A pair (TRIO!) of market-driven beer and burger joints

I think it must be the zeitgeist of our times—with the recession, Wall St. scandals, the Occupy movement and the 99%/1% tension—that this idea seems to be cropping up simultaneously in multiple cities.  In Washington D.C. we have

The Big Board, a new beer-and-burger concept where beer prices fluctuate in real time based on demand.

This long, narrow room—glass on one side, brick and a granite bar on the other—has only 44 seats, but you’ll want to assemble a group to occupy as many of them as possible. Or, if you have similar tastes, make friends and enlist the people next to you. That’s because a large monitor on the wall will display the current beer prices, and based on an algorithm written by the owner (a former naval officer aboard a nuclear sub), the more you order of one kind, the more the price creeps down.

And from the Freakonomics blog:

Reader Thomas Barker writes in about a bar called D Street in Encinitas, Calif., that prices its drinks based on demand:

I was recently at a bar for 25-cent wing night that I had not gone to in a while, and saw something I thought you guys would be interested in. It was a drink price index ticker and they had them on TV’s all over the bar. It seemed that if a drink wasn’t ordered in a 15-minute time span the drink would go down a few cents. When we showed up my friend had his eye on an irish car bomb which was over $5 at the time, in the hour or so we were there it went down to his target range of about $3.75. As soon as his was ordered it jumped back up over $4.

I had a few thoughts on this idea:

  • First if you buy a round for your friends and want the same round twice, the second round will be significantly higher which has got to lead to some weird situations when the check comes.
  • Second, this is a good incentive for going in when it is slow because drinks will be considerably lower and vice versa for when it is busy.

I want to know if I can buy a series of call options on my future rounds of Guinness to protect against a mob of Irishmen coming into the bar and sending the per pint cost of Guinness through the roof?

EDIT: And we have a third one, here in New York: the Exchange Bar & Grill on 21st and 3rd:

Exchange is New York’s first and only fully automated real time drink market, where the prices for your favorite drinks fluctuate depending on supply and demand! Watch a while when no one is ordering your favorite drink snag it when the cost falls to unbelievable lows—or use your leverage to jack up the price of any cocktail, drink, or shot for the whole bar. Or wait. . . and with a little insider information. . . catch the Market Crash when every drink in the bar hits rock bottom (all beers for $2, all drinks $3, and even top shelf for $4)

Thanks Barbara!

___________________

From urbandaddy.com and freakonomics.com

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