Restaurant challenges are a huge publicity coup for the hosts, and an intriguing pull for customers. These customer invitations to consume extra large portions of popular menu items, with or without time limits, draw in new customers and plenty of attention.
In fact, in the English speaking world, restaurant challenges have now gone viral, with restaurants trying to outdo each other, offering a variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert challenges that promise to bust a gut rather than bust a wallet.
Restaurant owners and customers reason that if they enjoy the menu items in smaller portions, their sense of enjoyment increases exponentially as the portion size grows. Customer incentives such as a free meal and publicity in the form of a picture on the restaurant wall for challenge winners serve as further enticements, and help diners forget that their eyes are figuratively bigger than their bellies.
Incentives aside, food quality remains the most important ingredient for today's restaurant challenges. No one wants to go to a restaurant and pay one hundred dollars for a six pound plate of fried, baked and boiled insects on the promise that the money will be refunded if the customer successfully consumes the entire meal. A delicious burger will be every bit as delicious if it's bigger, but it's still somewhat shocking to discover that customers keep returning to restaurant challenges that offer some very simple, very expensive, and very, very big restaurant menu items. Here's ten of the most popular such challenges around the world today.
10 Komachi Japanese Restaurant: Ramen
Ramen! Remember when you were so poor you ate Ramen Noodles for seven straight days? A restaurant in Sydney Australia, Komachi Japanese Restaurant, considers those happy memories. The meal consists of two liters of soup, a bit over two pounds of noodles and a healthy mixture of vegetables and meat.
9 Corner Cafe, UK: Monster Mega Breakfast
The Brits love their breakfast, and currently they are going bonkers for breakfast restaurant challenges. Print and television media promote it, with one Cafe, Dinner or Pub trying to outdo the other.
Today's biggest hit, the 'Monster Mega Breakfast', courtesy of Corner Cafe in Portishead, contains six sausages, six rashers of bacon, four eggs, two omelettes (three eggs per omelet), four black puddings, four hash browns, four portions of mushrooms, two ladles of beans, two ladles of tinned tomatoes, one bowl of chips, four pieces of toast, four pieces of fried bread, two slices of buttered bread, and one milkshake.
8 It's All So Yummy Cafe, TN: Rocky Top Ice Cream Challenge
7 Jack-N-Grills, Denver: Seven Pound Burrito Challenge
Americans take their breakfast meals as seriously as anyone else, and the rising popularity of Mexican food often translates into the rising popularity of extreme Mexican food. For example, consider the Jack-N-Grills seven pound Burrito Challenge.
6 Corned Beef House, Toronto: Corned Beef Challenge
Corned Beef Sandwiches are the favorite of NASA astronauts. At least, that's how the story goes: It was once revealed that an astronaut sneaked one aboard the Gemini 3 mission.
5 The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo: Big Texan Steak Challenge
With Americans invested in a steak diet, restaurant steak eating challenges can be found most everywhere. They do things big in Texas, and perhaps one of the oldest and biggest steak eating challenges comes from The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. Since 1991 travelers along Route 66 have stopped by hoping for a free meal. Currently the challenge rules start with cost.
4 Mallie's Sports Bar & Grill, MI: Monster Hamburger Challenge
Think about the average American craving for a quarter pound hamburger. With that thought in mind, it's easy to understand the popularity of restaurant hamburger challenges. In terms of a challenge that emphasizes sheer size it's difficult to top the Mallie's Sports Bar & Grill ten pound Monster Burger Challenge.
3 Schiappa's, IL: Schiappa's Pizza Challenge
Looking for a memorable and inexpensive date? Think pizza. Pizza math is not all that difficult. Start with the fact that the average extra large pizza measures approximately fourteen inches.
2 Voodoo Doughnut, Portland: Tex-Ass Doughnut Challenge
1 Spike's Junkyard Dogs, Boston: Spike's Hot Dog Challenge
Hot dog eating contents are as American as apple pie, popping up on Fourth of July celebrations as well as at the corner deli. One particularly popular contest, the Boston based, Spike's Junkyard Dogs hot dog eating contest takes the cake. As the old saying goes, there's practically no such thing as a free lunch.
The Spike's challenge consists of a customer consuming six oversized hot dogs in large rolls. While the restaurant reports that over two-thirds of participants complete the task, their only reward is getting their name on the restaurant wall of fame.
In order to qualify for a free meal, the customer needs to break the hot dog eating record, which currently stands at 15 hot dogs for men and 12 hot dogs for women.
All those hot dogs, and only a picture of a stomach ache to show for it...
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