Food challenges do not lose their luster on their own, but they do not become successful on their own either. It takes a very intelligent owner and marketing department to put together a solid food challenge that really works well for the restaurant. Many restaurants are able to put together great challenges though because there are just so many possibilities to choose from, but it takes an even more intelligent owner and marketing staff to put together and carry out a marketing plan that really takes off and gets that food challenge an enormous amount of attempts and press throughout the local and national news media. Successful food challenges do not just happen by accident, and there are definitely some restaurant owners that are smarter than the rest, and that intelligence shines through the success of the restaurant’s challenge. Here are the smartest restaurants with food challenges around the world along with reasons why they made the list so you can learn from them:

Murphy’s Law – Athlone, Ireland

Murphy’s Law is located in a smaller town in Ireland, and has 2 food challenges. They have a Big Murph Burger Challenge and a Murphy’s Law Breakfast Challenge. Both challenges work very well together and are around the same size and weight. They are also both priced very reasonably which makes them even more attractive and fun. Even in a smaller isolated town, there are people attempting both challenges every single day, and people have traveled from all over Ireland to Athlone just to attempt one of the challenges. How do I know? I know because the restaurant posts the challengers each and every single day via social media. Murphy’s Law definitely put their restaurant and town of Athlone “on the map” through hosting their two challenges.

Stella’s Bar & Grill – Omaha, Nebraska (USA)

As soon as you walk into Stella’s Bar & Grill, you are immediately greeted by a massive Wall Of Fame and Wall Of Shame displaying all of the over 300 people that have attempted their Stellanator Burger Challenge. The challenge is very reasonably priced, and they used a perfect name to drive their marketing campaign. The restaurant staff makes a big deal of the challenge and really creates an atmosphere that makes customers want to take the challenge and get up “on the board” at the entrance. Stella’s has been been featured on every local news media outlets and several national news outlets such as CNN due to The Stellanator. Also, Stella’s created a perfectly sized challenge. A ton of people have gotten within a few small bites, but only an elite few have actually beaten the challenge within the 45 minute time limit. That is exactly what you want to happen!!

Melt Bar & Grilled – Cleveland, Ohio (USA)

Melt Bar & Grilled is a classic example of how creating a very unique challenge that is completely different from all other challenges can really get your restaurant noticed. The Melt Challenge consists of a 4lb grilled cheese sandwich with 13 different types of cheeses, and is served with 1lb of fries and coleslaw. The 5lb challenge only awarded a free shirt, and therefore did not have many attempts or victories. Due to the uniqueness though, the challenge was featured on Man v Food: Cleveland, and now the challenge has had hundreds of attempts at each of the multiple locations throughout Cleveland, all while still only awarding a free shirt and charging full price for the meal. Based on the prizes awarded, the challenge never would have taken off. Due to the uniqueness though, they were featured on a national TV show and now it gets attempted so often that they don’t even need to discount it. Melt is really reaping all of the benefits from having a unique challenge. Everyone traveling to Cleveland already knows about the restaurant before arriving, so it is usually on their list of places to eat.

Smokey’s Joint – Walsall, England

Smokey’s Joint has a Monster Burger Challenge, Monster Dog Challenge, Monster Burrito Challenge, and also a spicy Ghost Chilli Wing Challenge. Smokey’s has been featured in news media outlets all over England, and is located in a small town right outside of Birmingham. Smokey’s has a discount challenge night where each challenge price is discounted in order to encourage people to attempt them and bring friends & family along too. Smokey’s is located right next to Walsall’s train station, so having multiple well-known challenges helps them get traffic from people just visiting Walsall, since the train is the main way that people get there, and Smokey’s is the first place they see when leaving the station. Because of the similar challenge names, the marketing is much easier, and they definitely market all 4 challenges together each week, which gets more publicity.

Pointer’s Pizza – St Louis, Missouri (USA)

Pointer’s Pizza has been hosting The 28″ Pointersaurus Pizza Challenge since 2001, and consists of a 28″ 11lb (5kg) pizza with 2 meat toppings or 4 vegetable toppings. Teams of 2 have 1 hour to finish the $50 pizza. If they win, the pizza is free and the team gets a check for $500. Only 1 team is allowed to attempt the challenge at 3pm 6 days per week. Since 2001, the challenge has been attempted 4-6 times per week, and there has only been about 30 winning teams. That is $15,000 paid out, but try adding up $50 x 4 (times per week) x 52 (weeks per yer) x 14 (years). Pointer’s Pizza has been featured on many national TV shows, and was not selected for Man v Food: St Louis simply because of Crown Candy Kitchen (also in St Louis) having one of the oldest food challenges in the world, which just happens to be one of the only milkshake challenges in the world too. How can you beat that? 95% of people around St Louis have heard of the Pointersaurus, and winning teams have come from all over the entire country. To see a list of winners and where they are all from, please click here.

The Austrian Schnitzelhaus – Sydney, Australia

Food challenges and competitive eating are really starting to grow in popularity throughout Australia, and The Austrian Schnitzelhaus with two locations in Erina and Neutral Bay of New South Wales near Sydney is really taking advantage of the growth. Each location hosts a 1kg chicken schnitzel challenge that comes with chips and a 1 litre beer. The challenge gets many attempts at each location, and multiple YouTube videos can be found of Australian eaters attempting to break the challenge record to earn the free meal. The food challenge trend began very recently in Australia, and The Austrian Schnitzelhaus is really capitalizing on the benefits that come with hosting a proper food challenge. Since it’s not massive, a lot more people attempt it and order it for fun!!

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