Eating a burger in the 2021 Downtown Sioux Falls Burger Battle doesn’t mean you’re just supporting local restaurants this year.
For every burger sold during the Eighth Annual Burger Battle, another $1 will be donated to a local Sioux Falls charity aimed at ending human trafficking in South Dakota.
The annual competition lets Sioux Falls restaurants compete head-to-head for the title of best burger in town, hoping to draw customers to restaurants during a notoriously slow time of the year.
And Matt Paulson, founder of Sioux Falls business and financial media company MarketBeat, wanted to up the ante this year.
Paulson had originally partnered with Chef Lance’s on Phillips in the burger battle, pledging to donate up to $10,000 to Call to Freedom, a local charity fighting to end human trafficking in South Dakota, if the restaurant’s burger won the competition.
He believed the collaboration was a “win-win-win situation,” donating to a cause he believed in, helping support a local restaurant and adding exposure to his own business.
“My philosophy is that my business will do well when the community does well,” Paulson said about the original partnership. “If I can help other businesses in town be successful, I think that will ultimately help my business be successful, too.”
But, after talking with other restaurant owners, he has chosen to switch to support all 24 restaurants involved in this year’s competition and increase his possible donation to Call to Freedom.
More than 19,000 burgers were reportedly sold at the 16 participating DTSF restaurants in last year’s competition. With a record-breaking 24 restaurants participating in 2021, Paulson expects even more people to participate this year.
“I’ll be making a donation of $10,000, regardless,” Paulson said. “But I’m fully expecting to make a $20,000 donation.”
Burger tasters will rank their selections in five categories: patty, creativity, toppings, bun and customer service. Tasters can vote through the Downtown Sioux Falls app, the DTSF Digital Passport.
“I am extremely excited for this pivot to promote all of the businesses doing burger battle this year,” said Sadie Swier, DTSF community outreach coordinator. “We love to see collaborations between restaurants, businesses and charities, and this will be a fun way to promote this year’s Burger Battle.”
Swier aims to try 12 burgers this year, contributing $12 to the MarketBeat donation herself.
“I think it gives people an incentive to eat at every downtown Sioux Falls restaurant now,” Paulson said. “No matter where you eat a burger at, it’ll help Call to Freedom and highlight their work.”
The Burger Battle starts Saturday and runs through Jan. 31.
Have any business tips or story ideas? Email reporter Makenzie Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org