It is indeed a different way to SELL a restaurant. Lottery's are not legal in most states, so it has to be a "Skills Contest", therefor the essay. It also gives us a better chance to take a peek into who will be taking over our business and our customers. Different from a lottery, there is no element of chance involved. We are reading and scoring each essay we receive based on specific judging criteria. No pulling a name out of a hat here, but your odds of winning are certainly much better than with the lottery. Heck if you have talent, are passionate about the business and can effectively share your dream - who knows what you can accomplish with $199! My sister spends more on a pair of shoes.
On the flip side, it certainly offers a unique way to BUY a restaurant as well. It may open the door to someone who would never be able to afford to do it under any other circumstances. Winning it Free and Clear is a wonderfulway to go. By involving our staff, we assure buy-in from them, and hope to smooth the transition for the new owner should they choose to keep the staff on. Even if the winner hates our concept and wants to start from scratch they have a fully equipped building and a great step up due to lack of a financial monkey on their back.
Love it or hate it, you gotta appreciate the creative spirit. In the end, we hope to find a wonderful person and help them start their own business.