Customer Contests: Wanna be a Winner?


Summer is the perfect time to host a contest in your operation that’s sure to get people talking… and visiting your operation!

  • Poetry contest: Ask kids and other writer wannabes to write a review of your restaurant or a specialty menu item in the format of a poem. “Publish” the winner on your website, in your next ad campaign, or in an updated menu. For musically-inclined guests, ask participants to write and perform a jingle for your restaurant and run the winner on air or post it to your YouTube channel.
  • Eating contest: Instead of encouraging diners to turn themselves into gluttons, ask them to “name that dish” and blindfold contestants. Or ask all guests to name the top three ingredients in a dish they ordered.
  • Recipe contest: Involve at-home chefs to enter their own recipes. The winners have their items placed on your menu, complete with their name and bragging rights!

When running a contest, remember that the prize has to be as fun as the contest. Here are some ideas:

  • Eat free for a year (or once a month for a year)
  • Private party for 20 (in your operation, of course)
  • Entertainment package – Partner with your suppliers as well as local manufacturers or nearby businesses for trade ideas or ways they can join in on the contest. Be open to all ideas, but remember the better the prize, the greater the participation.

For any contest that you run, be sure to keep the entry forms and turn those names and addresses into a valuable e-mail and mailing list for your next promotion.

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