Re: Free Re-fills

2000-07-09 Thread Bernard Girard

We have in Europe things that look like free-re-fills. In some French
restaurants (but it's probably true in other european countries) you
have "buffets" : you choose what you eat on a table and you eat as much
as you wish. It's a good deal for the restaurant owner : more food eaten
(but not much more) and less work in the kitchen and in the diner room :
to choose the food you have to walk to the buffet and do the job of the

Bryan Caplan a *crit :

 Related question: Why no free re-fills in Europe?
   Prof. Bryan Caplan   [EMAIL PROTECTED]

   "Is there anything more distinctly understood by all men, than
what it is to see, to hear, to remember, to judge?  Yet it is
the most difficult thing in the world to define these
operations according to the rules of logical definition.  But
it is not more difficult than it is useless.  Sometimes
philosophers attempt to define them; but, if we examine their
definitions, we shall find that they amount to no more than
giving one synonymous word for another, and commonly a worse
for a better."
   --Thomas Reid, *Essays on the Active Powers of Man*

Re: Free Re-fills

2000-07-09 Thread Alex Tabarrok

Rather than an elasticity explanation I would suggest a two part
tarriff.  The initial charge grabs the consumer surplus, MC is close to
zero for soft drinks (mostly water) so p=MC is optimal.  Fabio's real
question, however, is why do some restaurants choose one policy and
others another.  This is hard to say.  Two part tarrifs work well when
customer demands are similar.  Thus, restaurants which serve a
specialized clientiele, serve only one type of meal etc. should offer
free refills.  Can this help to explain a related puzzle?  Although we
often think of free refills at all you can eat or family type
restaurants, just about every *fine* dining establishment I know offers
free refills on coffee, while McDonalds and Burger King don't offer free
refills on anything.