Raleigh, NC (RestaurantNews.com) Very few people can hold their breath for 1 minute and 25 seconds.
And only one, almost inexplicably a 100-pound (soaking wet) petite mother of four, can eat 7 stacked hamburgers – 55 oz. (3 and a half pounds) of ground beef in that same time, a world-record in the 55 Challenge.
Yet, it happened this past weekend, as Molly Schuyler, the #1 ranked independent competitive eater in the world, topped her own world record for the second consecutive year in the Hwy 55 Burger, Shakes & Fries World Hamburger Eating Championship, the only officially sanctioned hamburger-eating event in 2018 by All Pro Eating.
At the event, Hwy 55, the Mount Olive, NC- based highly decorated retro-themed burger joint, put its world-famous 55 Challenge on center stage. In the 55 Challenge, competitive eaters see who can devour seven stacked Hwy 55 burgers in the fastest time.
“I haven’t slept for four days and haven’t eaten in three,” said Schuyler pre-competition and who flew 2300 miles for the $2500 prize. “But Hwy 55 is like family to me. And when I get in a zone, I stay in it until I do what I came to do.”
“We have just witnessed the most amazing eating exhibition in history,” said Hwy 55 president Kenney Moore, who founded the brand 27 years ago and flipped every burger in the brand’s first two years. “Our 55 Challenge is important to the brand despite its 90% fail rate. It is not meant for the weary kind or faint of heart or belly. Molly is the brand’s biggest fan and the most spectacular eater phenom in the world. She simply continues to amaze.”
At any of Hwy 55’s 137 locations, guests can take the 55 Challenge themselves. If they can consume seven patties and at least four trimmings on a bun with fries and a 24-ounce drink in 30 minutes, its free and Hwy 55 will put the guest’s name on its web site for bragging rights. If the guest is unable to finish the meal in 30 minutes, it costs $29.99.
“The World Hamburger Eating Championship is officially sanctioned and has become the most influential eating championships for our sport,” said Todd Greenwald, chairman of All Pro Eating Promotions, who also sanctions wings eating and other nationally-recognized and sanctioned competitions. “When Molly’s jaw works, our jaws drop. She is a special woman with a once in a lifetime talent.”
The World Hamburger Eating Championship is Hwy 55’s foray into full-on competitive eating although the brand is well-known by the burger-loving public as well as the restaurant and franchising industries. Hwy 55 has won BurgerBusiness.com’s cherished “Best Burger” nod. In 2014, Franchise Business Review named Hwy 55 one of the best restaurant franchises in the country. The brand also was recently named a top 500 franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine for the third consecutive year and a “Next 20” restaurant brand by Nation’s Restaurant News.
Once a well-kept secret in tiny but vibrant Mount Olive, North Carolina, Hwy 55 now operates 137 restaurants and has sold the rights to more than 1,000 franchise locations around the world. Hwy 55 has also signed franchise area agreements for Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky and southern Indiana and Virginia in the past year. The brand plans to open approximately 25 more locations in 2018.