While Americans are growing fatter, their fast food restaurants are losing their excess weight, reports newspaper the Modesto Bee. Escalating real estate costs in urban areas have forced several leading chains, including Wendy’s, Popeye’s, and Burger King to cut back on the square footage, drastically reducing the sizes of their kitchens and seating areas and operating at far reduced staff levels. Burger King, said the paper, will reduce building size by one third going forward. Smaller restaurants also mean it’s easier to expand into more sparsely populated catchment areas, where footfall does not justify a large expenditure on building and personnel costs. In addition, the resizing means that restaurants are cheaper to build and incur less expense in terms of rent and other building-based operational costs. Restaurant industry consultant Arlene Spiegel said: "They really don't have the luxury of big real estate opportunities anymore. The rent goes down, the labor goes down, the entire overhead shrinks, but the product keeps moving out."