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Photo Courtesy of The Big Texan Steak Ranch

Managing and operating a foodservice establishment isn’t easy. Today, however, we’re taking a break from industry challenges like supply chains, health inspectors, mold, and employee retention. Instead, let’s have fun discovering 10 restaurant food challenges!

Not only do food challenges create organic media coverage for restaurants, but they also drive customers with iron stomachs straight into their establishments to face the ultimate test of digestive integrity.

Fat Sal’s Deli

Challenge: Big Fat Fat Shake
Location: Hollywood, CA 

Ready, set, go! At Fat Sal’s Deli, known for being a “favorite guilty pleasure for sandwiches or sides”, you only have 10 minutes to finish one of their Big Fat Fat Shakes. Sounds okay so far, right? Wrong. This shake, served in a souvenir glass, is comprised of 60 scoops of ice cream; 30 scoops of vanilla and 30 scoops of chocolate. These 60 scoops are then blended with cakes, cookies, candy, pretzels and syrup. What’s more, we are also looking at two full cans of whipped cream per shake.

The Big Fat Fat Shake costs $99.00. With this in mind, if you finish it within 10 minutes (no sharing!), it’s yours for free. The best prize, however, is any brave soul out there who can accomplish this food challenge gets to create and name their very own shake!

Big Texan Steak Ranch

Challenge: 72-Ounce Steak Dinner
Location: Amarillo, TX

Big Texan’s food challenge is very difficult, making it a must-try for competitive eating celebrities; only 12 percent of participants who try, succeed. Firstly, you must eat a 72-ounce steak as well as a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, bread, and butter in one hour’s time.

But there are rules: Contestants must sit at an assigned table. Prior to the timer’s official start, patrons are allowed to take one bite of steak to make sure it is cooked to their liking. Paton’s are not allowed to standup, leave the table, or have anyone else touch the meal. Big Texan provides all contestants with a container, should they become ill. However, when someone does get sick, the contest is immediately over. Whoever wins gets their dinner for free and their name on the wall.

Big Texan isn’t completely unreasonable though. They understand that not everyone likes to eat the fat and in accordance with that knowledge, contestants are not required to. However, as stated in the rules, anyone who doesn’t eat the fat will be judged.

316 Oyster Bar & Seafood Grill

Location: Fayetteville, NC
Challenge: Rooster Menu

This next challenge is certainly an acquired taste. Although the focus of 316 Oyster Bar is to serve high-quality seafood and steaks, they do have a special menu called Rooster that offers three customer challenges.

The first option off the Rooster Menu is simply called Rooster. When a customer orders and eats three “Roosters”, they’ll win a free t-shirt. But what is a “Rooster,” you ask? Well, according to the menu it is a raw oyster, saltine cracker, jalapeno pepper slice, horseradish, black pepper, and hot sauce.

The second and third challenge options are drinks! The Rooster Shooter, if successfully completed, earn customers a free shot glass. If you can drink a raw oyster, beer, and horseradish in one gulp, you win. The third challenge, Super Shooter, is similar but takes it up a level with raw oyster, cocktail sauce, hot sauce. Don’t forget, if you can’t knock it down in one gulp, you lose.

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Bushido Japanese Restaurant

Location: Charleston, SC
Challenge: The Bushido Seppuku Challenge

As seen on the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, we have the Bushido Seppuku Challenge, otherwise known as the Spicy Tuna Hand Roll Challenge.

Seppuku is the contextually intimidating Japanese word for ritual suicide by disembowelment, first practiced by the samurai. With that in mind, the challenge is to eat 10 rolls stuffed with tuna, cucumber, and habanero peppers, each with increased spiciness. Ten Bushido Restaurant rolls may sound easy, but this isn’t for the faint of heart. To illustrate this, the challenger must make 24-hour advanced reservations, and sign both a waiver and release form because “not everyone is capable of the punishment.”

Should customers earn the status of Legend, they receive a Bushido headband to be worn for future free appetizers. Winners will also have their photo displayed on the Ledger of Legends, for permanent bragging rights.

The San Francisco Creamery Co.

Location: Walnut Creek, CA
Challenge: The Kitchen Sink

For folks with a sweet tooth and hefty appetite, the San Francisco Creamery Co. has a challenge especially for you. Operating since 1930, all of the ice cream, hot fudge, chocolate syrup, caramel and butterscotch at the San Francisco Creamery Co. is made fresh, right on premises.

The Kitchen Sink Sundae, which can comfortably serve six people, is served in a specially made sink. They then add three bananas, up to eight different flavors of ice cream (customers get to choose from their impressive selection!), eight servings of toppings, mounds of whipped cream, toasted almonds, and cherries.

If a single person can consume an entire Kitchen Sink Sundae, they win free ice cream for a year! Additionally, winners receive a free meal, T-shirt, and a coveted spot of their photo on the Wall of Fame.

Rockford Corner Bar

Location: Rockford, MI
Challenge: Hall of Fame Platter

Do you dare to make history in the hot dog capital of Michigan? With 88 years of history under their belt, this friendly establishment operates in a landmarked building in Rockford.

The Corner Bar has consistently crafted their famous hotdogs the same way for 80 years. With a legacy of that magnitude, every bite of a hotdog is like taking a bite out of history. To make your own mark on their culinary tradition, they offer the Hall of Fame Platter. Customers who can eat a pyramid platter of 12 Famous Chili Dogs in the span of one four-hour sitting, earn their tickets to the Hall of Fame, a t-shirt, and eternal bragging rights.

Chunky’s Burgers & More

Location: San Antonio, TX
Challenge: The 4 Horsemen

According to the Travel Channel, the 4 Horsemen Burger is the hottest burger on the planet. Let’s breakdown why this meal could be an apocalyptic nightmare in your mouth.

In 1912, a pharmacologist by the name of Wilber Scoville developed a measurement system to rate chili peppers on their spiciness or Scoville Heat Units (SHU). His system measures the concentration of capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that creates the heat we experience in peppers. For comparison, bell peppers have an SHU of zero, while the mild Anaheim pepper measures between 500 to 1000 SHUs. Meanwhile, one of the world’s hottest pepper, Dragon’s Breath, tested at 2.48 million SHUs.

At Chunky’s Burgers, after signing a liability waiver, contestants receive one burger that they must consume within 25 minutes. The burger contains fresh Jalapeno (2,500 – 5,000 SHU) and Serrano (6,000 – 23,000 SHU) peppers, habanero (100,000 – 350,000) sauce, and Bhut Jolokia (100,000,000+ SHU), otherwise known as a Ghost Pepper and 2007’s winner of the world’s hottest pepper. Winners receive bragging rights and their picture on Chunky’s Burgers’ aptly named Wall of Flame.  

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Taqueros La Familia

Location: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Challenge: The Chupacabra

Enchilada lovers can rejoice because at Taqueros La Familia, you will have your fill. This family owned restaurant serves up authentic Mexican fare and diversifies with flavors from San Juan Capistrano’s local multi-ethnic community.

For the Chupacabra challenge, named after the legendary blood-drinking creature, contestants receive a massive 6-pound enchilada and side dishes. If a contestant finishes the entire meal within 30 minutes, they receive a generous prize package including the free enchilada, a shirt, and a VIP card that is good for a free taco during every visit for an entire year. The best prize perhaps, as stated on Taqueros La Familia’s website is “eternal glory.” Who wouldn’t want that?

Frank’s Diner

Location: Kenosha, WI
Challenge: Red Men

Operating since 1926, Frank’s Diner is a popular historical venue that has loved and served its community for almost a century. Throughout the years, this humble establishment has also hosted a multitude of surprising celebrities such as Bela Lugosi and Liberace. 

The Redman Challenge is the ultimate breakfast for diners with huge appetites. Contestants receive 45 minutes to clean their plates with no breaks. The hefty fare begins with a Fully Loaded Garbage Plate featuring hash browns, five meats, five cheeses, five vegetables, and five eggs. Next up is a simple two pieces of homemade toast, followed by a tall stack of three gigantic pancakes. Customers who successfully complete the challenge earn their meal for free and a t-shirt from Franks.

Munchies 420 Cafe

Challenge: Fire in Your Hole!
Location: Sarasota, FL

This themed café has all the comfort food, fried goodness, and extra cheese anyone could ever crave. Munchies 420 also offers wings in varying spice levels listed on their menu ranging from the mild “Garlic Parm” to the intimidating “Kick Yo’ Ass” level. While “Kick Yo’ Ass” sounds like a spice challenge in itself, Munchies 420 takes it one step further: Spice level “Fire in Your Hole”.

To participate in their challenge you must eat 10 Fire-in-Your-Hole level wings. This challenge is so intense that wings are only available by 24-hour advance notice and all contestants must sign a waiver. If your pain tolerance allows, winners will receive a t-shirt and their photo on a wall of fame.

Do you have ideas for a unique restaurant challenge, or thinking of adding a food challenge to your venue? Let us know in the comment section!

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