The Great Food Truck Race review: Cuban Sandwiches and selling struggles


The Great Food Truck Race rolls into Tampa, but can an iconic sandwich and poor location choices cause a food truck favorite to hand over their keys?

As The Great Food Truck Race heads across Florida, these food trucks need to learn to adapt and earn those sales. With a few new obstacles in their path, which food truck served their last dish of the season?

This season of The Great Food Truck Race has seen lots of success and profits. With tasty dishes, specialized selling locations and stronger efforts, the food trucks have been rolling in the full tills. This week saw some challenges put in their path.

For the first challenge of the season, the food trucks had to take on an iconic sandwich, which was created in Tampa. The Cuban Sandwich is classically pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread.

For this challenge, the food trucks needed to earn the vote of some of Tampa’s police officers. While some trucks transformed their “Cuban Sandwich” with their food truck theme, other food trucks stayed with the more traditional sandwich. In a way, it was more about appealing to the police officers than about the sandwich itself.

It seemed clear that some food trucks would modify the sandwich. Of course, Baby Got Mac made a mac and cheese. Brunch Babes made tots. In a way, it was better to swing for the fences than just slightly modify the sandwich.

Winning the Cuban Sandwich challenge was Madea Made. Their barbecue inspired take on the Cuban Sandwich was smart and delicious. Tyler said it was one of his favorite Cuban Sandwiches ever. Plus, this team seemed to have an advantage because one of its team members was a former police officer. Maybe she just understood her audience best.

For winning this challenge, Madea Made was able to “steal” $100 from another food truck’s till at elimination. If they choose wisely, this advantage could make a big difference in the outcome.

As the food trucks head out to sell, this week’s episode shows one of the most important skills that a successful food truck needs, a great selling location. If the food truck doesn’t have customers, it doesn’t matter if it has the best food. Customers equal sales, which means that the team rolls on to the next city.

Unfortunately this week, location caused several food trucks to go into a selling slump. From poor locations to horrendous weather, the teams who leveraged their contacts and sold smart topped this week’s sales.

Before tackling the top and bottom teams, the second day challenge was set up to bring a big swing in the competition. The ingredient for this challenge was grouper. While creating a tasty dish with this fresh fish wasn’t difficult, the teams needed to be smart with the challenge.

Unlike previous challenges, the key to winning the grouper challenge was total dollars sold, not total dishes sold. In this case, it was better to price the dish at a premium versus low-ball the menu item.

Frank N’ Slides understood the nature of the challenge and priced its grouper slider at $20. This pricing allowed them to surge to the top and win the grouper challenge.

Granted, Frank N’ Slides did have a local connection to the Tampa area, which helped its sales. Still, the higher price point ensured that they would do well in the grouper challenge.

As stated earlier, the teams needed to leverage their connections and smart selling locations in this week’s The Great Food Truck Race episode. Brunch Babes were extremely fortunate with their brewery location on day 1. Plus, their beer pairing menu was on point.

The teams that struggled with location were destined to be in the bottom. Baby Got Mac and Rolling Indulgence never seemed to hit their strides in Tampa.

Even though Baby Got Mac has delicious mac and cheese, it didn’t find its audience in the city by the Bay. While social media followers help, they needed more foot traffic, a big sale or some type of boost to start the ball rolling.

In a way, everyone except Frank N’ Slides and Brunch Babes seemed to struggle with the selling this week. If these food trucks want to create a successful business after The Great Food Truck Race, they need to work on all aspects of the food truck business.

As the food trucks gathered to hear the results, Madea Made was able to redeem their challenge win. They choose to steal $100 from Frank N’ Slides. Losing a $100 wasn’t too difficult for them to swallow considering that Frank N’ Slides won the grouper challenge.

Winning this week’s episode was Frank N’ Slides. While the local connection was helpful, the team was smart on many levels. From keen pricing to selling location, this food truck deserved the win.

Also, the other food trucks that were safe were Brunch Babes, Madea Made and Nola Creations. It is hard to see Nola Creations continue to slip. After such a strong start, this team has seemed to fade.

The bottom two teams were Baby Got Mac and Rolling Indulgence. It is strange that the two teams that paired up for part of the selling were both in the bottom.

Unfortunately, Baby Got Mac sold their last bowl of mac and cheese on The Great Food Truck Race. While this food truck won many taste challenges, they struggled. Although the team wanted to make people happy with their food, they sometimes low-balled their prices. It is said to see such culinary talents leave the competition.

Next week on The Great Food Truck Race, the food trucks head to Ft. Myers, Florida. Will the teams learn some smart lessons from their time in Tampa?

Baby Got Mac creates food memories one bowl of mac and cheese at a time. light. Related Story

What did you think of this week’s The Great Food Truck Race episode? Can you predict this season’s winner yet?