Food Court Wars: Casual Comfort vs. Healthy Offerings

by in Shows, July 21st, 2013

Food Court Wars Episode 3
Food Court WarsOn Food Court Wars, two teams of aspiring restaurant owners battle it out to win their very own food court restaurant worth $100,000. Through a set of challenges that test their menu offerings and marketability, the team that makes the most sales on grand-opening day wins.

On tonight’s episode at the Wausau Center in Wausau, Wis., two teams with polar opposite food concepts attempted to win over the locals’ appetites and score a food court restaurant. Tyler, chef and owner of a local restaurant, The Black Sheep, and his employee Sarah, the managing waitress, wanted to open up a comfort food spot called Casual Joe’s. Carlie and Brianna, two roller derby girls, wanted to open The Wrap Trap, a healthy eatery that offers salads and wraps. But which team would have what it takes to win the battle in a town with a soft spot for comfort food?

In the first challenge, Casual Joe’s had trouble pinpointing their concept, which was to be casual comfort food. Instead Tyler went the fine dining route and created a dish that the taste testers, made up of mall walkers, found to be disconnected from their brand. Wrap Trap took the win, but the biggest critique was their brand’s name, which could easily be mistaken for “rat trap” — so they were thereafter to be known as Carlie & Company.

Wrap Trap

For their marketing challenge, Carlie and Brianna proved they had the passion for healthy food while serving their dishes at a kids’ event at the YMCA. Unfortunately, Casual Joe’s had trouble getting their message out at the stock car race where they were serving. Their marketing efforts may have been unimpressive, but luckily their food was well-received. In a state known for cheese and sausages, Casual Joe’s seemed to be the perfect fit, but how would they be received on grand-opening day?

Casual Joes

Both teams had their share of challenges during their grand openings. Even with the five minutes of extra time that they had won in the first challenge, Carlie failed to get the food ready in time for their start, and Brianna forgetting to write their signature dishes on the menu board was not helping in sales. And at Casual Joe’s, Sarah had an emotional breakdown when her dad, who had previously been unsupportive of her career path, showed up to support her. By the end, Casual Joe’s managed to outsell Carlie & Company with their menu of Wisconsin-style comfort food that everyone loved.

Watch Food Court Wars on Sundays at 8pm/7c.

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Comments (11)

  1. Russ says:

    Wish that the producers would follow up and let us know how the winners of food court wars did or if they even opened!!

  2. Barchere says:

    I don't like this show! What happened to The Food Truck Wars? He seemed to favor the one group over the other in last weeks show. He was told about the taco's not having a lot of flavor, but didn't relay that to them, at least not on camera. Its really boring! Bring back The Food Truck Competition, please!

  3. Kathi says:

    I have to say I was disappointed for the Carlie & Company gals. I really liked their concept and health-oriented menu, and thought they were much more polished and advanced in their planning compared to the Casual Joe's team. I hope Carlie and Brianna will find the funding they need to open their restaurant. All the best to them!

  4. bjloup3 says:

    I was surprised that Casual Joe's & Carlie's didn't have a smoother prep, with already owning/working at restaurants. Never said who would be cooking at CJ for mall location. I would imagine the restaurant would be Tyler's focus. Really would have like to seen Carlie & Company win because of the healthier fare. Not sure how well they would have sustained though. Healthier fare mall restaurants haven't done well in malls in my area in Northern Illinois. They last a year or two and then close.

    This episode really made it evident that both members of the team need good cooking skills to succeed with the prep time limits.

    And yes, would like to see a follow-up of winners to find out how they were doing.

  5. Donny P says:

    Food Truck, Food Truck, Food Truck. Auuughhhghghghhgh I need Food Truck

  6. MichaelLeeSmyth says:

    The point is who brought it to the table and got the job done. CJ's proved in the end that they were the correct choice to win according to how the game is played…healthy or not. You cannot force people to buy food they do not want to eat. Unless it is GMO contaminated and you live in the US.

  7. susiofanabba says:

    I am glad I was not in charge of picking the winners! I wanted both teams to win! I am happy for Casual Joe's and hope they are doing well.
    And I really hope that Carlie and Brianna get their place. I love that they had gluten free options! :D It is so hard to eat out with gluten intolerance, so it was nice to see it being advertised :) Even if the main items were not mentioned.

  8. Christopher says:

    I live in Wausau and work a couple blocks away from this mall. @Russ I can tell you that Casual Joe's is indeed open. What people don't know is that Carlie & Co's "spot" was borrowed as there is a Stir Fry 88 restaurant there. Can't help but think they layout of the place hurt them as it only has this tiny window between the front and the back.

    As for Casual Joe's I worry about them. The first week they were PACKED but lately when I go to the mall they are empty. The prices on their menu are what is really hurting them in my opinion. The amount of food you get for the price is not a good value. We have regular brat fries in this area where you can get a brat for $1.50. Why would I pay another $3.50 just to get caramelized onions on one? Make it 2 for $5 and you're talking. Or make the brats yourself and make them a little bigger than a normal brat for the $5. Team up with a local butcher company for a signature brat.

    On my visit I went before I saw the show. I was talking with a co-worker about problems I saw as a customer. A woman overheard me and politely, but firmly, stood up for them. After seeing the show I think that woman was the mother of the female owner.

    I think they need to survey their customers after the first month and get some feedback on how they're doing. Then act on that before they go down in flames.

  9. Dawn says:

    I loved Carlie's concept and menu. I am glad they are a couple but for business Carlie needs someone who is more of a take charge proactive business partner with quick problem solving skills. Not someone who needs so much direction. Personally I wish them the best. Their idea is great and definitly could sell . I think Carlie is definitely the person to get the job done! Good luck ladies! I'll b visiting Wisconsin for the first time in October maybe you will have a place I can eat at by than. I hope so! All the customers seemed to love your food.

  10. hey go to vast lengths in this struggle for mindshare, encouraging the consumer to participate with their brand as much and as often as possible. Health care marketing is no different.

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