Spin the wheel! Win a prize!

[caption id=”attachment_143” align=”aligncenter” width=”410” caption=”wheel of fortune”]wheel of fortune[/caption]

The beautiful wheel of fortune was installed on the cart two weeks ago and I’ve been putting it to use ever since. It has a chalkboard finish, so I can change the options and relative probability of each. There are approximately fifty spaces with one special half size space. Its pegs are painted red and there is always a super charged prize or woe. The chance of landing on it is about 1 in 100. These first two weeks the special space held a free slice of pie. So far I’ve given away a free slice to one lucky guy.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been using the wheel to list pie flavors. Each week, there has been a flavor that is more limited in quantity. I assign it fewer spaces so it won’t run out too soon. Once the pie flavors start running short, the game becomes less fun so I want to extend those as long as possible.

Two weeks ago, I gave customers the option to spin the wheel or, if they knew what they wanted, choose the flavor. This is an optional game. People didn’t have to spin unless they wanted to and the only real incentive was the special free space. 34% spun the wheel.

Last week, I gave them the same option to spin or choose, but this time there was a $1.00 discount if you spun the wheel. This time 50% spun.


These experiments need to be repeated to get a larger sample size, but early results are that most of the people who are spinning are doing so simply for the fun of it. Financial incentives certainly do sway the number of people who will take a chance but I expected the bump to be more than 15%.

I also tracked whether the folks who chose did so because they wanted a certain flavor or to avoid an unpleasant choice. 76% were choosing to choose instead of spin because they knew what they wanted.

Many people have suggested that I provide a bad flavor to see how that changes things. I think this is a valid point, but I don’t know exactly how to implement. What one person sees as a bad flavor (see rhubarb, gooseberry) is the next guy’s favorite. I’m mulling it over, but it is against my cooking sensibilities to make something truly awful like earwax flavor.

Follow @pieLabPDX on twitter or facebook for announcements about what games we’re playing plus mmmpie flavors. We’re located at NW 12th and Davis and are open Fridays from noon till the pies sell out

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