The purpose of this article is to help restaurants that are thinking about having multiple food challenges. Having multiple food challenges can help you cater to a larger number of your potential customers if you combine the correct kinds of food challenges, giving you even greater marketing power. If you create multiple types of challenges without combining the right kinds of challenges, this will actually hurt your marketing power rather than help you because you will not be able to maintain one centralized and focused advertising campaign. Having one excellent, focused campaign yields much higher results than if you are spending even more effort marketing multiple campaigns that don’t combine well together. If you are thinking about having more than one food challenge at your restaurant, here are some ideas and tips for you to think about before designing them:

Having multiple large quantity challenges – Having two or three larger quantity challenges don’t really reach different groups of challengers. There are only 3 types of food challengers which are quantity challengers, speed eaters, and spicy food challengers. Most quantity challengers don’t eat spicy challenges and many spicy challengers can’t eat large quantity challenges. Those 2 groups are much more likely to participate in speed challenges though. If you are going to have multiple large challenges, increase your marketing power by keeping the challenge names similar. For example, Smokey’s Joint, a restaurant in Walsall, England, has a large Monster Burger Challenge, Monster Hot Dog Challenge, and a Monster Burrito Challenge, and they all combine together and work really well in Smokey’s marketing campaign. They are not the only example of this either.

Having a quantity challenge and spicy challenge – This is the most common form of having multiple food challenges which caters to both quantity challengers and spicy food challengers. Since they are completely different types of challenges that reach different crowds, you need to treat them differently. They can be marketed at the same time, but don’t expect quantity challengers to be interested in the spicy challenge, and the spicy food challengers to be interested in the big quantity challenge. The popularity of each depends on the type of restaurant you are and the clientele that you attract, and one challenge may be more popular than the other. Sometimes the popularity of each challenge can average out to be about equal. There are no guarantees.

Having a quantity challenge and speed challenge – This can be a smart idea too because the quantity challenge caters to the big eaters while the speed challenge caters to the faster eaters that can’t eat as much. These challenges are more capable of being marketed together, since the spicy challengers in your area might still be interested in your speed challenge. A speed challenge creates a different atmosphere in your restaurant too than quantity challenges do, so you can better the experience for some diners by having both for them to watch and participate in. Quantity challengers are usually also interested in speed challenges, but quantity and speed don’t necessarily correlate, meaning that the biggest quantity eater may not be the fastest eater for the speed challenge. If designed correctly, the two challenges can work well together and attract a lot more customers.

Having a large quantity challenge and a smaller quantity challenge – This combination is common too where a restaurant has a large quantity challenge with a longer time limit with better prizes for the big eaters, and then a smaller similar challenge with a shorter time limit with smaller prizes for the lesser eaters. This can be a great way to reach different levels of eaters while still having one central marketing campaign, since both challenges are similar. For example, a larger city restaurant may offer a big burger with a 1kg burger patty with toppings, fries, and a drink that has to be finished in 30 minutes, and winners get a free shirt and gift certificate. The same restaurant may also have a challenge where they just add a 1kg burger patty with the same toppings to make it a double burger with the same sides and a drink, and then establish a 1 hour time limit, awarding winners the meal free along with a shirt and an even higher value gift certificate. Doing this will work much better, and the marketing will be much easier than having a large burger challenge and a medium-sized hot dog challenge.

Having a team challenge and a solo challenge – More often than not, it is best to just have 1 food challenge at your restaurant, but there are a ton of situations where restaurants have more than 1 successful food challenge, and each situation completely depends on the restaurant type and location. Restaurants with team challenges though can usually benefit by adding a smaller solo challenge. The major drawback to team challenges is that sometimes it can be hard to find a qualified partner that is also wanting to attempt the same challenge. You also then have to be able to both meet at the same time too which can be hard for people with conflicting schedules. By having a solo challenge and a team challenge, a person won’t have to worry about finding a qualified partner, and can still take a challenge at your restaurant. It will not work to have the same challenge be both an individual and a team challenge, unless it’s too small to be a real team quantity challenge so it actually becomes a team speed challenge with a short time limit. A 5 star challenge that is also a team challenge is way too big for 98% of your customers to beat alone, so you are actually hurting yourself by advertising it as a solo challenge too. Make it just a team challenge and then create a smaller but similar solo challenge. For example, a pizza place may have a 30″ team challenge along with a 20″ solo pizza challenge. If you go this route, make sure to have similar names and prizes for your marketing purposes so that everything flows smoothly together.

Having 5 similar sized food challenges – This is extremely rare in the United States but I have seen it multiple times throughout the United Kingdom, where a restaurant will offer 4 or 5 different types of food challenges all around the same size with similar time limits. If you are going to do this, you will basically become known as a restaurant that offers food challenges rather than being known for one particular symbolic challenge. Most people won’t really know what challenges you offer, so you will get the question a lot via social media. An example of this is where a restaurant has a burger challenge, spicy wing challenge, hot dog challenge, nacho challenge, and dessert challenge, all around 4lbs (1.82kg) each with a 30 minute time limit for each challenge. One option for you may be to start with multiple challenges and see which challenge becomes more popular, and then stick with promoting that one particular challenge. From what I have seen, having a large variety of food challenges is counterproductive, not very effective, and usually hurts your efforts rather than helping them.

Having multiple challenges is more work – Food challenges can be a major part of your marketing campaign, but they are just a minor part of the everyday happenings at your restaurant. Busy restaurants don’t have all kinds of extra time to focus on the extra things that come up due to food challenges. A food challenger is a higher maintenance customer than regular customers because they require more attention, such as having to keep track of the time that customer has left to finish the challenge. Also, food challengers typically require more drinks than regular customers. If the customer wins, the server then has to get the prize for that person. Food challenges are typically more work for the kitchen staff too because more food is involved which takes up more room in the oven, in the fryer, or on the grill. The benefits of having a food challenge are definitely worth the extra time involved, but having multiple challenges are even more work for everyone for obvious reasons, so restaurants should think hard before creating multiple challenges. One great one is better than 2 okay ones.

Multiple food challenges can work for restaurants if created and marketed correctly, but my biggest suggestion is to remember that “less is more.” The more food challenges you have, the less symbolic they become of your restaurant which gives you decreased marketing power than if you only had one challenge. You can’t become “The home of (your challenge name)” if you have 5 food challenges. Over 80% of restaurants only have 1 food challenge because having 1 challenge is usually more powerful and it involves much less effort to maintain while still receiving all the associated benefits. Remember that too much of a good thing is not always a good thing!!

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