Almost every restaurant does take-out these days. Funny thing is, they usually charge as much for take-out as they do for dine-in. How is that possible? Dine-in requires servers and a lot more real estate. Shouldn’t it be cheaper? As it stands, the only thing you save by doing take-out is the tip.

Do you think that take-out is cross-subsidizing dine-in? Then why don’t people open restaurants that only do take-out? Or to be more precise, since there are lots of low-quality places that only do take-out, why don’t people open high-end restaurants without a dine-in option? As far as I can tell, such restaurants are virtually non-existent.

I talked this over with Tyler Cowen and Ilia Rainer over lunch. I think we’ve got a good answer. But first, please tell me: What’s yours?