Seabirds Says Goodbye — The Great Food Truck Race

by in Shows, September 5th, 2011

seabirds food truck
The second season of The Great Food Truck Race hit the road with eight new food trucks and a grand prize of $100,000. Each truck will try to pull out all their tricks to stay in the game but, ultimately, one truck must go each week. Every Monday, FN Dish brings you exclusive exit interviews with the latest Food Truck contestants to get the boot.

This week, Seabirds Food Truck couldn’t keep up with the crowds and found it difficult to adjust to Tyler’s costly speed-bump.

FN Dish: In the beginning of the episode, you said that you weren’t going to market the truck as vegan due to the demographic. Do you think that hurt or helped? It seems to me that you have a great story to tell.

Seabirds: I think it was smart not to tell people up front that we were a vegan truck because it can carry a stigma, and we didn’t want to turn any one off, especially in a small town like Manhattan, Kan. We decided to promote our food as local, fresh and organic instead, as it says on the side of our truck. It was great to tell our customers after they ate that, indeed, everything was vegan and see their reaction. So many people were shocked because they loved our food and never would have guessed vegan food could be so enjoyable. It was awesome to turn people on to vegan food; it was the most rewarding part about serving in Manhattan.

FN Dish: Your advantage was supposed to be a massive crowd in Aggieville and the crowds didn’t disappoint. So what was the ultimate downfall: menu items (like serving only pancakes) or wait time?

Seabirds: The crowds were great in Aggieville, but the crowds were almost even greater when all the other trucks parked together just outside the Aggieville limits. It wasn’t quite the advantage we were hoping for. But, in addition, we picked a menu that would have been high profit and easy to serve had we not had that speed bump that made us rethink serving portions and options. Having to change our menu at the last minute to 99 cent prices was almost impossible for us because we paid such a premium for local, organic and vegan products.

FN Dish: Someone waiting in line nicknamed the truck “Slowbirds.” Without taking shortcuts that would affect the quality of the end product, were there things you could do to produce the food faster (more efficient line, menu items with fewer components)?

Seabirds: Looking back, we could have made some changes to help us be quicker. Had we have known our price point was under a dollar, we could have made a more efficient menu. Also, Raya and I have never worked as line cooks or in a fast-passed kitchen. We just try to make really great, high quality food and that has been our focus over speed in the past. But since that “slowbird” weekend, I have made a lot of operational changes on the truck, and we are much quicker now.

FN Dish: Between Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver and Manhattan, Kan, which city had the most receptive crowds to Vegan food?

Seabirds: I absolutely loved the vegan crowd in Salt Lake City. They came out by the hundreds and many stood in line multiple times during our weekend there. They would bring us home-baked goods and coffee, help us find locations, save parking spots for us and gather up crowds — it was truly inspiring.

FN Dish: What’s the most important lesson your team learned on the road that you’ll take back to everyday life?

Seabirds: We had a really hard time in the competition because we did not want to jeopardize our food quality to make higher profit margins. We were introducing a lot of new people to vegan food and we didn’t want to do it an injustice. I think Manhattan was a perfect time for us to go home because we just couldn’t bring ourselves to serve anything less than perfection and that’s not how you win this competition. We may have been too slow, but our food rocked, and we felt that changing people’s minds about their diets was more important.

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Comments (123)

  1. Manhattan Mom says:

    Just have to post in regards to the Manhattan episode – my daughter and husband stood in line for 4 hours (she at Lime and he at Korilla). The people in line did not care at all about the comment made, and Lime had a huge line. After 4 hours my daughter finally got to the window – my husband never got food from Korilla, the line just stood still because they let people buy 20 and 30 of everything. People were cold and starving and just wanted to eat! They never heard anyone complain about "the comment", mostly because until it was on tv it was not an issue. The Roxie's truck was mad because they tried to park in a pizza place's lot that was about 400 feet from Aggieville, and were forced to move, so they ranted at the crowd behind the Christian college. Those guys said the same thing about simplifying for a small town while driving in their car, they just didn't use the obviously poilitically incorrect term "dumbing down". The editing for the episode was all contrived to play up the "rivalry" between the (obnoxious) Roxie's truck and Lime Truck.

  2. Manhattan Mom says:

    Part 2 (it said my comment was too long) – The Lime guys were friendly and funny, and at least fed people and didn't yell at them (good food at that). Lots of things were filmed and not used so that they could pump up Lime vs. Roxie drama on tv. The aired program was so far from the actual experiece that Saturday – really disappointed in what Food Network chose to compile.

  3. wjr158 says:

    What's the deal with Tyler? It is so obvious that he is favoring the Boston team. While the "dumbing down"comment was not too smart a thing to say, I really didn't think that Tyler needed to broadcast it. I hope the Boston thugs will go home soon.

    • tootiredtothink says:

      Ah everyone else was repeating the comment too. Korilla was using it to and the other trucks were going to be saying it as well. You would think he wouldn't say that to the food critic and the other teams wouldn't repeat it?

      The other Lime guy admitted it would doom their team and it was the worst thing to say.

  4. stuffed4now says:

    What this show has allowed makes people fools for following the rules. After Hodge Podge stole customers blatantly (and merrily) from Korilla and how they let the 'boys from Boston' try to push others around make any alleged cheating seem selective at best and RACIST at worst.

    Tyler has lost control and mixing drama with serious allegations of cheating when Tyler has an anything goes approach in other regards makes it any allegations of cheating in this game show format a nonsensical affair.

    Bottom-line is that they should have receipt based system of checks and balances where no team could tally on their own. Also, they should reveal how the FN selectively draws crowds and their behind the scenes coordination to inform the viewer of how this entertainment nonsense is engineered.

    I won't be watching this show any further…

    • tootiredtothink says:

      "ottom-line is that they should have receipt based system of checks and balances where no team could tally on their own."

      They do. That is why Korilla got caught cheating. If you had watched you would know they do receipts and keep them in a pile. They also have a cashbox. They turn over both at the end of each night.

      "After Hodge Podge stole customers blatantly (and merrily) from Korilla and how they let the 'boys from Boston' try to push others around make any alleged cheating seem selective at best and RACIST at worst. "

      Neither of those is cheating. Also remember the Korilla crew guy said you should ask before doing that? That means it is not a rule it's an etiquette issue.

      "FN selectively draws crowds"

      What the hell are you talking about? It's normal crowds going to food trucks.

  5. desmoinesdem says:

    The speed bumps detract from the contest and doesn't affect all the competitors equally. Of course it's easier to go vegetarian when your main food item is grilled cheese sandwiches.

    Starting the teams out with a challenge in each new town is enough.

    My son and I were rooting for Korilla and were also disappointed by the alleged cheating. It made me wonder whether Tyler had thoroughly checked their previous weeks' totals against receipts. Is it possible they were padding their cash box in the other towns too?

    • tootiredtothink says:

      I think they do check each town's recipts. I think Korilla after getting rewarded for bending the rules decided they could break them without getting caught.

      The speed bumps replicate what food trucks go through on a daily basis. Towing, power failure all real world issues that food trucks have to deal with.

      The speed bumps are a way to make it more competitive so you don't have a Nom Nom situation again. Nom Nom decimated each stop because they could serve the most food in the shortest amount of time plus they knew how to get the best stops by networking. Other teams this season know the networking routine.

    • Bklyn says:

      I don't think they padded their cash box in the other towns because they had long lines and their food was a hit with the locals. I do find it disappointing and an embarrassment for them, that they went out like this though, especially because they did not make the least amount of money.

  6. @Captiosus says:

    I'd LOVE to comment about the Memphis episode, but.. where is it? I couldn't catch it on the normal night and time, and I haven't seen it broadcast on FN since. It's not online, it's not on FN OnDemand. I'm getting the feeling that the ratings for this show are going in the tank for a number of reasons people on this very blog have commented on.

    As for the show itself, so far Season 2 has been completely boring to me. I thought the concept was to see which truck had the best food, not which truck could survive seemingly arbitrary, and mostly ridiculous, speed bumps. There's already enough challenge in bringing these folks out of their element and making them sell in completely unknown locations without screwing over the customers waiting for food by intentionally gimping the trucks. A case in point is Seabirds lost because they were out of their element and just couldn't make it work, with or without the Truck Stop, even with the prime location. That's enough drama the show needs without pointless restrictions.

    If I wanted to see chefs having to prepare dishes with oddball restrictions, I'd watch Chopped and Iron Chef. At least on those shows there aren't customers waiting in line who get shafted.

    • tootiredtothink says:

      " A case in point is Seabirds lost because they were out of their element and just couldn't make it work, with or without the Truck Stop, even with the prime location."

      The Seabirds they were too slow which cost them. It has nothing to do with outside their element. It was being slow when they needed. They said they have fixed those issues because they learned that it was a problem for them.

      "At least on those shows there aren't customers waiting in line who get shafted."

      Ah you must think that when a restaurant runs out of the special due to insane demand people get shafted. No they aren't. When you go to a place you admit you take the risk they may not have something for you. It's not about entitling your fat ass.

    • GoFish says:

      I totally agree with your comments. I was watching the show to see what kind of food they were creating and selling to the public not how they were going to deal with curve balls. Frankly, this year it's just a "hodge podge" of challenges, that are stupid and senseless. The need to add "drama" to this program is so obviously forced and unimaginative.

      WTF with tootiredtothink? Go to therapy, your hostility over a poster's opinion on a TV show is down right scary.

  7. Chris says:

    As a restaurant owner I understand the speed bumps even though I don't like them. In the few years that I have owned my business I have been through blackouts like Hodge Podge (where did they come up with that name), I have run out of meat and was forced to sell vegetarian dishes (it was an insane day). People kept coming and all the markets were closed so we came up with dishes on the fly. So far it seems like the speed bumps are possibilities of what can happen to a truck on a day to day basis like flat tires and cops making you change locations even though you have an insane line (saw it happen to Korilla in NY). Like I said, I DO NOT agree with them adding speed bumps this season but at least they upped the prize money. They have officially become scripted reality tv. Feel like I'm watching VH1 or something. Bring rules of season one back.

    • tootiredtothink says:

      So you want a repeat of what happened in season one in which one truck blew every other truck of the water by several thousand dollars each city?

      • Chris says:

        Say what you will but they didn't win season one. The burger guys did. This season still managed to have a team that "consistently" did better than the other teams and only lost because of the alleged cheating (would like to hear the full story on that one, can't wait). These other trucks needed to learn what they should have learned a long time ago, which is how to move your product faster. The Boston guys learned it as they went.

        • tootiredtothink says:

          Yeah they lost by a footrace by a mere matter of minutes. Not based on how many truck stops they won. The greasy faces win didn't make people happy.

          Alleged? It was plainly written on their faces that they had cheated.

    • tootiredtothink says:

      Pretty sure the Hodge Podge crew did say where they got the name perhaps in their bio page and video?

      Anyway it's because they sell a Hodge Podge of food and well the chef's name is Hodgeson.

  8. Val says:

    I found the Seabirds so whinny that I wanted them out from day 1.

  9. KaJo says:

    I was disappointed that Korilla cheated, but I also thought the week they didn't do the sausage challenge and instead kept the meat to sell wasn't of the spirit of fair play.

  10. Bklyn says:

    Is it only me, or does anyone else thinks that Tyler Florence is corny? I do not find him to be an exciting host. There is not much gusto in his personality on TGFTR and when he does attempt to show it (usually when he calls the contestants about the speed bump), it falls flat.

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