Category Archives: Economics of Dining

Why I don’t like desserts

I’ve been challenged on this point many times in the last few days. People, let me stress there are two different propositions: 1. “I don’t like desserts.” 2. “I don’t like desserts (with economist’s hat on).” I meant mainly the … Continue reading

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Are desserts in decline?

I hope so. Todd Kliman writes: The problem is that restaurateurs are unwilling to charge more than $30 an entrée. That number has held steady for years, the Maginot Line of the industry. Forced to look elsewhere, they’ve sought to … Continue reading

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Does the Shake Shack IPO mean you should stop eating there?

A simple theory of IPOs suggests that they arrive when a product or company is experiencing “peak buzz,” or at least when the insiders in the privately held company think they are at or near peak buzz. This will maximize … Continue reading

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Should a restaurant require prepayment for meals?

This I found in a Quora forum on prepaid meals in China: We’ve actually experimented with prepaid vs postpaid meals in our restaurant. The verdict? Upfront payment increased table turnover by over 80%. The difference is that customers who haven’t … Continue reading

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Is there a case against small plates on restaurant menus?

That is the current rage in the DC dining scene, namely that you can more easily order lots of “small plates” rather than a big plate with steak and spinach. Neil Irwin makes the case against that practice here, Matt … Continue reading

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More food writers should be making this kind of point

Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: So when companies like Wal-Mart bring their logistics ability to Africa, it actually could be a good thing for the poor people of Africa? Cowen: It’s exactly what we need more of. Yes. Arabic Knowledge@Wharton: Yet there’s a … Continue reading

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“Getting a good meal in D.C. requires some ruthless economics”

This piece is by me, in The Washington Post. Here is one bit: The key is to hit these restaurants in the “sweet spot” of their cycle of rise and fall. At any point in time Washington probably has five … Continue reading

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The Matt Yglesias take on restaurant decline

Matt writes: Imagine some diners are, by temperament, venturesome while others are regulars. Over the long term, the best business strategy is to appeal to regulars since they offer a stable client base. But when a restaurant is new, it … Continue reading

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Rice Paper

Rice Paper, web site, 6775 Wilson Blvd., Eden Center, Falls Church, VA, 703-538-3888, Eden Center, (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Washingtonian | Vim’s Palate | Don Rockwell | Yelp] The trendiest Vietnamese place around, and the one … Continue reading

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“Avoid beautiful women and popular locations”

Picking a restaurant may be an art form, but one economist is trying to apply theoretical economic principles to make the process of selecting your next meal out worthwhile. Professor Tyler Cowen suggests that diners avoid hyped-up eateries or places … Continue reading

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