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5 Tips for Hosting an Eating Contest

1. Establish the rules clearly.

Make sure that your rules are clear for competitors. For starters, you should establish whether participants are trying to eat the largest amount of food in a specific time or trying to finish a set amount of food quickly. You will also want to address the nitpickier aspects of food contest rules, such as whether dunking, the act of dipping food into a liquid such as water before eating it, is allowed.

2. Rent a suitable venue.

You’ll want a venue that has space for contestants to eat and spectators to watch them. Depending on how many contestants and how many spectators you anticipate, the size of the space will vary. If you expect a large turnout, you might want a venue large enough for a stage area so that contestants are easily visible to spectators.

3. Have a convenient and easy registration and ticket purchase process.

To encourage people to spectate and participate, make sure that your registration and ticket purchase process is convenient. Ideally, optimize your registration page for mobile so that your supporters can register from wherever they are. Additionally, include a link to your registration page when you promote your event through your marketing channels.

4. Enlist volunteers to help with the event.

If your competition has multiple heats or features multiple contests, you’ll want some help to keep things organized and keep the event on track. Recruit volunteers to usher contestants to the correct places, bring food out, time the contestants, and otherwise keep the event running smoothly.

5. Hire a cleanup crew.

Eating contests can get very messy—you’ll need a dedicated plan for cleanup after the event is over. A professional cleaning crew will be able to efficiently and thoroughly clean the venue and save your staff some hassle.

Foods for an Eating Contest

Not sure what food you should use for your eating contest? Here are a few popular ones for eating contests:

  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Pies
  • Pancakes
  • Pizzas

If you’re interested in a food that isn’t on this list, feel free to use it instead! You can also try to tie the food back to your nonprofit’s mission. For example, if your nonprofit is dedicated to supporting Japanese communities, you could pick foods from Japan such as sushi or gyoza.

Eating Contest Safety Considerations

Although eating contests are popular to participate in and watch, they can be dangerous for participants. Here are a few ways you can ensure that everyone stays safe:

  • Purchase event liability insurance. In the event something goes wrong, your insurance will be able to help cover expenses if you are found responsible.
  • Have an EMT on site. For the safety of your participants, have an EMT in case of any emergency health situations.
  • Ask participants to sign a waiver. Warn participants of the potential health risks and ask them to sign an event liability waiver that absolves your organization of responsibility should anything happen.

Remember that the safety of your participants is paramount—don’t let any health incidents get in the way of you having an entertaining event!