Probably Not the Way to Run a Restaurant

I happened to be driving by an A&W restaurant the other day. I also happened to be thirsty. So I stopped in to order a frosty mug of root beer.

"We're out of root beer," the worker told me.

Tyler Cowen on Pay as You Wish Restaurants

Cowen thinks they're a bad idea.

Is the Senior Slam Smart?

Denny's breakfast menu in Provo, Utah, offers something that combines demand-based and cost-based price discrimination, but it's neither.

The "French toast slam" is two pieces of toast and two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausages for $6.99. The "senior French toast slam" is one piece of toast and one egg, and two strips of bacon or two sausages for $5.49, and you must be at least 55 years old to buy this.

From a London Bathroom Wall, A Lesson in Complementaries

Am on holiday with the family in London. Pure joy — although my 6-year-old daughter, who’d recently heard that black pepper can force a sneeze, took a handful and somehow mashed it into her eye instead; tears ensued; but it was nothing a trip to Hamleys couldn’t cure. At a very delicious Italian restaurant called […]

The Weirdest Cookbook You Will Ever Need

Shopsin’s is a New York institution, a restaurant that began as a grocery store whose owner, Kenny Shopsin, is colorful, irascible, and talented. It is famous for breakfast but also for its vast, unusual, common-sense menu. From Shopsin has just written a book that is half cookbook and half memoir, entirely fascinating. I had […]

Adventures in Menu-Reading

There’s a restaurant I like called Le Pain Quotidien, a Belgian chain with good (and health-conscious) food, known for its baked goods, strong coffee, and rustic wooden decor that includes one large communal table. It isn’t inexpensive, but it’s the kind of place that doesn’t mind if you camp out for a while and play […]

This Year’s Business Model: Restaurants Without Food

You may have read earlier stories on this blog about a pay-what-you-wish bakery in Canada, a pay-what-you-wish coffee shop in Washington state, and pay-what-you-wish granola at a Miami supermarket. Here’s another pay-what-you-wish eating story, but in this case, you have to bring your own food. That’s right. On King Island in Tasmania, Australia, there’s an […]

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Care About Convenience?

For a number of years I’ve been impressed with the wireless credit-card machines with which many European restaurants equip their wait-staff. This substitution saves workers time (and also that of their customers). This technology is now adopted more widely in the U.S. But on this trip I’ve noticed yet another innovation. In several restaurants wait-staff […]

Do Restaurants Blacklist Low-Spending Customers?

I’ve been reading and enjoying Super Crunchers, the new book by Ian Ayres that we excerpted earlier on the blog. One section of the book deals with the data that firms gather on their customers, and how the firms can use that data to address customer habits: Hertz, after analyzing terabytes of sales data, knows […]

How the Crack Dealer Became a Chef

Have you ever heard of Chef Jeff Henderson? Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t either. That’s when our publicist mentioned him and his new book. (We have the same publisher.) Jeff grew up in L.A. and San Diego, became a big-time crack dealer, and was sentenced to a long term in prison, where he […]