The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola: Teamwork saves the race


The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola takes over the Sunshine state. After celebrating military families, the six food trucks battled to a close finish.

With the first city behind them, another Southern city is on the list. This Wee The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, Florida was the host city. Each week the food trucks learn and adapt to the challenges of running a food truck. From prime selling locations to optimal pricing, the food trucks need to understand all the aspects of the business to ensure they move onto the next city. This week showed that no one can rest on previous success.

The episode opened with a big challenge for the six food trucks on this Food Network show. The food trucks had to pair up to create a cohesive dish for local military families. The two top teams from the New Orleans stop were able to choose their partner food truck.

Breakfast Club, last week’s winner, chose Stick Em Up as their partner. This pair created a sweet treat for the military families. Their dish was red, white and berry French toast. Overall, the military families enjoyed the breakfast inspired dish.

The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, photo from Food Network

As the second place team last week, Braised in the South chose to pair with Southern Frenchie. The two professional chef teams were a strong pair. Their flavor combinations worked well together. They presented crawfish grits topped with fried chicken. Military families were quite impressed with this elevated offering.

The two remaining teams, Mr. Po Boy’s and Papi Chulos, became the final pair. Working together proved good and bad for this pairing. The team had a great idea for their dish. Their dish, chicken tacos with mojo sauce and pickled slaw, could have been a flavor explosion. But, the team ran out of corn tortillas. Also, the dish was a little messy to eat.

Looking at the three dishes, I would want to eat the crawfish grits with fried chicken. The Southern inspired dish sounds like the most composed, cohesive dish of the three. Plus, it isn’t something that I eat all the time. French toast with berries, even though quite tasty, isn’t something different to eat. The tacos sound yummy, but I hate food that is messy to eat. I want my food in my stomach, not on my shirt.

Only one team could will the significant prize. The military families voted that Braised in the South and Southern Frenchie were the winning team. Each team received an additional $200 towards their final earnings for the weekend. This extra money could be the difference between staying in the race and going home.

The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, photo from Food Network

After the opening challenge, all the teams received $200 in seed money to kick off their Pensacola selling. Shopping in a new city can always be a challenge. Balancing available ingredients, costs and potential revenue is key to food truck success. For example, Papi Chulos couldn’t find the ingredients to make empanadas. Their truck is an empanada truck. By not selling the food that they are advertising on the side of the truck, they are losing customers and revenue.

Another big factor in food truck success is selling location. Braised in the South looked to partner with a local brewery. The idea makes sense since some breweries don’t sell their own food. Thirsty beer drinkers often get hungry. Being the only truck, Braised in the South could capitalize on a captive audience. But are there better locations?

The other trucks relied on the power in numbers. When a group of food trucks get together, more customers can gather to try all the options. This scenario works all the time for food trucks. Ever go to the National Mall in Washington DC or the Dr. Phillips Center on Fridays? Power in the numbers can bring in big sales.

Also, social media is key for food truck success. The Breakfast Club is king of the social media factor. The first two episodes show this truck leveraging social media accounts to find prime locations, engaging fans and sharing the whole experience. The social aspect should keep them moving forward.

Of course, each episode has to have some type of twist. This week had the food trucks create a special dish featuring red snapper. Each team received one whole red snapper. The team who could make the most profit on this four pound fish would receive an automatic pass to the next city.

The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, photo from Food Network

Figuring out how to portion and sell the red snapper was key. The challenge wasn’t necessarily the best tasting or more elevated dish. The challenge was a monetary one. Understanding the challenge was key to success.

Stick Em Up was the big winner in the red snapper challenge. That food truck was able to turn a four pound fish into $540 worth of profit. The food truck made $135 per pound profit. That type of profit would keep any food truck in business for a very long time. Stick Em Up won immunity.
Overall, this season is proving to be very competitive. While New Orleans might have had some slow selling, Pensacola was huge for business. The sale totals were much larger this week.

Topping the sales was Mr. Po Boys. Last week, this food truck proved themselves by winning the hurricane flavor challenge. This week Mr. Po Boys showed that they can sell. Po boy sandwiches are a good choice for a food truck. The flavors and ingredients can adapt to each city. Mr. Po Boys moves on.

Other top finishers were Southern Frenchie and Breakfast Club. I have some concern with Breakfast Club. While their breakfast nachos sound good, I really wish that they would offer some other menu items. Just because they are a brunch truck doesn’t mean that they have to serve the same food every week. Yes, breakfast nachos and an iced coffee are great. Many people enjoy the all-day brunch menus, but let’s see what else they can cook.

The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, photo from Food Network

The bottom two teams were Braised in the South and Papi Chulos. Papi Chulos seems to lack some experience. It can be hard to battle some professional chefs. Plus, this week that food truck didn’t even serve empanadas, which is the name of their food truck. Their concept is a good one, but the execution problems hurt them.

It was unfortunate that Braised in the South was in the bottom. Overall, I think that they have a good concept. Southern food is on trend. Plus, they know how to combine flavors and cook. But, they suffer from repetition, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good tacho. But, not everyone wants a tacho every week.

Luckily, winning the military family challenge and the extra $200 saved Braised in the South. That $200 was the difference from moving on and going home. Papi Chulos was sent packing. With a little more guidance, I think that their food truck concept is a good one. Maybe they can put it all together back home.

Next: The Great Food Truck Race Battle of the South

It is time for The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola to roll out to the next city. Next week The Great Food Truck Race pulls into Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Who thinks that there will be some tailgating food served in the shadows of Bryant Denny Stadium?