As a business owner, at the end of the day your main goal is for your company to bring in more money than you spend so that you can continue to do business and keep making more money. If your restaurant is not making enough revenue, then it will not be able to continue doing business and you will have to shut down. I have never owned a restaurant, but I have visited over 1000 of them because I love food and I love traveling, and therefore I love trying new food when I travel to new places. I have attempted a food challenge at over 185 different restaurants since 2010, and over 50 of those restaurants have already closed down. I’m definitely not a psychic either, but I am rarely surprised when I hear or read about a restaurant shutting down that I have been to. If not already planned well in advance as an event, I try to do my challenges at peak hours so that customers can watch me win the challenge. When I go to a restaurant for a food challenge during peak hours on a normal day of the week or even on a weekend night, and there is more restaurant staff than customers, that is not a good sign. There are obviously other ways to tell a restaurant is not doing well, but a restaurant definitely isn’t making money if people aren’t there eating, drinking, having a great time, and most importantly, spending money.

You can have the best food at the best prices with the best service, but that all doesn’t matter if nobody knows your restaurant even exists. Your menu, prices, and service can make people want to come back and tell their friends about your restaurant, but you have to get them in the door first. Wherever your restaurant is located, especially if you are in the United States, there are multiple different “big name” chain sit down restaurants and fast food restaurants around you that seemingly have unlimited marketing dollars that have advertisements everywhere. Examples of “big name” restaurants are McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bell, Applebee’s, Olive Garden, Burger King, Domino’s, Chili’s, and KFC. Then there are probably multiple medium-sized restaurants around you that are able to advertise a lot too. As a small business without a huge marketing budget, you definitely cannot compete with these larger restaurants through everyday standard advertising on the radio and other expensive media outlets. You have to find other unique and less expensive ways to advertise your restaurant and get customers in the door. One great unique and inexpensive marketing tool is hosting a food challenge, which is what this website is all about. There are many different reasons to have a food challenge, but the main purpose of hosting one is to help promote your restaurant and get new customers in the door to try out your restaurant.

These are qualities about food challenges that help successfully achieve their restaurant marketing purpose:

Symbolic – As you will learn in other articles, a food challenge should be created to represent your menu and attitude. If marketed correctly, that challenge may soon become a symbol of your restaurant. Food challenges are becoming more known and recognized every day. Food challenges such as massive burgers are typically outrageous looking to most normal people, and it only takes one brief look to get imprinted into their memory. Food challenges are all about the “wow factor.” Smart restaurants make sure to include the restaurant name on any photo or advertisement they post involving the challenge. Word of mouth can spread fast, and soon people may not even know your menu but they know you have a big food challenge. First impressions are HUGE in today’s world, and if they are impressed by the effort you put into your challenge, they are probably willing to try out your restaurant even if they have no interest in taking the challenge. Once the challenge becomes well known around the community, you can then advertise yourself as “The home of (your challenge name here).”

A food challenge is a challenge – Food challenges and competitive eating are growing in popularity every day and are attracting more and more “eaters” all around the world. There are over 3,000 food challenges in over 15 countries, but there are only a few challenges in each particular city for “eaters” to attempt. Every food challenge I’ve ever done in over 150 cities, I went to that restaurant simply because they had a food challenge, and for no other reason. If they did not have a food challenge, I would not know that any of those restaurants ever existed. Restaurants and cafes may even have more negative reviews than positive on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Urbanspoon, but a true “eater” doesn’t care and will go to the restaurant simply because they have a food challenge. If you create a food challenge properly, new people will come and they will bring their friends too.

Fun – When a food challenge is going on, people are smiling, laughing, and having fun. An “eater” may not be smiling at the end when he or she is feeling really full, but there is probably a group around that person having fun and laughing at that person. When a food challenge is brought out, everyone in the restaurant knows a challenge is happening soon because customers are taking photographs and staring in amazement, secretly debating whether or not they themselves could finish the challenge. When people have a lot of fun, they will more than likely tell the story to their friends afterwards and your restaurant’s name will surely be brought up. People go to restaurants and bars to have fun and enjoy themselves, and if everyone is having fun at your restaurant, they will definitely want to return, and friends that hear the stories will want to come too.

Social media worthy – In today’s world of social media and technology, paying for older methods of advertising on radio and TV and using printed advertisements is becoming out of date and overpriced. People use internet radio, YouTube, Pandora, and other methods to listen to music now rather than traditional radio, and more people read about stories on the internet rather than in newspapers and magazines. When is the last time you opened a phone book? Many people today spend half of their day on their phone using social media. There are billions of posts everyday around the world made on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Vine, SnapChat, and other social media platforms. People like posting interesting things, and food challenges are definitely social media worthy. Smart restaurants use their social media pages to promote their food challenge, and they also encourage customers to post about the challenge whether they are attempting it or just watching. People enjoy seeing posts about food challenges because they are fun and interesting. Creating a “buzz” of interest on social media can reach a lot of potential customers very quickly, and continually keeping your restaurant in people’s mind is one of the keys to getting customers in the door (constant contact). People are much more likely to share a picture of your food challenge than your daily food and drink specials, so take advantage of that. Most importantly though, using social media is an extremely affordable price… FREE!!

Thanks for reading about restaurant marketing and especially for checking out!!

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