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The third season of The Great Food Truck Race took the remaining five trucks more than halfway across the country to Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark., this week. With a grand prize of $50,000 on the line and the chance to keep their truck, each team tries to pull out all their tricks to stay in the game, but ultimately one truck must go each week. Every Sunday night, FN Dish will bring you exclusive exit interviews with the latest Food Truck contestants to get the boot.
This week the teams struggled with a new challenge: dealing with a college town. Prices, menus and strategies all needed to reflect their new demographic. Between location issues, timing, the Speed Bump and the Truck Stop, Coast of Atlanta couldn’t rally from behind this week and, unfortunately, the three sous chefs, Tawanaca, Lena and Mike, had to give the keys of their truck back to Tyler.
This week, the team dealt with numerous issues: location, timing, you were out of food at one point and it never seemed like you were open. What element set the team back the most?
The element that set us back the most was timing. In this competition, timing and location are everything and in a small town like Fayetteville, those deficiencies were magnified because there was such a small area available for the food trucks to set up, shop around and maintain good foot traffic. We failed to secure a spot inside the farmers’ market downtown and that killed us. We had to leave the bar strip for more than an hour to go shopping and those were more sales we missed. We wasted a lot of time.
Out of all the Speed Bumps and Truck Stops, which one did you learn the most from? Which one did you like the least and why?
We learned a lot over the course of this journey. The Hollywood Speed Bump kept us in the game, the nopales (cactus) Truck Stop and Vegan Speed Bump in Flagstaff brought out our collective versatility and creativity, the Ballpark Truck Stop was just plain old fun and the Boot Speed Bump actually helped us out in Amarillo. The least-liked Speed Bump by far was shutting our doors early on a beautiful afternoon. Having to shut our doors for any other reason than being out of food was just a killer. We hated having to turn away a line of people at the farmers’ market and having to leave a mob of hungry people on the strip to go shopping. The biggest lesson we learned was that proper planning is everything. We played it a little too conservative with our shopping on a few occasions and it ended up hurting us in the long-run. We failed to call ahead to see if we could park at a couple of events and it really cost us.
Fill in the blank: When the cameras turned off _______________(food truck/ team member) does the best Tyler Florence impression.
Mike (from Pizza Mike’s) did a pretty good impression of Tyler, especially since he always seemed to have shades of his own on.
This week, Momma’s Grizzly Grub got lucky with a penalty of just $250 after destroying the sidewalk light, which then set the two of you apart by $24. How did you feel about their stroke of luck?
Momma’s got a big break with the help of the Mayor of Fayetteville. Even if they hadn’t had the accident, however, they would have had us by $274. With that said, we think the total cost to fix the light should have come out of their cash. If we could have sold just three more dinners, we would have moved on.
Tyler said, “There’s no doubt that you guys can cook.” Do you still plan on opening a food truck and if so, will it be the same cuisine?
We are looking at our options for opening a truck in the near future. The Atlanta metropolitan area hasn’t been very food truck-friendly although it is trying. The market has really only been open here for about four years or so. It’s nothing like L.A., Miami or New York. We plan to stick with the seafood theme — it’s the food we love to cook and we got a great reception from pretty much everyone. Seafood is such a versatile and universal option when it comes to cooking. It plays well with so many different flavor profiles and almost every culture in the world enjoys it.