How do you choose restaurant when you visit unfamiliar town? By searching on the internet? By asking others? Or by browsing the town?
In Japan, food sample is pretty common among cafe and restaurant. It plays an important role as advertisement.
Food sample was made as a way of advertising on Taisho era. We could know menu and price at a glance. Moreover, it does not become rotten.
By the way, do you know there is package that you could make food sample easily. All parts is packaged and it is easy to start making.