Interview with the Latest Food Truck Team Out of the Race by Joseph Erdos in Shows, August 25th, 2013
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The seven remaining teams had a wet start in Portland on Episode 2 of The Great Food Truck Race. With little foot traffic, sales were slow, and each team was stuck with its chosen location because of Portland’s street vendor regulations. Boardwalk Breakfast Empire and Tikka Tikka Taco chose to set up residence at local food cart pods, whereas the other teams partnered with local business, but neither location was more advantageous than the other. Besides that, a set of surprises from Tyler made for an even more challenging weekend. But one team that was headed for success suddenly took a turn for the worse.
Just as the teams started to rank up sales, Tyler issued a Speed Bump, banning any restocking of food and forcing the teams to stretch what they already had. Later he surprised the teams with a Truck Stop challenge: The teams would have to exclusively sell dishes made with an exotic local shellfish called geoduck, priced at $10 or less. Once the teams reached $200 in sales, they would have the chance of racing to find a token worth $500 at a nearby park.
Despite a day of inconsistent sales, Boardwalk Breakfast Empire reached the sales goal first and quickly made their way to the park. Unfortunately, after a number of wrong turns, they missed their opportunity of getting there first. The ladies of Bowled and Beautiful snatched up the token. But Boardwalk wasn’t the only team plagued by bad luck: The girls of The Frankfoota Truck were only four sales shy of making the sales goal, but they ran out of product. It was between them and Boardwalk at elimination, with a slim $72 difference in profits. In the end, Boardwalk’s misfortune cost them the race.
FN Dish caught up with the team from Boardwalk Breakfast Empire to chat about their time on the show.
Coming from owning a restaurant, how different was it for you to adapt to a food truck? Or was it no different at all?
It was a little bit confined, in terms of space, but less confining in the figurative sense, in that the overhead is less and the business is portable. However, cooking and selling food is cooking and selling food.
In Portland, it almost looked like you guys wouldn’t have any customers in the food truck park you chose to sell from, but business picked up. How was the reception in Portland? Did the fact that you guys created a specialty, the Portland Pancake Club, help sales?
We wanted to be in a place where there were other trucks selling food and not on an “island” for ourselves. We didn’t know how the food park would look from just speaking to the owner on the phone. Once we arrived at the location, we were a bit disappointed. The rain didn’t help either. However, as the day wore on, we did have some sales — but not enough. And, yes, it definitely helped that we created a dish especially for Portland.
If it wasn’t for getting lost on the way to the park to find the token worth $500, your team would have been spared from elimination. But in the end, only $72 separated your team from the Frankfoota girls. Do you have any regrets? Do you think you should have sold your dishes at a higher price point or possibly have chosen a different venue to sell at?
We have no regrets about what we cooked or how we sold our food. We got many rave reviews on our food. We worked well as a team and nailed the geoduck challenge. If we didn’t get lost, we likely would have made it to the park first. We were very proud of that. We all need a few navigation lessons — that is our only regret!
At elimination, Tyler delivered the good news that the profits from all the food truck sales from that weekend would be donated to the charity you founded, Sea Bright Rising, which benefits the victims of Hurricane Sandy. What did that news mean for you?
We were thrilled to hear Tyler say that, and so appreciative of the generosity of Food Network. People assume that since the storm was 10 months ago, that things are back to normal. But that is far from the truth. Sea Bright still needs lots of help, and lots of money, so the attention that this will bring to Sea Bright Rising is great.
Now that the race is over, what’s next for you? Would you consider opening up a food truck in the future, or do you think a restaurant is more likely?
We have many irons in the fire, and we are weighing them carefully. The food truck industry is certainly on fire, so that is a direction we are considering. We all get along great and feel like family, so we would look forward to being in business together.
What advice would you give the remaining food truck rookies in the competition? Who are you rooting for?
We are rooting for ALL our friends from The Great Food Truck Race, Season 4. And, considering our blunders, we are not ones to give advice. Have fun, and don’t take the show — or yourselves — too seriously!
Watch The Great Food Truck Race on Sundays at 9pm/8c, and keep coming back to FN Dish for exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes content.