Every large town supports a large number of restaurants. There might be one furniture store and fewer than ten grocery stores, but there will be multiple dozens of places where you can buy prepared food to eat either there or somewhere else.
I’m not interested in why this is the case. I know why it’s the case: The restaurant market is finely segregated in two directions, cost and style, enabling Taco Bell to not only co-exist with McDonald’s (style segregation) but with El Cazador or whatever your middle-cost sit-down Mexican place is called (cost segregation). This creates a matrix effect where each individual slot in the matrix seems to provide a fairly stable niche for a restaurant.
And it’s just bleeding obvious. You know, within five seconds, precisely where in that matrix a restaurant fits. In fact, different regions can have different versions of the same restaurant, where ‘same restaurant’ means ‘occupies precisely the same spot in the matrix’; for example, Shoney’s, Perkins, and the late 4B’s all occupied the same spot – low-middle-price American – and coexisted solely through not invading each others’ territories.
Are there any other industries where this is on display as obviously? I can’t think of any with this kind of full two-dimensional segregation. (Also, am I full of shit on this?)