There's the painless way a restaurant chain can offer a free sampling of a new item. And there's the frustrating way.
For the painless way, see what Corner Bakery has done to introduce potential customers to its Bacon Tomato Mac & Cheese (read Michelle's post here). You enter some information, you pick a scheduled available time slot to pick up your mac & cheese, and that's it.
For the frustrating way, witness what Pei Wei has done to offer its “free” Sriracha Chicken to customers. You first have to “explore” a labyrinth of web pages to get to the page with the coupon link. There's “passports”, faux world maps, and what seems like more buttons to push than the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. And once you get through the thing, you realize what you've earned for all the rigmarole they put you through isn't a voucher for a free meal, but a measly buy one get one free coupon–a coupon that, by the way, you have to wait 24 hours for them to send.
The whole thing does, however, cause you to reflect on what you've just done, which is essentially sell your e-mail contact info for a BOGO coupon for a dish called Sriracha Chicken–a dish that, at its best, will taste like everything you eat already, since you douse your food in Sriracha anyway.
Ahhh… first world problems.