The McRib’s unique aspects and impermanence, many of us believe, make it seem a likely candidate for being a sort of arbitrage strategy on McDonald’s part. Calling a fast food sandwich an arbitrage strategy is perhaps a bit of a reach – but consider how massive the chain’s market influence is, and it becomes a bit more reasonable.
I really like the kind of thinking Willy Staley puts into his piece A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage. 1 The idea the core business of McDonalds is not, in fact, food is wonderfully subversive. And reminds me of a great Planet Money podcast How money got weird, in which Satyajit Das explained how, among other things, an airline company made all its money speculating on oil futures.
And thanks Sam for the pointer. ↩