It’s been interesting to watch businesses enter the market during the economic recession and now as the economy begins to recover. The timing of new fast food restaurant locations has been especially intriguing. Consider, St. George, Utah, for example. In the past several months, major restaurant chains such as McDonalds, Pizza hut, and Hungry Howey’s, among others, have all expanded current stores and opened multiple new locations. According to an article written by Andrea Holecek this is no surprise and not a new development. When things started slowing down for many businesses in 2009, as Holecek writes, “burger business” industry leaders McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King all saw consistent increases in revenue. While fast food suppliers rarely refer to their products as “junk”, one might assume that the label of “inferior” might sting even more. We know, as the text defines, that demand for an inferior product “is negatively related to changes in buyer’s income” (Page 29). In other words, when money is short we look for less-expensive alternatives. The numbers don’t lie and demand for fast food has increased as average American income has decreased.
However, the two concepts – lower income and higher demand for fast food – are seemingly juxtaposed one with another. The average person would assume that, as income decreases, consumers would be reluctant to spend since discretionary income is limited. Still, fast food sales continue to grow even in our current economic state. What is it that draws us to fast food? Price is an obvious determinant, but how much can our attraction to burger joints and pizza parlors be attributed to factors such as advertising, durability, weather, and location as the text suggests?