There are 28 different types of food challenges, but most people are unaware that there are different kinds of food challenges too. The kind of challenge is more important to you as the business owner than the type of challenge. A burger challenge is a burger challenge to a normal customer coming into your restaurant that is just looking to have fun, but the kind of challenge that you choose decides the type of crowd your challenge caters to, the restaurant atmosphere the challenge creates, the details and rules of the challenge (price, time limit, , and many other factors that you may not have even realized before reading this article. Here are the different kinds of food challenges to offer along with brief business perspective details about each kind:

Very large quantity challenge – Challenges under this category are all 4 and 5 star challenges over 6.25lbs (2.75kg). An extremely low percentage of people are able to eat more than 6lbs (2.73kg) of food, and the percentage obviously decreases as you increase the size and weight of the meal. These challenges typically have a time limit over 45 minutes and they are usually fairly expensive due to the large amount of food. This kind of challenge is more for creating a “wow factor” rather than a fun atmosphere because the challenge more than likely will NOT get many attempts, especially after the first few months it is available. In the beginning, people will attempt it just to attempt it, but as the challenge continues on with only a handful of people getting past the halfway point, the excitement will die down pretty quickly because its not fun when nobody is able to even get close. The only real way to make these challenges successful, especially if you are not in a major city with a prime location, is to offer a large prize for winning, usually cash, because then it compensates the travel expenses for 4 and 5 star eaters to travel there. You also need to use cheaper materials to keep the cost down. If you are going to have a very large challenge item, it would be wise to also offer it as a menu item for groups to purchase and share. These challenges are typically always awarded free if one person finishes successfully. From a business perspective, these are the least profitable challenges to offer because not many people attempt the challenge which then does not bring new customers in, and with larger challenges there is usually some type of special item required which isn’t always readily kept in stock, making things inconvenient for the kitchen staff and causing people to have to call ahead before the challenge which doesn’t always happen.

Large quantity challenge – Challenges under this category are 3 star challenges between 5lbs and 6.25lbs (2.25kg-2.75kg). The time limit usually ranges been 30 minutes and 1 hour, and the cost typically depends on the type of food and the quality of the restaurant. There is still a low percentage of people that can win 3 star food challenges, but a higher percentage of people can get close which is the key to making these challenges successful. A large number of people getting over 3/4 finished, with still only just a few people actually winning, creates hope, and when you combine the male hormone testosterone with the right amount of hope, you are able to achieve a larger number of people trying your food challenge with more people watching too, which is exactly what you want as a business owner. 3 star challenges are typically also offered free if one person can finish the meal successfully. These challenges are much easier to promote than most very large challenges, especially if you add incentives like cash money, gift certificates, and apparel to increase the incentive for people to try it. Large quantity challenges are great for restaurants in bigger cities because their is a higher number of people available meaning that there are more potential big eaters making it not smart financially to offer only a medium sized challenge for free in that particular situation, because then you would lose money.

Medium quantity challenge – Challenges under this category are 2 star challenges between 3.5lbs and 5lbs (1.25kg-2.25kg). The time limit typically ranges between 25 minutes and 1 hour, and the cost varies based on the type of food, and both vary depending on the quality of the restaurant. In the United States where there are a lot more big eaters interested in food challenges, 2 star challenges are typically not awarded completely free, but usually come with a discount or gift certificates to help offset the expense to take the challenge. In Canada, Europe, and Australia where there are not as many big eaters, a large majority of challenges offered are 2 star challenges, and many of them are offered free if completed successfully. A higher percentage of people are able to eat 2 star challenges, giving people even more hope, but restaurants usually lower the time limit to 30 minutes to make the odds more in their favor. If priced correctly, these challenges can be very profitable because many more people are willing to try them, and since they have a higher level of hope and confidence, the “eaters” are more willing to bring friends and family to cheer them on to victory. Also, if you award the winners with gift certificates rather than a free meal, that gets them to come back and hopefully bring different people than they brought originally to enjoy a regular meal. Most 2 star challenges do not involve any custom items making the challenge typically always readily available which makes the challenge easier to sell and promote. Since they are still very tough and large to most regular customers, more people are willing to watch 2 star challenges which create a much more fun and exciting atmosphere for everyone. Lastly, since these food challenges are not completely massive, you will get less backlash from ignorant “haters” claiming that food challenges are wasteful and gluttonous, which reduces the hassle of dealing with negative customers.

Small quantity challenge – Challenges under this category are 1 star challenges less than 3.5lbs (1.5kg), and usually weigh around 3lbs (1.36kg). These challenges are typically never free or discounted, and typical prizes include a shirt or hat, the person’s name and/or picture up on the restaurant’s Wall Of Fame, and/or a certificate of completion. These challenges are typically found at larger and more popular bigger-name restaurants, often times in cities that get a lot of travelers, and are just a fun gimmick used to make money. The meal is typically a little on the expensive side to make up for the price of the shirt because a large number of people win the challenge, and they know that people are more willing to spend money when they are on vacation, especially if they get something in return as a souvenir to remember the experience. Often times, there isn’t even a time limit associated with the challenge. With that being said, these challenges can create a very fun experience for the people involved because many of the people that attempt these would not have a great chance if it was a larger challenge. These challenges are typically always available and there is no need for the customer to call ahead because the materials are readily available and the food won’t take up the entire grill or oven. There is not a big “wow factor” but these challenges are very popular on social media because so many more people order the meal. These are great “starter challenges” too so your marketing return on investment will be much higher.

Quantity record challenge – A quantity record challenge means exactly what it sounds like. The restaurant sets a maximum time limit, and a challenger then tries to eat a higher quantity of a particular menu item than the previous record within that particular amount of time following the same rules as the record-holder. If the previous record was 19 tacos eaten in 30 minutes, then the challenge would most likely be to eat 20 tacos within 30 minutes. Record challenges can be available any day of the week, or sometimes these are held on special nights of the week. For example, a restaurant may hold a wing record challenge on Wednesdays when wings are discounted on special. Typically winners get their meal free or they at least get a special prize. It is smart for a restaurant to only bring out a portion of the food at a time rather than all of it to help save the challenger money in case he doesn’t come close to breaking the record. The restaurant would then charge the customer for the amount eaten, or sometimes a restaurant may just have a flat fee that they charge no matter how much you eat. These challenges can create a very fun atmosphere, especially in the beginning when the numbers are lower and there is a higher level of competition. One drawback to these particular challenges is that an egotistical higher level eater may come in and completely dominate the record, putting the record out of reach for all of the normal customers. In that case, the restaurant may choose to simply restart the challenge.

There is a variation of a quantity record challenge that is becoming popular, where a restaurant has a starting challenge with a specific quantity of food items, and then when a person defeats the challenge they add on to the challenge so the record keeps increasing. For example, a restaurant may start with a 6 patty burger and allow 1 hour to finish the challenge. Once somebody beats that challenge, the restaurant adds 1 burger patty and then usually names the challenge after that person because he or she is the record holder. The challenge gets harder as the record increases and continues to get less and less attempts, so you may want to restart the quantity record challenge when it gets to a certain point to get more people involved and more excited.

Speed record challenge – A speed record challenge can be any size, 1 star all the way up to 5 stars. To win a speed record challenge, you must defeat the particular food challenge in less time than the previous record. If you do, then you win the challenge prize which is set by the particular restaurant. Every now and then a smart restaurant may combine a quantity challenge and speed record challenge, awarding a shirt or other prize if you finish the challenge in under a certain time such as 30 minutes, but then you may get the meal entirely free if you can beat the previous challenge time record. Speed record challenges can be very fun and competitive, especially for 1 and 2 star challenges. There is usually a “leader board” posted in the restaurant that serves as the Wall of Fame. Just like quantity food challenges, a professional speed eater may come in and dominate the challenge, making the time limit unreachable for normal eaters. In this case, the restaurant may restart the challenge. Smaller challenges reach a larger group of people that may be interested in the challenge. Some restaurants just have a “top 10” leader-board, and challengers get on the Wall of Fame if they finish in less than the #10 time. This type of challenge can get really competitive and is more about having fun than it is about beating the challenge. When you have a speed record challenge with a leader-board, it is typically easy to stir up excitement via social media when you post a current picture of the Wall of Fame board, and let fans do the rest.

Speed Challenge – A speed challenge can be any size, typically 1 to 3 stars, and has a time limit of 15 minutes or less. Larger 2 and 3 star challenges usually have a time limit of 15 minutes, and smaller 1 star challenges typically have a time limit of 5 or 10 minutes. These challenges are based more on speed eating than the stomach capacity of the challenger. Speed challenges reach a larger crowd because more people can finish the meal. Some restaurants have a quantity food challenge and a speed challenge simply to reach a larger crowd of people. These challenges usually don’t have massive prizes, and the price of the challenge typically isn’t very high either since the challenger isn’t really able to enjoy the food. Speed challenges can create a very fun atmosphere in the restaurant due to the short duration of the challenge. These are also easier to video and post for people to watch via social media since their is not as much footage required. One drawback is that some people trying to speed eat have very little manners which can be pretty gross for regular customers to watch, particularly burrito challenges, so choose the food wisely, and you may want to monitor the challengers.

Small spicy challenge – Spicy challenges reach an entirely different crowd of people, and many restaurants offer both a quantity challenge and a spicy challenge just to reach almost everybody interested in food challenges. A small spicy challenge is simply a challenge to finish a very small quantity of food that is extremely spicy. Anyone over 18 can basically attempt a spicy challenge since there is not a massive amount of food. Examples of a small spicy challenge are 6-12 wings, 1-2 cups of chili, or a 1/2lb burger or bbq sandwich, each cooked with very spicy peppers. Spicy challenges can be very fun for people to watch because they really are painful due to the intense heat. Small spicy challenges are typically priced fairly cheap, and the prizes are typically pretty small too. Typical prizes are getting the meal free, winning a shirt or hat, and/or sometimes winners get a restaurant gift certificate or bar tab for later. Sometimes restaurants include a glass of milk or cup of ice cream for after the challenge is over to help the person recover. Small spicy challenges are very popular and usually get many attempts because anyone is able to defeat the quantity of food, and they just have to defeat the spiciness of the food. For this reason, spicy food challenges can be a great option to have at your restaurant, and the reactions to the spiciness make great YouTube and Facebook videos which further advertise your restaurant and challenge to potential customers. Just make sure to have ice cream available for dessert.

Medium spicy challenge – These are very rare, and are usually pizzas, but a restaurant may make a medium sized challenge with Ghost Peppers or other really spicy chilies, creating a medium spicy challenge. These get a lot less attempts since they are a combination of both quantity and spice which make the challenge very hard and painful. The restaurant staff may want to have a trash can nearby the challengers just in case he or she starts to get sick towards the end of the challenge. The best way to increase the amount of attempts for a challenge like this is to have a great prize. Not many people are willing to eat 2kg of really spicy food, making themselves completely miserable for several days, just for a free meal and bragging rights, so please keep that in mind,

Team challenge – If your restaurant has a really big food item such as an 11lb (5kg) pizza, 99.99% of people can’t eat that by themselves, and your budget probably can’t afford to hire the few professional eaters that can. Therefore, create a fun team challenge so that more people have a chance of winning. Also, you can have a large challenge item and it won’t require any special materials since it’s a menu item already. 90% of team eating challenges around the world are team pizza challenges, and I know from experience that they are a lot of fun. Team pizza challenges are usually between $40 and $60 American dollars, which is not too bad if split between both eaters. Sometimes for really large pizzas, teams of 3 or more can attempt the challenge. Some restaurants with team challenges allow multiple sized teams, and simply adjust the time limit accordingly. Because more people are involved with the challenge, there is a higher chance that more people will show up to watch, and the challenge will be more promoted via social media too. Most team challenges are based on quantity with a time limit between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the size of the challenge. Some team challenges have prizes up to $500 American dollars cash money for winning teams, and those are by far the most attempted because people are willing to travel and meet friends there to attempt the challenge which will compensate their travel costs if they win. Team challenges involve a lot more strategy too because multiple people are involved. Team challenges are definitely my favorite type & kind of food challenge because they are just so much more fun!!

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