On this week’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race, the teams found themselves rolling into Austin. For the team of Lone Star Chuck Wagon, selling in their own state seemed to be a match made in heaven, but Tyler’s challenges would have everything turned upside down. For some it turned out to be a stroke of good luck, but for two teams in particular, it produced one of the closest eliminations in the show’s history, with just a $6 difference. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with the latest team cut from the race.
On Day 1, the teams were paired off to test their partnership skills. Lone Star Chuck Wagon chose to partner with Military Moms. At first it seemed to be a strong relationship, but a lack of foot traffic did not help their mutual sales. A Speed Bump moved all the teams to one location, a Match.com event at a local bar, but sales were mixed at best, and only those teams who came up with unique marketing tactics managed to make a profit. The biggest upheaval came later, when a Truck Stop challenge had the teams swapping trucks, each team selling the other’s dishes out of the other’s vehicle. For a moment Military Moms had success in Lone Star Chuck Wagon’s truck, but at elimination time, they came up in the bottom. Military Moms was ultimately eliminated.
How did your team feel about partnering with Lone Star Chuck Wagon, especially since their team picked yours? And why did your two teams stay together even after Tyler gave all the teams the option of breaking the partnerships?
Military Moms: Who doesn’t feel good about being picked first? Lone Star was our biggest competition, and why not compete right alongside the best? We had a great time seeing how each other operated. When Tyler gave us the option to break the partnerships, we decided to stay at our location with Lone Star. It was too risky to move at that time of day. We didn’t want to waste time and money by moving. We were both hoping everyone else was experiencing the same. We felt safe because sitting right next to them we could keep track of how much money they’d made, and they had been on top for two prior rounds.
In Tucson, your team was in third place, but just a week later in Austin you dropped to last place. What do you think was the reason for the change?
MM: Austin is known for “keeping it weird.” That would sum up the whole weekend. There is so much competition with other local food trucks and great restaurants in this town. We found a spot that usually had a lot of foot traffic, but there were a few events going on that weekend in Austin and we just didn’t get the customer base that we had in Tucson.
When Tyler said only $6 separated the bottom two, how did that make you all feel?
MM: The whole thing is a bit of a Charlie Foxtrot! Running a food truck is one thing; learning how to do it on TV is a great reality show. Six dollars is less than the cost of a sandwich. We really didn’t see it coming. It was a brutal elimination. We figured it out when Tyler asked if anyone wanted to hand in their keys. I was hoping that another team was going to give theirs up. We stood proud of what our team of rookies had accomplished.
Why do you think your team struggled at the dating event during Tyler’s Speed Bump?
MM: It’s been a while since we’ve been involved in the dating scene, but we were up for the challenge. We’re not as young as some of the other teams, but we managed to round up some customers. Who doesn’t want some home cooking from their “Moms”? And who brings their “Moms” speed dating?
What did it mean to you when Tyler said that your earnings would be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project?
MM: Being eliminated was bittersweet. We weren’t ready to leave yet, but felt so honored by Tyler’s gesture that our earnings from the weekend would go to an organization that is very close to our and many other military families’ hearts. We also saved all of our tips from our time on the race and are making a donation to The Fisher House Foundation at an upcoming Marine Corps Marathon in October.
What was the biggest obstacle in operating a food truck business for the first time?
MM: The cooking part was easy, but operating the actual food truck was a little tricky at first. The parking was the most insane. We like a big city to explore, but not with a food truck. It was a crash course in operations. As military spouses, you have no choice but to learn to adapt quickly to new situations.
In hindsight, is there anything you think you would have done differently?
MM: We wouldn’t change a thing about our experience on this race. There was so much to learn and experience in such a short amount of time, and we accomplished so much. We are nothing but proud of our time on the race and cannot wait to see what happens next.
What’s next for you ladies? Is operating a food truck in your future?
MM: The future of our truck is a given. It has grown into so much more. We have had such an amazing outpouring of support. Military spouses are amazing women! Watch our social media; this has gone nuts and you haven’t seen the last of Pink Camo. We are planning to build this business into something much bigger than just a truck, or should I say a few trucks. Stay tuned, because this is just the beginning. Carol had an empty truck in a barn ready to launch. We have seen the power of the Pink Camo.
What advice would you give the remaining teams, and which one are you rooting for?
MM: We have great respect for the remaining teams and wish everyone the very best. Our advice to the teams would be to use what you’ve learned so far and take chances. Trust your instincts and follow your heart. It is a dream, after all, and making dreams come true takes passion and hard work. Our eye is still on our “partners,” the Lone Star Chuck Wagon. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Make your “Moms” proud!