Before the new season of The Great Food Truck Race begins this Sunday (Aug. 18 at 9pm/8c), FN Dish decided to catch up with last season’s winners — Ted, Yong and Chris from Seoul Sausage — for a quick look back and to find out what they’re up to now.
Since winning The Great Food Truck Race, the team has taken the truck’s concept and turned it into a widely talked about and successful brick and mortar restaurant, also called Seoul Sausage Co. (take a photo tour here). “The food truck scene in L.A. is very competitive, so we’ve primarily put our focus on our brick and-mortar restaurant,” says Ted. “The truck is still on the street two to three times a week. It’s not going anywhere.”
When asked where they see themselves in the future, Yong responded by saying, “We don’t like those questions because we go day by day. All the good things that have happened to us are nothing we’ve planned, even since our inception — our very first event, that wasn’t even planned. We want to have more locations. We want our sausages in stores. We’re enjoying the ride, the journey. We’re just growing the brand and staying true to ourselves at the same time. We can’t thank our fans enough — it means the world to us.”
No one knows the growing pains of being rookie truck owners better and these new pros have learned a lot. FN Dish asked them to share five tried-and-true lessons with the new teams:
1. Have a quick chat with the team before the challenge. There’s always going to be personality differences, but you always need to work together. There’s going to be a lot of pressure, but you have to step back for a moment and understand the situation. It’s too easy to stress out. Those big decisions you make on a whim could cause a lot of trouble for you later on. Have a plan of attack. Think things through.
2. Stay true to what your concept is and who you are. This speaks volumes. We found that teams sometimes switched halfway through and they lose their identity.
3. The food has to be good. You need to be creative. Put your heart and soul into it. Your customers can tell the difference — especially if you’ve microwaved something.
4. Be very personable. Have someone up front that can take care of the crowd. Don’t call the orders out by numbers, find out their names. That really helps and it makes the truck more approachable.
5. Give the customers an experience. The customers may be waiting a while to get their food, so make sure their experience is worth-while.
This is a once in a lifetime adventure. You need to have fun. Don’t take it too seriously.