Sunday, February 6, 2011

Burrito Collusion

BTB (formerly Big Ten Burrito) has an empire in Ann Arbor. There's the location on South State Street, just by Packard; the Cantina, on South University; Good Time Charley's, which has some of the highest revenues in town; and the Alley Bar, the latest townie hipster hangout. Combined with the BTB Party Bus, which is basically a cheap livery cab that runs on recycled oil, the tentacles of the burrito oligarchs have stretched throughout town.

This worries me. Has this municipality not heard of vertical integration? This classic concept from microeconomics describes how a firm can control all aspects of its supply chain, thus allowing it to increase efficiency and, possibly, gain a majority of the market (this is a gross simplification, so econ majors: don't harangue me). And that could lead to higher prices for consumers, lowered rates of innovation, and economic inefficiencies: the makings of a classic antitrust violation.

I encourage all of us to be wary of BTB's plots. If they start instituting an exclusive Party Bus shuttle between Alley Bar and the Cantina, we'll know what's really going on. Constant vigilance, friends!


  1. What?!? I may be drunk, but this still doesn't make any sense to me...

  2. Actually, DOJ and the FTC handle most of the antitrust cases within the U.S.