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You, dear shoppers, are terrible at math.

12 Jul

This is fascinating: an article came out in The Atlantic recently that talks about how we make decisions while shopping. As it turns out, we aren’t very savvy. We may think we’re getting a deal, but since we don’t really know how much something should cost, or because of the way the store layout is designed, we often buy something that’s too expensive just because it’s made to look cheaper. See just how ‘hopeless’ The Atlantic thinks we consumers are when it comes to math, and leave your own two cents at the bottom of the article.

Article originally published in The Atlantic; shared by LifeHacker.

How Numbers Affect Your Shopping Choices

Most of us stink at doing math on the fly. Worse, we’re easily persuaded with shifty numbers at retail stores to think we’re getting a deal. The Atlantic takes a look at the ways our brains interpret numbers and how retail stores take advantage of that.

It’s no secret that we all do a lot of stupid things while shopping, but as the Atlantic points out, it’s not always our fault. We’re just bad at interpreting numbers:

First: Consumers don’t know what the heck anything should cost, so we rely on parts of our brains that aren’t strictly quantitative. Second: Although humans spend in numbered dollars, we make decisions based on clues and half-thinking that amount to innumeracy.

The Atlantic puts together 11 examples of our bad math, and many are points most of us have heard before: we’re heavily influenced by the first number, we let emotions get in the way, and we’re obsessed with the number nine. One rather tricky method stores might use against you is all about product placement:

In his book Priceless, William Poundstone explains what happened when Williams-Sonoma added a $429 breadmaker next to their $279 model: Sales of the cheaper model doubled even though practically nobody bought the $429 machine. Lesson: If you can’t sell a product, try putting something nearly identical, but twice as expensive, next to it. It’ll make the first product look like a gotta-have-it bargain. One explanation for why this tactic works is that people like stories or justifications. Since it’s terribly hard to know the true value of things, we need narratives to explain our decisions to ourselves. Price differences give us a story and a motive: The $279 breadmaker was, like, 40 percent cheaper than the other model — we got a great deal! Good story.

We’ve seen this idea before with the compromise-price effect. The idea that you’re getting a deal, and more importantly, that you can tell people you got a deal, might be a surprising factor you can consider next time you’re out shopping. The story you brain comes up with might not be wrong (you might actually be getting a good breadmaker), but it’s worth considering.

Head over to the Atlantic for a full break down of all the ways numbers negatively influence your shopping experience. The more your know about how your brain poorly interprets these numbers, the better chance you have to counteract them when you’re out shopping.

The 11 Ways That Consumers Are Hopeless at Math | The Atlantic


How To Attract Culinary Tourists To Your Restaurant

5 Apr

In this edition of The Advice Guy, Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., associate professor of culinary arts at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY and public health at the CUNY Graduate Center, answers a question about culinary tourism. Follow the link at the bottom of the article to learn more about culinary tourism, and drop us a comment at the bottom of this page with your own thoughts on attracting tourists to your restaurant!

[See original article at]

“We are known as an ethnic neighborhood restaurant. What can I do to attract culinary tourists?”

-Liliana Ramos, Owner, Los Mariachis, Brooklyn, NY

“Culinary tourism” can mean a variety of things. Lucy Long, editor of the book Culinary Tourism gives examples ranging from going on a food and wine tour of a region, to sampling a cuisine from far away in a local restaurant, to structuring a vacation around a cooking class.  What these experiences have in common is a quest for an authentic interaction with another culture through food, a unique and memorable experience.

Long suggests several ways of presenting the restaurant experience in ways that will “stir curiosity and attract customers.  First, if the food is a type that is unfamiliar to the targeted clientele, it needs to be presented as both edible and palatable.  That can be done by using several strategies: framing it as tasty food; describing it in a tasty way; juxtaposing it with familiar foods; explaining what it is; changing ingredients to be more familiar to those customers. These strategies help customers feel ‘safe’ trying new foods. Also, though, if the food is a type that’s already familiar, it can be ‘exoticized’ in similar ways—explaining or describing the history behind it, its meanings and uses within its own culture; [and] presenting it in an artistic way.”

Often culinary tourists just “discover” your place—someone happens upon you, has a phenomenal experience, and blogs, tweets, posts, and just plain talks about their experience. That’s great!

Even if that discovery does not happen naturally, you can plant the seeds for culinary tourists to find you and fall in love with your restaurant:

  • Go online. Culinary tourists hang out on the web sharing their finds and debating the virtues of one another’s favorites. Try forums on, and local sites like Let readers know about you and encourage your regulars to post reviews.
  • Emphasize a high margin signature item. Culinary tourists often focus on finding “the best” example of a favorite food.  Promote positive reviews of a signature item and highlight it on the menu. A trek in search of “the best taco ever” may resonatewith culinary tourists more than a trip to a good Mexican restaurant.
  • Market to tour operators and partner with competitors. In terms of formal culinary tourism, hold a tasting for tour guides and collaborate with other operations to form ready-to-market experiences like a dine around, crawl, or series of short talks and tastings.

More on culinary tourism here.

Eddie Eats Out – And So Can You.

12 Jan
Hello, readers!
Today we’ve chosen a selection of reviews from a charming website called Eddie Eats Out“The only Restaurant Review Site for Dogs.” The writer of the blog takes her dog with her to local New York City restaurants, grabs pics with the staff, and writes reviews about the food and environment. We love the tone and humor, and we’ve posted a selection of reviews below – been to any of these places? We’d love to hear about your experience!
Bonus tip: If you haven’t tried something creative for your restaurant, and are planning ahead for the warmer months, consider a program similar to the one this writer recently sponsored on her Facebook page, called “Dog Restaurant Week.” Take a look at the posts and pics – it really got a ton of different communities involved, and even received coverage from the Huffington Post! Pets are a great way to encourage business, and with social media so accessible, advertising and networking is easier than ever. Eddie Eats Out also has a twitter account set up for the site and used a #hashtag -#drw2010 – to get everyone organized during the Dog Restaurant Week event. A good example of creative thinking, catering to what interests your customers, and making it happen using social media.
Enjoy the reviews!
-The DineLocal-USA Team

Dog friendly restaurant
New York, NY
509 E 5th St
Water Bowl

I got to go inside because it was chilly out. This bar kind of a dive, but the bartender was great and a dog lover. The service was fast and the drinks were cheap. The bartender gave me a chicken strip doggy treat and a real water bowl! As a dog, I got served before my human friends, which is the way it should be. I also got lots of pets from the staff. My mommy said that the bathrooms were nice and clean despite the fact that the bar was a little dirty.

B Side
New York, NY
204 Ave B
(212) 475-4600
Water Bowl

This is a little dive-ish but not too dirty. It is a sports bar with TVs to watch the game. I was allowed inside the bar, as there is no kitchen.

Customers are allowed to bring in outside food (we brought in pizza). I loved the atmosphere here because I got lots of attention! As the only dog at the bar, people were taking turns spending time with me and giving me tidbits of food… (I got French fries and a bite of a burger. YUM) I made lots of new human friends at B Side and I can’t wait to go again!!

La Bottega – The Maritime Hotel
New York, NY
88 9th Avenue
(212) 243 8400
Water Bowl

Mommy and I went to La Bottega, which is the Italian restaurant at the Maritime Hotel. There is lots of outdoor seating, some of which is covered, so it’s great for a hot day when you don’t want to sit in the sun! On that day, it was really hot out, so we got drinks first. I got a ceramic yellow water bowl…. and they even put ice in it! Mommy had a cocktail, and she said it was really good.

The waiter came over several times to check on how I was doing. I was having a great time because I got to meet lots of other dogs. We finally decided to order a Margherita pizza. It was so yummy! I kept begging for more

Regional Thai
New York, NY
208 7th Ave
Water Bowl

The other day we went for Thai food in Chelsea. We ate outside, and the waiter immediately gave me a bowl of water in a take-out plastic container. They even put ice in it. The guy at the table next to me let me have some of his calamari…. I had never had calamari before, but I loved it.

My sister had Regional Thai Ginger Chicken…. She thought it was great, but a little spicy for me.

Overall I really had fun at this restaurant, and was glad I was able to try some new food.