 combo meal now; that would have been laughable just 2 years ago. The local Taco Bell has decreased portion sizes (keeping them in the same size tortillas, making it very obvious what they’re up to), but complaints to TB HQ and the store went completely unanswered. You’d think they had already saved up enough extra cash to weather this economic storm.

    I’m convinced that companies are using the current economy to overcharge way beyond what increasing costs require. Even with a tripling in the cost of fuel, does bottled water need to increase in price 20%? The per-case transportation cost increase is quite small after all. Wouldn’t a 5% increase be enough? Shrinking product sizes is very inflationary, usually leading to de-facto double-digit price increases. In other news, my Fritos bag just got decreased in size by 1/4 oz, and increased in price by 30¢. What appears to be a piddling change amounts to 18% price increase.

  24. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Clearly cost has nothing to do with it if this is not company wide.

  25. camman68 says:

    In Wichita, KS, you can’t get a “regular” roast beef sandwich with the 5/$5.95 offer any more. They will only give you the “Jr.” size.

    Does this mean they have shrunk the “Jr.” size again?

  26. @SkokieGuy: I remember those promotions very well. Used to feed my family on the cheap pretty easily (much like the 2 for $2 Whopper deals BK used to have back in the day).

    I also noticed that the 4 for $5 Beef & Cheddar deals they used to have (as recently as a couple years ago) are now 3 for $5.

    Arby’s is still delicious, no doubt, but the prices have steadily gotten higher for either the same portions or the prices stay the same for significantly lower portions. In a way, this is why I’m glad my nearest Arby’s is a bit of a trip for me (45 minutes or so).

  27. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @AceKicker: @NameGoesHere: “Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.” :D

  28. khiltd says:

    If only there were some way to cook a roast and toast bread from the convenience of my own home.

  29. zigziggityzoo says:

    OK. KAN HAS MOAR?

  30. boss_lady says:

    Being a non-beef-eater, I’ve always really loved the chicken fingers ‘snack’ meal at Arby’s (the chicken is white breast meat, not ground and pressed together). It used to be just under three dollars in Canada, for two fingers and some fries. It’s now a full dollar more, and the chicken fingers are noticeably smaller.

  31. graphicwave says:

    Fuckin’ Arby’s. If you get a Ham Melt, you get maybe 2 slices of ham, cheese and a massive amount of ass tasting bread for about 3 bucks. It’s almost 9 dollars to eat there every time. Arby’s can suck my ass.

  32. boss_lady says:

    @AceKicker: @NameGoesHere: See, the issue is with the prices staying the same/being raised for smaller portions.

  33. Dillenger69 says:

    With AuJus sauce?

    With With Juice Sauce?

    How about I eat some salsa sauce next to the automatic ATM machine?

  34. dumblonde says:

    This may sound bitchy but I’m all for fast foods cutting down portions and charging more money. Maybe this will help America’s ever expanding waistline from not expanding anymore.

  35. attheotherbeach says:

    @am84: God, I love their curly fries. I don’t eat them often (or any other fries for that matter), maybe once every couple of months as a treat. But dayem, they’re tasty!

  36. nikki0081 says:

    I don’t like their roast beef cause its a strange shade of gray.

  37. MonkeyMonk says:

    Damn it Arby’s! You know I love my Big Beef and Cheddar.

  38. AnderBobo says:

    @MonkeyMonk: 30 Rock FTW!

  39. RetailGuy83 says:

    One of the Arby’s employees we spoke to over the phone said the changes were necessary because of rising costs, “of oil and stuff.”

    Seriously, Ben, did you guys just call a local franchise and ask the first dude that picked up the phone?

  40. framitz says:

    Shrinking the portions is a GOOD thing, makes their crap just that little bit less disgusting.

  41. ElizabethD says:

    @Dillenger69:
    Score.

    I feel like banging my head into unconsciousness every time I read “au jus” used incorrectly. “Would you like some au jus with that?” ARGH. I would like some “jus,” sure, but you can have your “with the”.

  42. SkyeBlue says:

    I like to take me kids out to eat once or twice a week, but instead of going out to McD’s or Arby’s and paying up to $4.00 for a kids’ meal we’ve been opting for local restaurants instead which offer specials. One restaurant here has a kids buffet for $3.00 (and they don’t leave feeling hungry!) and another has a Kids Eat Free (with adult) on Tuesday nights.

    Some of the fast food combo meals are running close to or over $6.00, and the food is mediocre at best. For that price I can go to one of our small local restaurants and get a better meal with alot friendlier service.

    The fast food places are pricing themselves right out of business!

  43. MissPeacock says:

    @am84: I noticed a sign on an Arby’s here in Birmingham yesterday that said you could get as many roast beef sandwiches as you want for $0.99./each. Brought back memories of the old 5 for $5 deal.

  44. Ben Popken says:

    @RetailGuy83: Following up on an employee tip, I called several franchises in different geographical locations and also spoke with Arby’s media relations. Media relations has yet to give me any data but the local franchises were forthcoming and informative.

  45. Baronzemo says:

    “of oil and stuff.”
    So they’re blaming Matt Kenseth?-that’s brilliant;
    [www.arbysracing.com]

  46. Baronzemo says:

    rising costs, “of oil and stuff.”
    blaming it on Matt Kenseth, brilliant!;
    [www.arbysracing.com]

  47. - says:

    Honestly,

    Considering how much Americans eat compared to the rest of the world, is downsizing our food really that bad?

  48. stezton says:

    If consumerist keeps posting about Arby’s I may have to actually break down and get some even though I swore them off years ago.

  49. Agent007 says:

    Yawn. Again.

  50. Scatter says:

    “rising costs of oil and stuff” huh? But it had noting to do with their buyout of Wendy’s I’m sure

  51. Inflation = raise prices or shrink the size.

  52. forgottenpassword says:

  53. kyle4 says:

    Here in Canada they upped the prices at McDonald’s too. From what I can remember they raised the price of Super Sizing from 69 cents to 89 cents.

  54. floyderdc says:

    “I’m so hungry I could eat at Arby’s Looks like you will still be hungry when you are done at Arby’s.

    This whole shrink ray thing is getting old, not the stories but the shrinkage itself. Maybe if buy nothing day actually was done well we could have an inpact on how corperate America thinks

  55. ludwigk says:

    @ObtuseGoose: Scaling back from 2.0 oz to 1.5 oz is a big, and unfortunate change. But, this does put their burgers in line with McDonald’s, which are 1.6 oz patties. Putting 2 oz of meat on there was just giving away the farm!

    @ohyeahright: I’m pretty sure I haven’t eaten Arby’s since before there was any 5 for x deals. I don’t remember ever seeing them.

    I used to always get the Arby’s Super, because that’s what me and my dad always got when we used to go (like 15 years ago). Once the Big Montana came out when I was in college, I was hooked. So much frikkin meat! Gotta remember to ask for lettuce and tomato, tho’.

  56. forgottenpassword says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    sorry for the messed up post (with no content)… my shoddy wifi signal must have dumped me when I hit submit.

    Anyways….

    WHat I meant to post was….

    This really pisses me off. I live in MO.

    Its bad enough that they were expensive as fast food places go, but now they are reducing portions along with raising prices? UGH! I go to arby’s maybe once a week. Seems It will be even less now.

    Bastards!

    Oh…and why only in OK,KS,MO & AR? Why are WE being specifically fucked/gouged?

  57. kingofmars says:

    It looks like the combo went up in MD as well. The menu says that the combo is 5.19, but then they charge 5.39.

  58. SinisterMatt says:

    That shrink ray better stay out of Texas!

    “Everything’s bigger in Texas” I guess now applies to Arby’s too. Yay!!

    Anyway, now, once again, I want me some Arby’s.

    Cheers!

  59. FilthyHarry says:

    Less of arby’s is a good thing. any steps that they take that discourage may discourage you from eating there is doing you a favor.

  60. Amalas says:

    @Ash78: While “Horsey Sauce” is a pretty silly name, I think it’s somewhat accurate. It’s not straight-up horseradish, more of a horseradish-flavored sauce. Also, “horseradish” is a a pretty silly name if you think about it. =)