If there is one particular challenge detail that can be used to really sell your challenge to people, its definitely the prize that people get for winning the food challenge. If you tell a person about a 5lb burger challenge, the first thing that person will ask is what the prize is. If you tell a guy he can win $300 for beating a challenge, he will already be planning what he will do with the winnings before you even explain what the challenge is. If a challenge has a large prize associated with it, people will want to try the challenge if they think they at lease have a chance of coming close to finishing it. If a person knows he or she can’t win, then the prize really doesn’t matter anyway, which is why you shouldn’t create an unbeatable challenge. To make your marketing easier, be sure to factor in a worthy prize to people that beat the challenge. If the risk isn’t worth the possible reward, then why will people want to try it? Here are ways to use prizes to sell your food challenge and restaurant:

Start off with an initial prize – If your challenge isn’t really big enough to have a bigger prize associated with it, but you really want your initial marketing efforts to be successful, offer an initial prize to the first winner, in addition to what the challenge will normally award. This is becoming more of a common practice and it works very well to spark the initial interest that makes everyone aware of your challenge. Just make sure you clarify that the prize will only go to the first winner, and then more people will want to try the challenge sooner so that they can become that first winner that gets the prize. You never know what will happen. Somebody might win the challenge the very first week, or maybe the challenge was a little more tough than you thought, and it might take a few months of people attempting the challenge before the first champion is crowned. If that is the case, the financial and marketing benefits you received during those first months from the increased number of attempts due to having that initial prize were well worth the costs!! “Cheap” people never become rich!!

Award gift cards to get customers to come back – If your challenge is not tough enough to award the challenge for free, charge the customers for the meal but award them with gift cards equal to or greater than the cost of the challenge. This basically is giving winners a “two for one” deal which is great for them, but it’s even better for you because you are getting the customer to come back and financially you are saving money. That $20 gift certificate that you awarded that winner is not really costing you $20, and you will basically just be covering the cost of the food that the person orders if and when he or she does come back. You can also do this if your challenge is tough enough to award the meal free along with extra incentives. As you learned in Eaters Can Be Your Best Promoters, if you take care of the eaters that beat your challenge, they will take care of you by referring friends and family to your restaurant. Keep these people happy by awarding them with a gift card or certificate. They may come back alone, or they may even bring a group of people that has never been there before. If they like your menu, they will come back on their own, all because you awarded a simple gift card.

Use “bar tab” as a prize to attract challengers – I have done food challenges simply because I knew I was going to win a free “bar tab” for the night if I beat the challenge. The value typically depends on the toughness of the challenge, but advertise that customers will get the meal free along with a $25 or $50 “bar tab” after beating the challenge. Many bars and restaurants with extra spicy wing challenges use this tactic. If a group of guys knows that they all can get a few free beers if they beat a “simple” 6 wing challenge, they will be more likely to try or at least provoke one or three people in the group to try the challenge so that they can win the free drinks. Spicy challenges work best because they can be done spur-of-the-moment and there really isn’t much training involved for winning small spicy challenges. Also, people will still be able to stay and drink afterwards since they don’t actually get full like in a massive quantity food challenge. Think about the possible benefits before worrying about the few dollars that you will be spending when people win. For that same group of guys, the money you make off the rounds of overpriced shots will compensate for the free drinks won if someone beats the challenge. Sometimes to get benefits, you must be willing to give a few out. Spend money to make money!!

Encourage winners to wear the shirts you give out – One of the reasons that you give out shirts as prizes is so that the winners can wear their shirt proudly to show off their victory, while advertising your restaurant at the same time. You want them to wear the shirt, and not let it sit in their closet. You also don’t want them to donate the shirt or throw it away. Give them a reason to wear the shirt proudly by giving them some extra incentives in the prize package. Some restaurants give winners significant discounts on their bill on future visits if they wear their shirt or other form of apparel awarded while in the restaurant. If a person knows that he or she will get 25% off their total bill just by wearing their victory shirt, that person will definitely keep the shirt and come back to your restaurant, if he or she is local and did not beat your challenge while traveling. Whether out in public or in the restaurant, people will see the shirt and want to learn how to earn one too, and you will see them soon.

You need to have a Wall Of Fame – A well put-together Wall Of Fame is the most simple way to sell your food challenge to the people in your restaurant. Since you placed it in an area that receives plenty of traffic, people stop and check it out whenever they walk by. People will want to be on your board too if they see many pictures of other people that are smiling and happy. Having a Wall Of Shame for losers is up to you, but you need to have a Wall Of Fame for winners. If you do not have one, I’d be willing to bet that you have an artistic person on your staff that would enjoy creating one. Have that person create the board during a quiet period while waiting for customers to come in. Your customers and the challengers will be very happy that you did. A winner getting his or her photo posted on Facebook is one thing, but getting a photo up in the restaurant is definitely a lot more special, so make sure you have a professional looking Wall Of Fame in the restaurant hanging for all to see.

The major thing to remember is that the better the prize is, the better the challenge will be received by your customers. Many restaurants now, especially in Europe, are trying to sell larger menu items by adding Man v Food into the name and telling customers to try the challenge, but they have no prize other than a quick congratulations and expensive bill for people that finish. These items are not real food challenges and they are not mentioned on FoodChallenges.com. If you want people to try your food challenge, and if you want your marketing to be a lot easier when promoting the challenge, then you need to have a pretty good prize that will attract attention and make people want to try the challenge. You would not want to eat until you are feeling sick just for a free beer and dessert would you? You would not even be able to enjoy either of them. If you would not, why would other people? If the challenge is not appealing to you or your restaurant staff, then it’s probably not going to appeal to your customers either, so change things up and award a prize you are proud to advertise.

Thanks for reading all about how you can use prizes to sell your challenge and restaurant!!

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