What lobster rolls tell us about the labor market
On a hot August day, the lobster roll place across from the Axios office beckons temptingly.
State of play: Reader, I caved. Doing so cost me $43.74, for a six-ounce sandwich, after tax and tip.
Why it matters: Lobster prices are down this year, but lobster roll prices? Not so much. Instead, they increasingly seem to be generated by a random number machine.
By the numbers: The benchmark lobster roll from The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Maine, is $29.95 this season.
- At Nick's Lobster House in Brooklyn, the classic lobster roll is $22.
- In the Hamptons, prices range from $29 to $45.
- Manhatta, 60 stories above Lower Manhattan, sells a lobster roll with tarragon beurre blanc for $26.
- At the Grand Central Oyster Bar, the lobster roll is $38.95, with slaw and fries included.
- At Claws in West Sayville, New York, the standard roll is $29.95, but there are also options for a "double roll" for $57.95 or even a "triple roll" — "just obnoxious," per the menu — at $85.95.
The bottom line: When it comes to lobster rolls, there's no correlation between price and quality. But one thing is constant: Extracting lobster meat out of lobsters has never been easy.
- As a result, when labor costs go up, so do lobster roll prices.