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An Economist Gets Lunch

written by Matthew Rensberry, MD MBA on 2022-03-03

I just finished the book, An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies by Tyler Cowen. I really enjoyed reading this book as learning to apply economic principles to the idea of finding good food was a welcomed practical application of economics.

The author begins with a starting framework to identify where quality food comes from using an economist idea of a Production Function:

Raw Ingredients (Fish or Fruit) + Capital + Labor + Land -> Output (Food)

Similarly, he notes that should you want to save money on quality food - you should not hang out in the place you consume it. A location with a great view or decor must cover their higher overhead costs somehow, and usually charge more for their drinks. Drinks become their main profit generator and will subsidize the location rent.

"You won't usually find food bargains and beautiful views in the same place."

Principles for selecting a place to eat on the road:

Remember, for quality food, look for a place with:

Pure local ingredients + Experienced craftsmanship + desire to serve regular informed customers