More Women in the (Restaurant) Kitchen

Women have been top chefs for awhile. We just don’t hear about them. Louis XV awarded the “cordon bleu” to a female chef. Legend has it that, refusing to have a woman cook for him, his mistress asked the King…

Does Your Barista Do a Repeatable Routine?

Starbucks calls it “transactions per hour” but from our perspective, it’s waiting in line. Researchers say that it takes only 3 minutes in a queue for us to become impatient. Hoping to show their shorter line time and higher sales,…

All You Ever Need to Know About Amazon’s Customer Reviews

Yesterday, I “met” Michael in a Planet Money podcast. Ranked #1 as an Amazon product reviewer, Michael Erb has already introduced himself to millions of us. M. Erb is Amazon’s #1 Hall of Fame reviewer and a Vine Voice (we…

Monopolistic Competition: Weather Analytics

Research indicates that there is an inverse relationship between the quantity of frozen yogurt New Yorkers demand and wind speed. The higher the wind, the less yogurt they want. By contrast, they buy significantly more frozen yogurt on hot and…

Monopolistic Competition: Locating Starbucks

To understand why there can be a Starbucks on every block, we have to start with a can of Maxwell House Coffee. From a 3.1 cup-a-day peak in 1961, US coffee consumption slid downward through the 1980s. It makes sense.…

Monopolistic Competition: Marijuana Markets

As marijuana becomes increasingly legal, what kind of a market do we want? At the moment, Colorado and Washington permit the production, sale and consumption of recreational marijuana and 18 states say the sale of marijuana for medical use is…

Monopolistic Competition: Cupcakes

The year was 2009, the GDP was sinking and unemployment soared to 10.1%. And yet, cupcakeries were proliferating. Why? And why now, with the economy far healthier and the consumer far happier, are gourmet cupcake sales down? Let’s start in…

The Tragedy of the Commons: Improving Your Reputation

A small group of New Jersey winemakers has a problem. No one knows that they blend a gourmet product. After all, say, “New Jersey” and no one thinks vineyard. Most New Jersey wine, with strong hints of blueberries, raspberries or…

Gender Issues: Sexism Sells

By Lilli DeBode, guest blogger, senior at Kent Place School Basically everyone saw this commercial. And if you didn’t see it, consider yourself lucky. You were one of the few who were spared the experience of uncomfortably squirming around your…

Competition: How Do Cups Affect Our Taste?

I don’t quite understand why Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks use white cups. Sensory researchers have concluded that the color of the cup affects our taste perception. When 57 participants were asked to rate hot chocolate on several sensory scales, their…