Since the purpose of a food challenge is to help promote your restaurant and get new customers in the door to try out your restaurant, you should always be thinking about marketing whenever you are making decisions regarding your challenge. Hopefully you have read Marketing: The Purpose Of A Food Challenge which explains all of the qualities that food challenges can have which will help your restaurant’s marketing campaign throughout your community of potential customers. Since marketing is the main purpose of having the food challenge, you need to be thinking of marketing from the very beginning during the entire design process. Marketing does not start when you announce the challenge to the public. Remember the famous quote “Begin with the end in mind.” Thinking about how you will be promoting the challenge when deciding on each of the 8 steps to creating a food challenge will make life so much easier for you after the design process is finished.

There are many combinations of ways to put together a food challenge so that it is “eye-catching” and easy to remember. If something is crisp and easy to understand, it is much more attractive to people when they see or hear about it because it shows that you put a lot of thought into everything so that they don’t have to. Having a particular theme that unites all of your challenge details can also lead to a pretty awesome advertisement image after all of the details are established and you are ready to announce everything to the public. The better the advertisement image, the more likely your social media followers will be to get excited about it and also share it with their friends and family. Here are a few great themes to consider using during the design phase that will make your marketing easier and much more attractive later on after all of the details are finalized:

Keep all of the details uniform – Some restaurants try to keep all of the major details very similar so that the challenge is easier to remember. For example, I once took on a burger challenge at a restaurant which was named “The 32 Challenge.” Challengers had 32 minutes to finish 32oz beef, 32oz fries, and a 32oz drink. Because everything was the same, they definitely did not have many people asking how long they had or how big the challenge was. Can you guess how much the burger cost if people failed? $32!! I also saw a spicy wing challenge where customers had 6 minutes to finish 6 ghost pepper wings and also had to endure a 6 minute “afterburn” period. If the challenger failed, he or she had to pay only $6. This situation definitely does not work in all situations, but if it can work for your challenge that will definitely make your marketing easier later on.

Can you base your details off your location? – Some restaurants such as truck stops are located right off of very significant well known highways, and then other restaurants are located near other types of well known landmarks that pertain to their particular communities. For example, I once did a biscuits and gravy challenge at a restaurant that was located off of Interstate 70 in Missouri which is the most known highway in the state. They named their challenge “The Big 70 Challenge” which included 7 biscuits, 1lb hash browns, bacon, and it was all covered by 70 ounces of sausage gravy. The challenge had a 1 hour time limit rather than 70 minutes, and the challenge was not $70 for failing (thank goodness), but having 70 in the name and amount of gravy really helped their marketing campaign. Another challenge I did was at a restaurant located right off Route 66 which is a famous interstate in the USA. The restaurant had a “Route 66 King Of The Road Burger” which had a 66oz burger patty and allowed 66 minutes to finish the challenge. Their marketing was very successful and much easier too!!

Can you tie your challenge to a significant event? – This was also mentioned in Step 8: Pick A Name For The Challenge, but can you tie your challenge to a significant event that people relate to? For example, a restaurant in England around the time of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London decided to start a large Olympic Burger Challenge. People couldn’t just participate in the real Olympic games, but they could feel like they were in an Olympic event while they were attempting the challenge which also made the advertising that much easier.

Is there a “tagline” that fits your restaurant? – The most common example of this is restaurants using the tagline “Can you sink it?” along with their food challenge which is named after a famous ship name. Do you have a particular tagline that you plan on using in your marketing materials? Hopefully it’s a little more creative than “Can you beat the (challenge name)?” Another popular one is the tagline “Can you beat the meat?” or “Can you beat our meat?” and restaurants center all the details off using this tagline. This may or may not work for you.

Can you relate the details to the name of your restaurant? – Many restaurants do this because it really makes promoting both the challenge and restaurant together at the same time much easier. Figure out a way to relate your challenge name and possible a few of the details to your restaurant name. For example, The Thirsty Bear in London, England started a burger challenge called “The Grizzly Bear Burger Challenge” which obviously fits well. Another favorite of mine is that a small burger restaurant named Stella’s in Omaha, Nebraska started a Stellanator Burger Challenge. Marketing their towering challenge is easy because the name is so unique.

Can you involve a famous or significant person tied to your restaurant? – Some restaurants decide to tie their challenge to a famous person that is significant to their particular community that customers can relate to. This is an example of “testimonial advertising” where companies use famous people to sell their products. An example of this is a restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa named Jethro’s BBQ using a local college basketball player that was popular in the community. They had him list all of his favorite foods that he had ever ordered from the restaurant and they turned the list into a sandwich challenge. They even got on Man v Food: Des Moines!! Since the entire community knew the man the sandwich was named after, the restaurant was able to market and promote the challenge a lot easier which led to many more attempts, and still gets attempted years later.

Having a marketable and symbolic name is the most important detail, but all other details that you can tie together create a very significant bonus when it comes to marketing your challenge. Hopefully these ideas helped spark some thoughts that will lead you to a very marketable challenge idea. If you think of marketing during the entire design phase, you will have a much higher chance of hosting a successful challenge that will put your restaurant on the map and get even more customers inside your doors to try out your tasty menu.

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