Great Food Truck Race recap: Sweet home Alabama not sweet for everyone


The third stop on the Great Food Truck Race wasn’t a sweet stop for all the teams. In this week’s Great Food Truck Race recap, pecan dessert proved one team’s downfall.

As the five food trucks rolled into Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the food trucks prepared for their next challenge. Since Tuscaloosa is such a huge football town, I would have guessed that this week’s challenges would have involved football or tailgating. But, I was wrong. The food trucks took on pecans and dessert.

Personally, I don’t usually think of Alabama and pecans. But, the South is famous for their pecan desserts. This week, the food trucks had to take on pecans in a dessert. The first challenge involved the food trucks shelling pecans.

After gathering as many pecans as they could, each team had to take a hammer to the pecan shells. The team who shelled the most pecans would get a few minutes with a local baker. Shelling pecans isn’t an easy task. The shells can be hard to break. Not to mention, the shells can be difficult to remove.

Each team’s container was weighed. The winner was Braised in the South. The team of executive chefs were excited to have the consultation with the local baker. Usually, savory chefs don’t do sweet desserts. The consultation proved helpful for them. The chefs got a few easy ideas to make a sweet dessert. Simplicity and flavors that could be popular with locals.

Of course, the pecan shelling wouldn’t just be another task. This Great Food Truck Race recap couldn’t leave out the added bonus. The food truck with the most profit from their pecan dessert would get an additional $300 added to its final total. This challenge is about smart business decisions.

After the pecan shelling challenge, the food trucks took their minimal seed money, $200, and set off to begin prepping and selling. This week’s limited seed money proved to be the biggest challenge for all the food trucks. Smart purchasing and pricing would lead to the most success.

Overall, the food trucks seem to be finding their groove. Many of the food trucks focus a particular favorite dish. For example, The Breakfast Club always serves their breakfast nachos and Braised in the South usually sells tatachos. Granted, each new city doesn’t know that these menu items are sold in every city.

Even if a dish is the best food in the state, the dish has to sell. The best selling location can make a huge difference. If no one buys the food, that food truck could be heading home.

Stick Em Up struggled this week. On the first day, their idea of selling in the grocery store parking lot didn’t prove helpful. Many people just passed them buy. One of the guys, against his better judgment, wore an inflatable duck outfit to drum up business.

Other food trucks didn’t plan well on the first day. Braised in the South ran out of food. These professional chefs should be able to plan and buy better, even with a limited budget. Running out of food with people who want to buy their dishes isn’t good business. No one ever wants to leave people without food.

On the second day, the food trucks got a twist to their selling. Happy hour can bring more people to a restaurant, or food truck, just for the special. But, selling their pecan dessert for just $1 didn’t make the Breakfast Club happy. This truck tried to hide the happy hour special. While they understood that they had to sell their pecan donuts for just $1, they didn’t have to publicize.

The Great Food Truck Race, Breakfast Club, photo from Food Network

Breakfast Club excels in the pricing strategy and social media. Their dishes are reality easy to create, have minimal costs and can sell at a good profit. The only downside to their truck is that the food is somewhat limited. While more people enjoy all day brunch menus, they may not want to pay $6+ for two small donuts.

More importantly, Breakfast Club knows how to publicize their food truck. Creating a buzz about the truck can help bring more sales. The limited sales and popularity can make people more willing to spend $6+ for two small donuts.

Southern Frenchie seems like the main food truck that keeps updating their menus. They work with the food available in the new city. These professional chefs seem to adapt well. Overall, they appear to be gaining momentum.

This week Southern Frenchie set out on their own. Setting up at a local brewery far away from everyone else was a good idea for them. While they didn’t benefit from the single selling location, they did have the monopoly on their selling location. Beer drinkers get hungry. If Southern Frenchie was the only food available, they had lots of hungry customers.

While The Great Food Truck Race is about food trucks, this week’s Great Food Truck Race recap is more about the personalities. This week focused more on the people themselves. I wish that this show would share more information about the food and the recipes. While I understand that the Food Network wants us to care about the contestants, I want to see food. Hopefully, the final episodes will have more food than drama.

Because of their strong pricing strategy and selling, the Breakfast Club won the pecan dessert challenge. Their profit off that single dessert item was over $1000. That total was incredible impressive. For their efforts, the Breakfast Club got an additional $300 towards their total. It made a difference in their final placement.

This week’s winner was Braised in the South. Even with them running out of food, they were able to earn the most money. Southern Frenchie came in second. Their strategy of selling on their own proved successful. Breakfast Club finished third, with the help of their challenge win.

The bottom two teams were Mr. Po Boys and Stick Em Up. Mr. Po Boys had selling issues. They ran out of food. They need to balance the seed money with their portions. Plus, they need to price their food better. While they have won taste challenges, a food truck business isn’t just good tasting food. They must be a successful business.

The Great Food Truck Race Pensacola, winner Stick Em Up, photo from Food Network

Stick Em Up struggled with selling location and pricing. If you don’t sell, you can’t win. More importantly you have to make a profit. Not everyone likes food on a stick. The mom and sons team treated this challenge more like a family trip. While it is great that they get along, they needed to treat the experience more like a business. No one was just going to hand them a win.

This week Stick Em Up was sent home. No more inflatable duck costumes on this Great Food Truck Race recap. Good luck to the bakers from Kentucky.

Next: Alton Brown returns to the Food Network

Next week the four remaining food trucks roll into Nashville. What will the special challenge bring? Let’s hope it is some Nashville hot chicken.