Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Great American Food Truck Race

Over the past 6 weeks, I became addicted to the Food Network's Great American Food Truck Race. The concept was stunningly simple. Get 7 food trucks (mobile food stands the size of a FedEx truck) and have them travel to different cities selling their foods. The truck that sold the least amount of food in that city was gone.

The starting trucks were a pudding/wings truck (Nana Queens), Cajun truck (Ragin' Cajun), Crepes truck (Crepes Bonaparte), French gourmet food truck (Spencer on the Go), a pressed sandwich truck (Austin Daily Press), a burger truck (Grill Em All), and a Vietnamese hoagie truck (Nom Nom).

Some twists and challenges aside, the competition came down tonight to Grill Em All and the nigh-unstoppable Nom Nom. Nom Nom used social media and print media to give themselves advance notice at every city. They partnered with unique, cutting edge businesses and seemed to always find the hot spots.

The Grill Em All truck was nearly bounced out of the competition twice, needing to win a challenge to stay in. The next to last show they beat the Frenchies by $37 (sold literally at the last minute to a hunger customer who ordered 5 burgers).

And the winner was....Grill Em All.

The last show was in New York City and the idea was cool. The two trucks had to sell $500 of product in each of the first 4 boroughs of NYC (Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn) and then sell $1000 in Manhattan....then race to the roof of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan.

Grill Em All was just better than Nom Nom in this episode. They had lines of people waiting for them to open shop. Also, the Noms were not as optimistic as they had been. Their leader, Misa, was actually depressed right off the bat. They just faded under the pressure.

Pittsburgh has very few well-known food trucks. The most famous is The Goodie Truck that sells desserts. These ladies use Twitter and Facebook to their advantage as well. Perhaps the next frontier for Pittsburgh is to catch up to California with the mobile food truck craze.

I smell a business opportunity....


  1. I have an acquaintance that is going to be trying that very thing. She and a partner have been working up the details(business licenses, etc.) the past, oh, 7-9 months.

    Artisan sammiches and the like. No idea what they're going to call themselves yet. I believe that they already do catering for events, they're just looking to put a truck on the road as well.

    No idea if back home is the sort of place that will support something like that or not. I suppose it's all about what locations you target and how good your grub is. Stranger things, etc. etc.

  2. What type of food will they be potentially serving?
    I'll keep an eye out for it.

  3. Apparently, it will be called the "Fast Foodie" truck.

    Not on the road yet, but sounds like it'll be soon.

  4. I used the Google machine on "Fast Foodie" trucks and it sounds like a franchise concept. They have invented the menu item of a Globaco, a "global taco" (kind of dumb).

    Granted, the 5 different nationalities of ingredients within the soft shell taco (Asian, German, Cuban, something else, and something else) sounded good.

    If this is their concept, I will support it as I love tacos. I will be one of the first customers and blog about it. I was just hoping it would an original food truck concept to Pittsburgh, though.

  5. Hmmm, well, I don't think that's their angle. At least that is not how it was described to me(being a franchise gimmick).

    They mentioned artisan sammiches and crafting their own menu. Never brought up anything like 'Globaco'....which sounds like friggin' Chewbacca's cousin.

    But again, I'm pretty much getting my info 2nd hand and don't really know these folks, so WTH do I know? Based on the menu alone, I think this isn't what they're rolling out.