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- A Dunkin Donuts commercial claims that its iced coffee is sufficient reward for a friend coming to help move.
- This Whataburger ad which airs from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Anime & Manga
- Inverted in an episode of Black God, where a girl is revealed to be an Improbable Weapon User after being bought a bowl of ramen.
- Tubby also receives this treatment in an episode of the Little Lulu anime after inadvertently finding Lulu's pop's lucky gold piece in the mud, while making a mud cake to pass off as a real cake ( He and the others ate the entire cake that was intended for Lulu's pop).
- Par for the course in Toriko, since the food's what they're after in the first place.
- The "Half-Price Club" in Ben-To is dedicated to getting half-price Bento at supermarkets. It's a fighting anime. The hero is knocked unconscious twice in his first two attempts to get cheap bento. The floors of supermarkets are left strewn with unconscious and bleeding shoppers.
- In Silver Spoon, the standard reward for doing something good (like participating in the campus clean-up or winning the athletic competition with the nearby industrial school) is a Mongolian barbecue.
- Old West: when Grace Glossy realizes she can't fix by herself the damages in her ranch, she reluctantly hires the muscle of Rattlesnake Jake. After the hard day's work, she rewards him with a meal instead of money like he expected. The outlaw isn't pleased until he realizes the meal to be the best he's had in ages.
- In the next chapter, Jake unexpectedly teaches Grace's son to overcome his visual impairment. Grateful for this, Grace makes Jake another meal.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- Seven Samurai: the peasants can only offer food to the samurai they hire to defend them from bandits. Even still, this means that the peasants don't have enough rice for themselves and must subsist on millet.
- Ghostbusters (1984): Venkmann very formally gives Egon candy as a reward, saying, "You've earned it."
- In Dragon Bones the heroes, having eaten nothing but stale bread and mouldy cheese for quite some time, appreciate their edible reward for saving a village very much.
- There is a Clifford the Big Red Dog book where Clifford is rewarded with some meat by a meat truck driver after helping him with his truck while looking for Emily Elizabeth.
- Invoked by Ciaphas Cain in Death Or Glory; after spending the entire novel leading an epic trek to safety through Ork infested territory he's pleased to realise that the regiment that's been sent to meet his group of ragtag survivors is Valhallan and promptly asks for his long awaited cup of tanna.
- Played straight in Survivor. The winners of a challenge with food as the prize might get more to eat after the challenge then than the losers do in the entire period between tribal councils.
- Referenced in How I Met Your Mother: People helping friends move in exchange for beer and pizza.
- Several rewards in Kid Nation were food items.
- Exalted: Sidereals working for the Bureau of Destiny receive their salaries in the form of Ambrosia and Quintessence. Both are edible and delicious. Young Sidereals are advised not to eat their paycheques.
- Several role-playing games using counters for 'rubber points' (e.g. bennies, FATE-points et sim.) explicitly advise against using hard candies as markers because they tend to be eaten instead uf used.
- In Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, your reward for killing Dracula is occasionally curry... the recurring food thrown by Soma Cruz.
- World of Warcraft tends to have these, with the reward being a healing item which is slightly better than the ones available at the time.
- Common in Final Fantasy XI where some quests have non craftable food as reward, since food is Serious Business because of the stats this is often falls in either Too Awesome to Use or Joke Item.
- In The Elder Scrolls, food is pretty much Vendor Trash, apart from the fact you can use some of it in alchemy. Some quests give you it as a reward as flavor though, usually if you've helped someone dirt-poor or just incredibly stingy. At least one quest in Oblivion sees you get a free beer placed on a bar next to you in the course of a quest.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, several quests end with the offer of free food or drink. Thanks to the need to eat in Hardcore Mode and the Hyperactive Metabolism otherwise present in the game, this often amounts to free healing. For instance, helping save a wasteland rancher couple's mutant two-headed cows earns you ten pounds of steak, good for at least 300 points of health.
- In Sam And Max Hit The Road, the Bigfoot shaman rewards Max with his prized medallion after he and Sam save the day; Max wastes little time in unwrapping his reward and wolfing it down.
"Mmm, chocolatey, foil-wrapped goodness!"
- Quoth President Ronnie in Bad Dudes: "Thanks for saving me, Dudes! Let's go for a burger. Ha ha ha!"
- In Super Mario 64, Princess Peach rewards Mario for saving her and her castle by baking him a cake.
- In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser is sent a cake for his part in stopping Fawful's plot.
- Similarly, but more useful in the long term, there's a couple of side-events in Tales of the Abyss where you get recipes for helping people out. Cooking can be an important game mechanic for healing up between battles, so it's better than it sounds.
- Kingdom of Loathing: The reward for clearing the cellar of the Typical Tavern is three glasses of Typical Tavern Swill, equivalent to a basic mixed drink (which can further be improved with the Disco Bandit skill Advanced Cocktailcrafting). Also, the final reward for finishing the side quest given from Inside Degrassi Knoll are a half-dozen Mushroom Fermenting Solutions, which can possibly be crafted into epic-level booze, some of the best in the game, depending on what mushrooms you ferment.
- In this game, edibles are an important part of gameplay (they allow you to get more done each day, and may help you level up or grant a temporary status effect) so these are actually quite useful rewards.
- It may be worth noting as well that meat itself is used as the game's main currency, both justifying and parodying the tendency for random monsters to be carrying money, often proportional to their difficulty level. However, meat can't be eaten, because who would be crazy enough to eat money?
- Portal: GlaDOS claims that the reward for completing the test chambers is cake. Unfortunately...
- ADOM: the reward you get from the Tiny Girl for rescuing her puppy from a scary cave? A piece of candy. The actual reward is the cave itself - it's a good place to train your stats, and has a guaranteed vault at the bottom.
- In Ōkami, various characters offer you food after you've helped them out. Some, however, request that you wait until it's night.
- In the Animal Crossing games, sometimes the villagers will give you fruit that is foreign to your town as a reward for doing them a favor.
- Pretty much the whole point of Bar Oasis. Your goal is to try to fill the titular bar's shelves with alcohol. Though this can be inverted in Bar Oasis 2's "A Day in the Bar" mode. In that mode, if you do poorly, you lose those bottles of liquor.
- In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep the Million Dreams Award in Disney Town is a special type of ice cream, the particular variety of which is different depending on which of the playable characters receives it.
- In the Monster Hunter series, the reward for completing certain quests is an upgrade to the Felyne kitchen (though not food itself). This includes adding additional menu items to the kitchen, upgrading the quality of an ingredient, adding a rotisserie spit that lets the player cook multiple steaks at once, etc.
- A darker variation occurs as of Survival of the Fittest v5, in which BKA winners also get food along with a new weapon. BKA stands for Best Kill Award.
- On Homestar Runner, The Cheat is frequently paid in food for his (lackluster) animating skills:
- After seeing the music video for "Everybody to the Limit", Strong Bad offers to buy the Cheat a pizza.
- In "New Boots", Strong Bad decides the Cheat's cartoon is worth "an iron cup full of Brunswick stew".
Strong Bad: But lemme tell ya's. With a little extra effort, it would have been a trophy full of Steak-umms.
- Coach Z offers the Cheat a slice of "chin-strap pizza" for doing a video for Coach Z's "Rap Song".
- Whateley Universe: Clover is rewarded a cookie by Palantir for helping with their mission.
- “Good work, Clover!” Pally said. “Have a cookie!”
- Subverted in one episode of Doug, where Doug finds an envelope containing a huge wad of money. Everyone (including the police, who give him back the envelope after it goes unclaimed for a whole month) tells him to keep the money, but he eventually discovers it was lost by a slightly loopy elderly woman. He does the right thing and returns the money, and she rewards him for his good deed with a pack of chewing gum.
- In The Critic, Jay discovers that the Oscar statuettes are actually chocolate.
"Now I want one even more!"
- And yes, he does eat one.
- At the end of the Mr. Bogus episode "Kung Fu Campout", Tommy offers a slice of cake to Bogus and Brattus, even after their attempts to claim the cake for themselves end up to naught. Justified, since Tommy probably did it as his way of thanking his two miniature companions for keeping Ratty and Mole away from the cake.
- This is very common in the more traditional parts of the U.S. It is understood that when you enlist a gang of your friends and acquaintances for some big task like moving or yard/farm work, you will at the very least provide lunch or dinner.
- Beer can be a "currency" among friends for small favours.
- In Canada, a case of beer is a usually unstated automatic reward for helping someone move, fix their car, name your task that takes a good few hours out of a day.
- "I'll give you beer if you edit my paper" is not an uncommon sentence among university students.
- Lollipops at the doctor's office. Alternatively, the jar of sweets on the teacher's desk.
- Going out for pizza or ice cream after winning a ball game or getting an "A" on one's report card.
- Fast food contests such as McDonald's Monopoly and its clones offer numerous prizes, with the most common being "instant win" coupons for free food (usually items that don't carry game pieces).