Restaurants on survival tactics

Tuesday November 29 2022
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Kisimenti, coronavirus, e-commerce, RDB, Vuba Vuba, Kigali, Musanze, RubavuFor more than a month, restaurants were only allowed to sell take-away and home deliveries. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA

By Ange Iliza

Have you visited a restaurant recently and felt cheated with the portion of food served?

This is the trend in most restaurant as rising cost of living in Kigali has forced manufacturers and restaurants to reduce size of products and food portions to remain afloat.

It was understood that business community have resorted to "shrinkflation," which means the price of a product remains the same but the size reduces. Consumers who buy certain goods such as locally made bread, packaged juices, biscuits, peanuts and other ready to-serve foods have been in for a rude shock over the past few months.

When they open the packaged food, they are surprised to learn that the size has reduced but the price remains the same. The same trend has been observed in restaurants quantity of food portions have reduced but prices remain the same.

“At first I dismissed this as a mistake in my order, and complained to a manager, fearing that the smaller portion was half of what I used to be served. It turns out that the restaurants have cut the size of portions significantly. It was frustrating because I was paying the same amount of money,” Ruth Dushime told Rwanda Today at a restaurant in Kigali.

Rwanda Today visited four restaurants in Kigali Downtown and near Kimironko market that serve low-income workers and found that food items including potato fries, meat and eggs, and milk portions have been reduced even when the prices remain the same


A manager at Pacific Restaurant in Kimironko said they would have to increase the price almost by half to maintain the same serving portions, which few of their clients can afford. The restaurant sells one serving at a buffet at Rwf2500.

While the practice is less noticeable in major food companies, small market vendors are embracing this as a way to match rising prices with products.

“Food prices have steadily been rising to the extent that some clients refuse to pay thinking that we are being unfair or trying to trick them into paying more. So for the most common items we reduce the quantity and maintain the price,” a trader in Nyabugogo market said.

In addition, some merchants have been said to reduce quantities by manipulating their weighing scales.