Imagine that a restaurant wants to ask its associates (cooks, servers, etc.) what are the best two menu items to put on its menu as specials on a particular night. They have a large set of possible menu items to consider, the measure of success is menu item sales revenue, and they want a mechanism that is both fun and easy. (Which rules out conditional prediction markets, at least for now.)
Ohh, that's a good point (about signaling their importance by the fact that others follow them). I wonder if part of the difficulty in getting prediction markets up off the ground is that it doesn't have the same kind of nice fit with informal structures of admiration and status the way you have pointed out that this method does.
Placing misleading bets then changing them at the last minute is also an issue in pari-mutuels, but in a busy restaurant I'm pretty sure associates won't have much time for that.
In many analogous situations, people often choose first in order to signal their status by the fact that others copy their choices.
That's interesting. But I do worry that if you divide the prize by those who choose it there might be some incentive to either keep your guess secret or even mislead about it before the last minute.
But I suspect we could tweak the rules slightly to create better performance.
Yes, it's a really interesting idea and may work somewhere but reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential helps people understand the incentives around fish specials better.
Ah, but no restaurant will ever, ever do that.
Specials are not, typically, "something off the menu we want to push tonight randomly".
It's either something seasonal (a holiday theme, or a seasonal ingredient or tie-in) to attract that attention, or something they have too much of and want to use before it goes off, so they make it a special.
(Exception: Small local joints where the special is just a normal menu item at a discount, sometimes.
But they still won't do a contest to pick.)
Don’t ask me why, but APMR (Always Pick Middle Right) generally performs well in settings like this. Let’s see how it did here (examines each dish closely): Yep, that’s the one.