This article was inspired by two different recent occurrences, and the purpose is to explain why going “bigger” is not always the best decision and how sometimes using “less” can bring a whole lot more benefits to your restaurant. I went to a local restaurant to watch my friend take on a 10lb sandwich challenge along with a partner so that I could personally get a better understanding of how massive the challenge really is for when I take the challenge in a few in a few months with one of my friends. The restaurant awards a team of two people $100 and the meal free if they can defeat the entire sandwich within 1 hour, and they will give a person $500 if he or she defeats the challenge alone with no help. While watching them take the challenge, I had a brief discussion with the manager about the challenge, and I soon realized that he was absolutely clueless. I have seen some challenges that were advertised as being 10lbs (4.54kg) but were not really a legitimate 10lbs, but this sandwich was definitely 10lbs or more. I started talking about how massive the challenge was and how it was a good team challenge, and then joked about how stupid a normal person would be for thinking they can do it alone. He then started to explain how he didn’t think the challenge was that big, and that any legitimate “professional” should be able to beat it by themselves. Needless to say, I was very stunned by his ignorance.

There are less than 10 professional eaters in the world that can beat a true 10lb challenge on a given day, and just because a person ate a 10lb burrito, that doesn’t mean that he or she can eat a 10lb burger or sandwich. I explained this to him, along with how none of those people even live around St Louis, and he seemed very surprised and doubtful. I then asked him how many people have tried it solo, and he said only a few, and that only 1 person had gotten within a few pounds (a pro from Ohio). There has not been a team that has beaten the challenge either, and my friend’s team was not the first, falling just short of completing it within the 1 hour time limit. While the manager was laughing at how they did not complete the challenge, I was laughing at how much money his restaurant was NOT making by hosting the challenge that hardly ever gets attempted or ordered.

The other instance inspiring this article was seeing a Facebook post by a restaurant near Brighton, England. A restaurant started a challenge called Brighton’s Biggest Burger Challenge which had a 50 ounce burger patty with a massive bun and a mound of fries. This challenge was actually brilliant because it got the restaurant featured in a lot of English newspapers and the Facebook post was shared hundreds of times, so it really was a great publicity stunt, but at the end of the day there is hardly anybody around Europe that has a chance at beating the actual challenge. Also, the restaurant just shared a photo with no information on it other than the actual challenge meal. Like I mentioned in Create An Advertisement To Display, for most people that saw the shared Facebook post, nobody even saw any information that actually significantly advertised the restaurant. It did lead to newspaper articles though, so that part was successful, but at the end of the day the challenge won’t bring in much actual revenue for the restaurant because nobody will be able to defeat the challenge so people will stop attempting it within a few months of starting it. Just because that sized challenge can work in a large American city, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can work in Canada, Europe, or Australia, so think about that.

When I was young and dumb playing high school football (American football), I too thought that more weight and size was better. I gained over 100lbs (46kg or 7 stones) in just 1 year, hoping that it would make me a better football player. While it did get me noticed a lot more by universities and helped me lift heavier weights in the gym, that much extra weight made me a lot slower too, and football is a game of speed & quickness. Looking back, I wish I had stopped at 60-70lbs because the final 30lbs were very unnecessary which caused me to be less productive as an athlete. This same theory goes for food challenges too. You may want to have the biggest food challenge around, but the bigger the challenge is, the less people there are that will want to take the challenge. People can talk about your challenge all day and night, but unless people are actually buying it, you are not making any money. While you are boasting about having the biggest burrito challenge in the country, that restaurant owner that you created your challenge larger than may be boasting about his bank account because their challenge gets attempted five times more often than yours. We know the winner of that battle!!

If you have a challenge that is too big and does not get many attempts, consider either getting a 2nd smaller challenge or just stopping your current challenge and creating something smaller that more people will want to attempt. I have watched many small restaurants with extra large challenges shut down, and I don’t want you to be the next, so remember that a bigger outrageous challenge may get you noticed more, but it won’t necessarily translate into you making more money. Bigger is not always better, and sometimes less is definitely more!!

To go back and view other Improving A Challenge articles, click here.