It always makes me laugh when restaurant owners get really happy about people losing their challenge, and it’s just as funny when owners get upset or rude when a person wins their challenge. They are simply too small-minded to know that “eaters” can be their restaurant’s best promoters if they treat the eaters well. People are much more likely to accept the opinion of an “eater” because its understood that he or she loves food. If you treat eaters (people that are into doing food challenges) well, they will definitely refer other people to your restaurant both by word of mouth and online. Just like people into fitness who always post about working out and eating healthy, eaters post about food that they make and food that they get at restaurants. Even if your food isn’t that good, the reviews about your restaurant from an eater will still be great because he or she was treated well. Eaters and foodies are known to be very happy and genuine people, whom you want on your side.

The best example of this involves 2 different burger restaurants in Omaha, Nebraska. I was treated excellent by one restaurant and they even provided me and my friends with a few Heineken beers after my challenge. My experience at the other competitor’s restaurant down the street was very different, and definitely nothing to brag about. A year later after winning both challenges, I moved up to the Omaha area for a temporary job, and we ended up living within 3 miles of both restaurants. There were about 35 people on the team, and since everyone knew I was a professional eater they were always asking me where they should go for food. I always recommended the burger restaurant where I was treated well, and I even went there a few times for normal food. Not once did I ever recommend the other burger restaurant which was the closer of the two, and I didn’t go there either. It was great hearing from a different guy almost every day how he had just gotten back from eating there or ate there the day before. I was happy that the restaurant was getting the extra business because restaurants with great customer service should get more business, especially if the food is good and reasonably priced.

There are some times that I drive over an hour just to eat at a restaurant and take their challenge, and I know that I am not the only person that does that. I also know that the number of people that do food challenges and travel like me is going to really start to grow. We aren’t looking for extra special treatment or a red carpet to walk in on, but just know that a simple “thank you” goes a very long way. You may have to give out a free meal if an eater wins your challenge, but don’t think that your relationship with that eater will end there. People will ask him or her where they should go to eat, and he won’t remember which challenge was the most delicious. He will remember how he was treated during and after each challenge. If you treated him well and are in the vicinity, your restaurant will be getting a referral. This is just a simple rule of customer service that applies to all people, but if “eaters” don’t matter to you and your restaurant, then you and your restaurant don’t matter to us competitive eaters either, and there are many other places for us to go that actually deserve our business.

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