"The Great Food Truck Race" 2014 continued Aug. 31 on the Food Network with a third week of the entertaining cooking competition on wheels. At evening's end, just $6 ended one team's dream of winning a state-of-the-art food truck.
The episode opened as the six remaining teams, Lone Star Chuck Wagon, Beach Cruiser, Military Moms, Let There Be Bacon, Madres Mexican Meals, and Middle Feast, made their way toward Austin, Texas to begin the season's third round of culinary action. Upon arrival, they met up with show host Tyler Florence, who explained the week's task. He started by revealing that each team would be free to sell as many food items as they wanted from their respective trucks. He then offered up $250 in seed money to each, and shared that the week's focus would be on partnership.
He explained that he would draw a truck's key out of a pot, and that the team members representing that truck would need to choose a partner to work with until otherwise notified. The first key belonged to Chuck Wagon, and they opted to work with Military Moms. Chuck Wagon's Andrea was excited about the idea of teaming up with the moms, who she viewed as a powerful competition contender.
Up next to choose a buddy was Let There Be Bacon, and they opted to go with Middle Feast. The leftovers, Beach Cruiser and Madres, were paired up by default, leaving the ladies of Beach Cruiser less than thrilled as they noted that Madres had yet to achieve a top finish.
After the partnerships were established, Tyler gave out more essential information, telling them that the pairs would have to park within 10 feet of one another, and that the sales would not be shared. After a quick yeehaw, he sent them off to shop, cook, and sell.
Things proceeded smoothly for Military Moms and Chuck Wagon, who communicated efficiently and maintained a pleasant, cordial shared vibe. The road was a little rougher for Beach Cruiser and Madres. Beach Cruiser lamented Madres' slower shopping style, and then chose what appeared at first glance to be an unexpectedly disappointing spot to park their trucks outside a saloon.
After the teams got to work selling their menu items, Tyler called with the episode's first Speed Bump. After sharing that he had positive news, he told them that they'd be the exclusive food vendors at a special Match.com event. He shared that each attendee would be given a $25 token to use to purchase a meal, so they could theoretically stuff their tills with extra cash by selling a $10 item for a $25 token.
The trucks raced to the event, and first-on-the-scene Beach Cruiser immediately began schmoozing for sales. While most of the trucks offered up a single dish for a single token, Chuck Wagon raised the stakes big-time by promising four different samples for each token. Although they offered samples to hungry attendees, Military Moms struggled to make sales, and pressed their Chuck Wagon partners to leave and find another location. Chuck Wagon rebuffed the idea, expressing an unwillingness to give up the chance to earn more valuable tokens.
As day one waned and the event ended, four of the trucks returned to their original sales areas and saw few sales. Middle Feast and Let There Be Bacon fared better after securing exclusive selling spots at a gelato festival, and ended their day on a high note.
Day two began as the teams shopped and found their spots for the day. Military Moms and Chuck Wagon made the unfortunate decision to stick with their foot traffic-less spot from the previous day. Middle Feast and Let There Be Bacon were infuriated to find Madres and Beach Cruiser in their exclusive spot at the gelato festival and quickly complained, but the director of the festival shut down the complaint by insisting that more food truck options is better than less. Bacon and Middle Feast were infuriated, but predicted that karma would bite their competitors in the end.
A few hours into the day, Tyler called the teams with the Truck Stop cooking challenge. He instructed them to take their cash boxes, go outside, wave at their partners, and then revealed that they'd be switching trucks, and creating meals based only on their partners' menu items. The highest earning truck would earn $500 extra, while second and third place results would yield $250 and $100, respectively.
With the challenge issued, the partners took turns explaining their menu items to one another, and then got to work selling as fast as they could. While Chuck Wagon was impressed with the Military Moms' great marketing for their simple but high-priced dishes, they had trouble actually making sales and lamented watching customers visit their truck across the way. Meanwhile, the Jewish members of Middle Feast struggled mightily with cooking their partners' obviously non-kosher bacon dishes.
Midway through the day, Tyler called to tell the trucks that the Truck Stop was over, and that if they wished, they could dissolve their partnerships and once again sell solo. Happy with their match-ups, all three pairs opted to stick together. None of the teams enjoyed blockbuster sales experiences and several worried over their respective competition fates as they headed out for the night.
Later, the teams met up with Tyler for the season's third elimination. He shared that they'd earned a total of just over $11,000 between them, which represented a significant drop from the previous week's success. Then he revealed the winners of the swap challenge. Let There Be Bacon emerged victorious and snagged the bonus $500, while Beach Cruiser earned $250 for finishing second, and Middle Feast and Madres tied for third place with exactly $290 in sales apiece. Each of the two teams were given the bonus $100.
With that out of the way, Tyler moved on to the elimination portion of the week's episode. Taking first place with $2,808 was Beach Cruiser, while $2,247 in sales earned Middle Feast second place. The rest of the trucks finished as follows: third, Let There Be Bacon, $2,175; fourth, $1,724, Lone Star Chuck Wagon; and fifth, Madres Mexican Meals.
By a tiny $6 margin --the narrowest in the show's history-- Military Moms was eliminated from the competition. Tyler praised them for shining a light on the military, and promised to donate an amount equivalent to their week's earning to the Wounded Warrior Project. The Moms were happy to have participated, and hoped that they'd inspired other military mothers to go on their own adventures.
After Military Moms departed, Tyler revealed that they'd be heading to Oklahoma City, Okla. for the fourth week of competition. With that, they ran to their trucks and set off on the 400-mile journey. "The Great Food Truck Race" 2014 continues Sept. 7 on the Food Network.