Column: Eating in restaurants should be more expensive

okay who’s BYOAing?

“I get customers that bring their own avocados. They bring their own avocados

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I wonder if a year of people getting used to paying increased prices on the apps will make this more possible?

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Thanks for that article. Really interesting. As with most things, it’s a societal/economics issue as much as specific restaurant or even industry wide practices.

For example, the article also doesn’t mention credit card processing fees. Taken for granted, but it’s absurd they can shave 2-3% off the top. Another example, like chicken processing, of middlemen siphoning off.

And to pick up one thread, though I quite like Alimento, his policy, however well intentioned, was a prime example of what not to do. Leaving the customer to determine (via tip) front vs back of house compensation was anxiety inducing and absurd. As a diner, I have no idea what each makes and how to balance that out with my tip.

Overall, though I’d guess the author would bristle at this or claim a misreading, it comes pretty close to blaming individual consumers (who are unwilling to pay more) with what are largely societal level and regulatory issues.

What a bunch of drivel. It is just restaurant owners complaining that they don’t make enough money. If you feel that’s the case, find a new career. Nobody forced you to open a restaurant. Consumers have no duty to pay more for your food.

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Are these vendors supposed to perform services for free?

Lol cmon you know that’s not the argument. And why assume it’s a properly functioning market? Many countries have payment processing structure that favors small business, not financial capital.

It’s a monopolized segment of our economy that should be better regulated. Not arguing it should be zero but cmon.

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Restaurants can always just take cash. 0% fee.

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If it were possible to offer these services for less, wouldn’t market forces drive these fees down?
(I don’t want to cloud the conversation, but the same question applies to delivery service provider fees.)

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This will probably get political really quick, so apologies for bringing that to a food focused board (though I know there’s a lot of overlap).

Markets aren’t always efficient, specifically monopolized markets, and markets get dominated by a few players who crowd out competition and raise prices (payday lending for example). These services, interchange and processing fees, are offered for less, significantly less, in other countries. Interchange fees are controlled by a few big players. There aren’t really market forces that can move them, unless BTC is walking through that door.

I’m not saying that there’s a free lunch. Obviously there’s a cost to any service. But right now we have big banks and cc companies leeching from small businesses (restaurants) that we all, everyone on this board, hope will succeed in an incredible difficult environment.

And I do appreciate the reply. Thanks for engaging!

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Thank you for your response. My question was a genuine one.

I was not aware that credit card processing was significantly cheaper in other countries and I would be interested to see if the services provided are apples-to-apples.

There is SERIOUS competition in the credit card processing (merchant services) space. First Data, Worldpay, Chase Paymentech, etc. are duking it out each day to earn the business of merchants. I don’t see a clear monopoly issue.

Even so, if there is a problem with monopolies or unfair price setting, my first instinct would be to go after those root problems rather than plug a leak (i.e. credit processing fees) with regulations.

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Definitely! I appreciate the genuine back and forth.

And I’m not a think tank level expert on this, so forgive me, but my understanding is that companies like First Data etc still have to pay interchange fees to Payment Card Networks (Mastercard, Visa, Amex, WF etc), so these fees are still there whether there’s an overlay of First Data, Square etc.

Check out the 4th bullet in this article.

And in 2015, the EU capped these interchange fees.

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Lol you can miss me with the trolling. Totally unnecessary.

I didn’t realize there are so many anti small business folks on this board.

Restaurants: these cc payment processors are leeches. Fuck these fees.

Also restaurants:

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Ah, yes. That is also my understanding. and a good point.

I am definitely pro small business.
I am just trying to maintain a realistic perspective.

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Thanks again (wasn’t referring to you), and I’m learning something too. Definitely gonna think more about this and would love if there was a competitive solution that wasn’t regulation, as regulation/overregulation has unintended consequences.

Appreciate you engaging with the argument, whether or not you agree, as opposed to some of the less good faith responses.

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Not anti small business, anti rent-seekers

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Glad you’re engaging with the argument. And apologies if I misread, but don’t know why you needed to be so glib. The comment you choose to quote was directly about rent seeking.

And cc fees are rent.

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There’s nothing inherently problematic about regulations. The free market would never have made the food supply safe or gotten tetraethyl lead out of the air. American opposition to regulations is driven less by it being difficult or expensive to follow them than by the profits to be made by ignoring, easing, or abolishing them.

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Agreed.

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Yep. The biggest challenge, IMO, is developing those regulations while considering input from all affected parties and, especially, having all of the parties understand and appreciate where the other sides’ perspectives and concerns are (understanding the need for balance and give-and-take seem to be a mystery to some people). I’ve observed the process for making changes to the Code of Federal Regulations and have seen why it can take a decade to make any significant code changes.

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