Who doesn’t love a Boustan shawarma? They’re loaded with tomatoes, turnips,* rotisserie chicken and a drizzle of garlic sauce. They’re easily inhaled after a long night of drinking — the onion breath, an odorous reminder that your evening is at an end — and they’re cheap.
But the classic sandwich is not the only thing on the menu (which includes hummus, falafel, and those delicious potatoes) and now you can have all the Boustan you could want. All you need to do is make a little video.
On June 1, the popular Montreal restaurant chain announced the start of an official TikTok contest. It’s called the #BoustanChallenge and the winners get free food for a year.
“Yes, you read that right, 1 year...of Boustan,” said the company in a Facebook post.
To enter, contestants are asked to submit “a video featuring Boustan” using the TikTok app and post it with the hashtag #BoustanChallenge.
The deadline to enter is June 30 and the winner will be chosen on July 6.
“It’s a cool idea,” explained Georges Alexandar, Boustan’s marketing director.
“We saw some other brands doing it and we see the potential TikTok has as a creative space, so we decided to go forward with it.”
TikTok users have all sorts of tools at their disposal including filters and an extensive library of sound effects to make the best Boustan video they can.
Alexandar said the challenge is more-or-less a free-for-all as contestants are allowed to produce any kind of video they choose, as long as it includes the restaurant or its food in some way.
“Carte blanche,” he said. “You have full creativity, as long as you feature Boustan.”
There are a few examples already posted on TikTok.
First prize will be awarded to the video that gets the most likes. The other victors will be selected by Boustan staff.
The winners will be rewarded with gift cards pre-loaded with 52 Boustan meals, which is one meal per week for a year.
Boustan was founded in 1986 and became the local institution it is today under the ownership of Imad Smaidi, a Lebanese immigrant who previously studied engineering.
Affectionately known, according to the Montreal Gazette, as Mr. Boustan to his customers, his shop was a favourite of many notable citizens, reportedly including athletes, actors, and former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Boustan is now under the ownership of Emad Saad and boasts over a dozen locations.*
*This article has been updated.