OK, so I was being a brat, but the server laughed with me. If she was really thinking, “What an ass,” fair enough.
Some marketing observations:
1. When it comes to dreams of riches, few people let silly things like probability and chance get in the way. That’s why sweepstakes work and casinos make money. The free dessert prize will draw fewer numbers than the average grandiose sweepstakes prize, but in terms of economics (restaurant margins being slim), I suspect it works out about right.
2. In order to avoid an illegal gambling charge, sweepstakes cannot require you to make a purchase in order to participate. The restaurant’s tactic seems to exploit a loophole. You are, after all, invited to participate only after you’ve bought and paid for your lunch.
3. You have to wonder if customers who take the restaurant’s survey are representative. Callers may skew towards: people who really like dessert; greedy people looking for something for nothing who enter everything; angry people who want to vent (usually more motivated to call than happy and neutral people); and bored people with nothing better to do.
4. The most productive incentive offers reward every purchaser. For that reason (and because sweepstakes entail a legal morass), we steer direct response clients away from contests and toward a free gift* for every purchaser instead. (*Yes, “free gift.” I know it’s redundant. I use it because it sells more than, simply, “gift.” Apologies to your inner grammarian.)