Wednesday, July 09, 2003

the new restaurant opening downtown: should they use black ribbon at the ribbon-cutting?

Look, I can blog from home as well. I'm unstoppable, at least until I get bored.

I've been reading Colin Camerer's Behavioral Game Theory, a book about which much could be said (and much of that much would be positive). In the middle, he writes, parenthetically: "(For example, about 80% of new restaurants fail within a year.)" Page 368, no citation, a fact that has just fallen out of the sky. It seems like I've seen variations on this statistic ever since I was a child. Camerer is a business economist, so maybe this does eminate out of a series of regular studies that are done and reported by restaurant-focused economists.

Still, I wonder if this number is really legit, or if it is like the idea that we only use 10% of our brains, a numerical urban legend. It is certainly not in line with my mental subjective probability when I see a new restaurant opening--I don't think, "4-1 odds it won't be hear in a year," or, at least, not unless I think the restaurant is based on some spectacularly doomed premise. Or, at the end of the year, I don't look back and review the wasteland of failed restaurants for that year and toast the lucky survivors.

If this fact really does have a basis in, well, fact, are restaurants that are part of franchises supposed to count toward this total? I would think that they must not, because I'm sure that franchises don't open with the idea that there is only a one in five chance they'll still be going in a year.

But, anyway, where does this number come from? How old is it? What is it based on? Is this too much to ask in a humble and nascent weblog?

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