An eating challenge contest is the combination of both a food challenge and an eating contest where 2 or more individuals or teams compete to see who can finish a specific meal or quantity of food (food and/or drink) first. There are 2 different types of eating challenge contests. The first type is usually hosted by a restaurant that already hosts a food challenge, where people and/or teams compete to see who can finish the actual food challenge first. This type of eating challenge contest is great for restaurants wanting to kickoff a brand new food challenge, regenerate interest in an existing food challenge, or even celebrate the particular diner’s or restaurant’s anniversary. The second type can be hosted by any restaurant or bar, and at any festival, fair, event, or gathering, where people and/or teams compete to see who can finish a particular amount of food first which is designated by the contest host. For example, rather than seeing who can eat the most hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes (an eating contest), the host may decide to see who can eat 10 hot dogs and buns the fastest. Challenge contests are very common when the food vendor sponsor is only able to supply a limited amount of food or if the food served has expensive food costs associated. They are also an effective way to help reduce food waste.
The “house rules” and regulations for an eating challenge contest are designated by the particular contest host, and every contestant or team begins with the exact same amount of food and/or drink. Eating challenge contests typically all have a maximum time limit too, just like regular eating contests. If there are many spectators in attendance watching the event, it is recommended to keep the time limit under 15 minutes to maintain interest and excitement. The challenge contest ends when all of the winners have finished their entire meal (challenge), or when the time limit expires. If nobody finishes the entire meal before the time expires, it is then up to the contest host to judge the winners based on either sight, quantity remaining, or the weight of the food remaining. If the contest awards prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, but only 1 person finished their challenge within the time limit, then 2nd and 3rd place should be decided based on sight, quantity remaining, or the weight of the food remaining. These contests can be very close depending on the amount of food and the talent level and stomach capacity of the eaters. Eaters must use both excellent technique and great strategy to win.
The prizes for eating challenge contests are typically very similar to the prizes awarded in standard eating contests. To go back and review the definition of an eating contest, click here. Entrance fees are more common for eating challenge contests than standard eating contests because contestants are guaranteed to receive a certain amount of food, and are almost always welcome to bring home the remaining leftovers. If there is an entrance fee though, there is usually always a prize for winning that makes it worth competing. A majority of the time though, the entrance fees don’t actually go towards paying for the food or prizes, and they go towards supporting a particular charity organization that the event is sponsoring. If the restaurant tries to make money through entrance fees while awarding a small prize, the event is typically not successful or well attended.
These are typically less promoted with a smaller crowd consisting mostly of the eaters’ family and friends, but sometimes restaurants like to host an event where many eaters all get together and attempt to defeat the restaurant’s food challenge at the same time. The time limit and “house rules” are the same as the standard food challenge, and everyone begins at the same time. Sometimes, eaters themselves get a group of friends together to all go and attempt a restaurant’s food challenge. The prizes for these smaller events are typically the same as the regular food challenge prizes for the winners, and the cost of the challenge is usually the same for the losers. Rarely, the restaurant owner may choose to award an extra prize for the champion of the group.
To go back and view other Food Challenges 101 articles, click here.