A post at Marginal Revolution asks about the economics of barbeque. Well, I have no clue about that, but this is a great introduction to the economics of pizza.
The beautiful thing about a slice of pizza (if you are lucky enough to live in the northeast where there’s a pizza by the slice market) is that it’s a wonderful indicator of inflation. Something about pizza wonderfully merges the prices of food, commercial rent, and labor into a wonderful indicator of overall price levels.
Not so the fast food hamburger. Unlike the pizza market, which resembles a true free market with large numbers of small mom and pop suppliers, the hamburger market is dominated by a small number of large chains. Each chain tries to differentiate its hamburger from those of other chains, and prices will vary widely because often the hamburger itself will be a loss leader (with the real money being made on the fries and the soda).
Unlike the slice of pizza, the hamburger is not a fungible good.