Everyone has seen those hardy speed-eaters cramming down dozens of wieners at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition on Coney Island every Fourth of July, while millions have watched Adam Richman of the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” scarf up anything that doesn’t have a pulse — and then some. These orgies of overeating can be entertaining, for sure. But what does that kind of food challenge really accomplish for a restaurant? Do these ...

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