Now that you have established the meal you are serving along with the challenge rules and price, you’re ready to decide what prizes you will give to customers that attempt the challenge based on whether they win or lose. The prize is one of the last things you establish but it is equally as important as all of the other details in regards to selling and marketing your food challenge. People will not attempt your challenge if the risks taken are not worth the rewards for winning (or taking the challenge in general). Here is a list of all the standard prizes that are given out for winning and losing food challenges, with a brief description about each typical prize awarded:

Bragging Rights  – Every challenge awards “bragging rights” to winners whether the prize is specifically written or not. It just means that the winner is able to brag to his or her friends and peers. Be careful adding this to your list of prizes though, because “bragging rights” in “eater terminology” means that you really don’t have much of a prize so you are trying to make the prize sound better by adding “bragging rights” at the end. If the only prize awarded for winning is bragging rights, then it won’t be recognized as a food challenge on this website.

Wall Of Fame (Winners) – Adding winners to the Wall Of Fame or Wall Of Flame (or whatever you decide to call it at your restaurant) is the minimum requirement to be considered a food challenge. Some restaurants take either before or after photos of the different challengers and add each photo to the WOF along with the challenger’s name. Some restaurants just add the photos without names, and others add just names. Some restaurants even get the names of winners engraved on a special plaque hanging up in the restaurant. A few restaurants choose to only have a Wall Of Fame featured on their restaurant’s Facebook page which is also perfectly acceptable.

Wall Of Shame (Losers) – Some restaurants do this and some do not, but many restaurants with a Wall Of Fame for winners also have a Wall Of Shame for the pictures of people that fail the challenge. For the Wall Of Shame, restaurants usually take a photo of the loser with the remaining food left at the end of the challenge for everyone to see how that person did and looks afterwards. If your challenge is smaller and will get a lot of attempts and a lot of winners, you may only want to have a Wall Of Fame. If your challenge is big, then you may want to have a Wall Of Shame just so that you have pictures and names to put on the board to show people have tried it. Having a Wall Of Shame also depends on the amount of space you have in your restaurant to put a Wall Of Fame and Wall Of Shame. If you have a lot of space, then you may definitely be suited to have both. If your Wall Of Fame is only featured on Facebook, then you may choose to have a different album for the Wall Of Shame too on the Facebook page. The best scenario is to have pictures in your restaurant and also online.

Certificate Of Achievement – Some restaurants make a certificate of achievement to give to the winners of their challenge. Most restaurants that award certificates also have a Wall Of Fame and they take photos of the winners with their certificate to put up on the WOF. Some restaurants print out a certificate on site with a computer, and some restaurants have a standard certificate that they simply fill in and give to the winners.

Shirt, Hat, Or Other Restaurant Apparel –  Other than putting winners’ pictures on the Wall Of Fame, the most popular prize to award challenge winners is a free shirt or hat. Some restaurants create custom printed shirts specifically for challenge winners, and some restaurants just give out standard restaurant shirts, typically shirts that are already available for purchase as souvenirs. Shirts are popular prizes to give out because they are a good souvenir, and people are also advertising their particular restaurant when they proudly wear their shirt. Also, they can be as expensive or inexpensive as the restaurant decides to make them, but they still accomplish the same goal no matter how expensive they are. Every now and then, usually for bigger challenges, a restaurant may award a more expensive sweatshirt or hoody to challenge winners. The choice is fully up to you the owner.

Shirts For Losers Just For Taking The Challenge – This is less rare than you’d think, but some restaurants with bigger challenges give out shirts to people that lose their challenge just to thank them for trying. This usually means that the challenge is expensive, with the price of the shirt built into the price of the challenge, and the restaurant is simply trying to entice people to try the challenge, knowing that most people don’t have a chance. Every now and then, restaurants make up shirts specifically for challenge failures, but most of the time the restaurant just gives out the same shirt that is available for the public to purchase as a simple souvenir.

Discounted Meal – For challenges that are bigger but aren’t tough enough to award free due to the challenge rules, restaurants may decide to award the winner the meal at a discount, usually half price, if not more.

Free Meal – For tougher challenges, a very common prize is to award the meal free. This is the most universally accepted prize by eaters, and much appreciated too. Awarding the meal free to winners will definitely attract more attempts, as long as it is winnable. Many eaters won’t even try a challenge unless winners get it free.

Gift Certificates or Gift Cards – Gift cards can be used as a prize in a variety of ways, and typically the amount depends on the price, toughness, and the restaurant’s goal of the challenge. If the challenge is not really tough enough to award for free, but it is still pretty large, the restaurant may charge full price but award winners with gift cards totaling the amount of the challenge price. That gets the person to come back to your restaurant and possibly even bring friends, and for the eater it may be accepted because he is basically getting 2 meals for the price of 1. For tougher challenges, restaurants may decide to award the meal free along with additional gift cards too in order to get the customer to come back and make the prize package even sweeter. The value of the gift card usually depends on the toughness of the challenge, and a higher valued gift card will typically attract more attempts as long as the challenge is not unbeatable. The card value depends on your comfort level.

Cash Money – If restaurants really want to get people to try their challenge, they will award cash money to winners as part of the prize package. Almost all restaurants that award cash money also award the meal free, and then promote the cash prize on top of the free meal. I have only seen 1 challenge that awarded $100 cash but still charged for the price of the meal. The amount of cash awarded mostly depends on the toughness of the challenge. Challenges that have prizes over $500 are typically 5 star challenges that are really tough, but awarding a prize that high is really the only way to entice people to attempt the challenge. The higher your cash prize, the more likely people will be to attempt the challenge, especially if it is not unbeatable. Most cash prizes are typically between a value of $100 and $300 American dollars. There are some challenges too that are smaller where the restaurant will claim, for example, “If you lose then you pay $20, and if you win we pay you $20.” There are many ways to use cash money as a challenge prize so feel free to really get creative with  it.

Those are all of the standard prizes given out as rewards for winning (and losing) food challenges, and they can be combined in any way that you’d like. The most common combination of prizes for winning a challenge is a person getting the meal free, a free shirt, and his or her picture posted up on the Wall Of Fame. Some places combine 2 different kinds of challenges into 1 actual challenge, and then award a smaller prize for beating the easier challenge, and then award a larger prize if the customer is able to defeat the harder challenge too. For example, a person may get a shirt for beating a challenge in under 30 minutes, but he or she may get the meal free if the person defeats the challenge record too. To help you decide which prizes you should choose, feel free to check out other challenges similar to yours that are currently available. Figure out what prizes you want to give out and what prizes you want to avoid. To check out other challenges similar to yours, please use one of the list or map search methods available under “Challenges” on the top menu above, and then begin browsing.

One recommendation is that you DO NOT check out the prizes for challenges that were featured on Man v Food. Some of the challenges featured do no have good prize packages and are too expensive, and they were failing before their particular episode aired. After premiering on the show though, the number of challenge attempts then skyrocketed simply because it was featured on the show. Some of the challenges from Man v Food should be free or at least discounted, but Man v Food made the restaurant so popular that they don’t need to discount the challenge because people will attempt it anyway. You may definitely check out the challenges, but don’t necessarily choose your prizes based off of them, because what works for them may not work for you.

For additional unique prize ideas and prizes that are not necessary, click here.

Once you have chosen which food challenge prizes you will award, go to step 8.

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