Comments on: Restaurant histograms of the day http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: loopguy http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31776 Thu, 13 Oct 2011 13:53:21 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31776 Median. Go with the median.

If you’re looking at wealth, for example, the mean tells you the wealth of the pocket the typical dollar lives in. The median tells you the assets of the typical person.

Look, there _is_ a lot of variance in restaurant bills. But if you want to _compare_ locations, and do so from the point of view of the “typical” visitor (and I know the typical visitor is going to vary from one location to another), you’re still best off with the median.

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By: GingerYellow http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31771 Thu, 13 Oct 2011 09:22:43 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31771 Seems like an awful lot of not very productive analysis when you could have just taken photos of their menus and we could see what they actually cost.

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By: Auros http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31768 Thu, 13 Oct 2011 05:32:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31768 As other have said, with no way to determine the size of the party for each check, this is junk data. Maybe the place that gets lots of $3,000 checks, gets those checks when it hosts birthday bashes with fifty people taking up the whole dining room, or whatever.

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By: samadamsthedog http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31766 Thu, 13 Oct 2011 00:11:31 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31766 Seems to me that you don’t dwell on the most important confounding factor: how many people are eating on each charge. Yes, you mention it and acknowledge it, but in the end, if you don’t know this, you cannot say much of anything. And this explains, better than anything else, why you cannot say much of anything. Why are you surprised?

Modes? Medians? Means? Chi-squared vs. power-law? All ridiculous to consider in view of the fact that what you are trying to determine — some notion of how much it costs *per person* to eat, say, dinner at one of these joints — is simply not possible to determine without knowing the number of diners that goes along with each check.

You cannot even say, except for your personal experience dining in some of these places where you doknow how many people were paid for, whether the mean at Megu is explained by the Zagat number together with the hypothesis that on average, people eat in pairs — or a bit more. Maybe each couple brings a baby?

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By: spectre855 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31756 Wed, 12 Oct 2011 19:24:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31756 These charts are all pretty conclusive to me. They all say one thing. And that is that I shouldn’t eat at any of these restaurants.

Articles like this are great cases in point of the whole 99% to 1% concept.

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By: JamusLim http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31753 Wed, 12 Oct 2011 18:21:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31753 One factor to keep in mind for many of these restaurants—even those that do not have an active bar scene—is that small charges may in fact reflect the cost of drinks purchased at the bar while waiting for the table, but not transferred to the actual table check. Whether this occurs in the restaurants you listed is an empirical question, but I’ve been to enough restaurants—even fairly nice ones—that force you to close out of your bar tab incurred while waiting for the table. The bottom line is that I am inclines to discount (somewhat) the data on the lower tail of the distribution as not representative of an actual meal. It may also explain why the distribution is more like a chi-squared (k > 2), rather than a power distribution (which one may expect ex ante).

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By: MitchW http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31752 Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:55:03 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31752 “This is a slight apples-to-oranges comparison…” seems like quite an understatement. Per check would most likely include and average of 2+ diners, and would also include things like bottles of wine and multiple drinks.

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By: TFF http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/12/restaurant-histograms-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-31748 Wed, 12 Oct 2011 17:29:53 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=10473#comment-31748 Wow — could feed a family for a week for the cost of the least of these places!

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