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Great Food Truck Race Finale (spoilers)

The Grill 'Em All guys beat the Nom Nom truck to win the Great Food Truck race on The Food Network. Each team had to earn $500 in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn and $1,000 in Manhatten. The burger guys got out to a good start in the Bronx by parking next to a bar while the Nom Nom truck got a later start and went to Yankee stadium and nobody even noticed them after the game. Nom Nom won all of the privious races in the first 5 cities, but not the last one where it really counted.

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  1. I think in the end both Trucks got a lot of free publicity from this competition. I would be interested to see the % of hits increase on the trucks websites and % increase in business since the competition began.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chris2269

      On the nom nom website they say how they used to do 250 customers during a lunch service but after being on this show, they now get up to 400-500 customers.

    2. nice move changing the title :)

      i'm really happy Grill 'Em All won. i was sick of seeing Nom Nom win every challenge, and i'm glad the underdogs pulled it out!

      1. At the end of the day, I'm wondering who actually took home more money. Sure, Grill 'Em All got the 50k prize, but what about all those trips that Nom Nom won along the way. The monetary "retail" value of those trips is probably not insignificant -- maybe not 50k, but certainly not chump change.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          very true. Also what would be the monetary value of all the publicity for all the trucks. As we were watching, my husband was begging for a burger. In fact after we watched, we went and got him one.

          1. re: septocaine_queen

            I'm not convinced that added publicity is one of the benefits of being on the show.

            Food trucks are pretty local. So, for example, even if your husband wanted a burger, and wanted one from Grill 'Em All, if you guys did not live in/around Grill 'Em All's regular territory, then what good does it do them?

            Most of these trucks were pretty popular, and successful, in their local markets to begin with even before the show.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Well to chime in since I am in this industry (although soon to leave). I talk to alot of truck owners, especially when we park in the same area. I happened to be working when we parked near Nom Nom on the Century Blvd food truck lot.

              I asked how was business after the show and he said: "It's painfully increased".

              Although food trucks are a local flavor they are still a niche to the neighborhoods they frequent.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                All I know is at the LA food and Wine fest. a couple weeks ago they had...The Nom Nom truck, Crepes Bonipart truck and the raging Cajun truck...the line for Nom Nom was double Crepes B. and Cajun had no line at all. Grill Em All was not there so I can't compare them.

              2. re: septocaine_queen

                I'm not sure all publicity is good publicity. By the end of this show, I had grown to actively dislike the Grill Em All guys. I was giggling madly during the "We're all metal" scene in Brooklyn. Er...you guys are so not metal. "The Final Countdown" is more metal than y'all. Just stop pretending.

                I love a good burger, but I'd never get one from this truck just because the guys seem like posers.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  "The Final Countdown" is more metal than y'all. Just stop pretending.
                  LOL nice Europe refference that made my night:) white lion would of been good too.

                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    I think they are media chasers, they were on the Food Wars show (they lost) and now they're on this show. I wish nom nom had won -it's almost like the Food Network decided to come up with a finale that would make it more difficult for them to win just because they won all the other legs, not their fault that their competition couldn't bring it.

                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                      Are you kidding? It seems as if they came up with a challenge in the finale that ONLY Nom Nom could win. Remember, they ran away with the other challenges. It's not Grill "Em All's fault that Nom Nom couldn't bring it in the final challenge, even with the attempt to make it closer with that 'Truck Stop' at the end.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  i was thinking the same thing. 5 wins X 3 people = 15 vacation packages. airfare (well, except for the SD trip) plus hotel & a rental car for 3 days (assuming each trip is at least a long weekend) = quite a valuable prize collection!

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    And they get to pay taxes on the retail value of all of those prizes!

                3. This finale contained THE most blatant manipulation of a reality show competition by the show producers that I have EVER seen. Grill 'Em All was clearly poised to win when that truck stop got called. It'd be one thing if they still had another day to go, but it was only midnight or so and they were clearly going to win within an hour or two. Me and my wife were actually shouting at the TV. If Nom Nom would have won the next day, the whole thing would have been seriously tainted. Thank god they didn't.

                  Yes, I know that reality shows are the furthest thing from "real" you can imagine, but it just really, really irked me how the producers scrambled to hand Nom Nom a victory with such blatant manipulation. Heck, at least other shows do a better job of hiding the manipulation. Grill 'Em All did an amazing job in the first 4 boroughs, and to just ignore that would have made the whole final race pointless.

                  It's also not clear what actually happened in the end. Nom Nom's truck was gone by the time Grill 'Em All left their spot, and Nom Nom seemingly never moved. So did Grill 'Em All just drive faster?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: QualityMart

                    I completely agree with you that the production and editing of the finale was atrocious. However, I don't necessarily think that the producers were trying to hand the win to Nom Nom, so much as they were just trying to keep it even. I also couldn't help but wonder if they told Nate Appleman who to pick as the winner so the competition would become more even.

                    I was particularly annoyed with how they edited the final race to the finish and then the reveal. Perhaps the worst reality competition ending I can recall. I get that they were perhaps trying to do it differently than every other show, but come on... they way that was put together was ridiculous. The envelope part was particularly lame. As was the whole, where is the Nom Nom truck business. I really, really want to like this show, but the production is terrible.

                    1. re: QualityMart

                      Nom Nom deserved to with that truck stop though. Grill em' All bought all the meat and vegetables already marinated. How is that their Banh Mi and not the restaurant where they got everything from?

                      1. re: dmckean

                        When Nom Nom went to purchase the meat for the hamburger they were buying ground pork?....then at the taste test they served an Angus beef burger?

                        1. re: monku

                          I think they ended up buying beef but were discussing buying ground pork. Sometimes it's confusing the way they edit things.

                        2. re: dmckean

                          How were they supposed to marinate the meat and vegetables, cook them and prepare them all in one hour? I think the producers steered both of them to buy their supplies exactly where each team went to get the product.

                          1. re: John E.

                            I agree. Grill Em All was sort of give the short end of the stick with this ridiculous truck stop, which didn't really prove anything except (and this DID cross my mind, but I choose to give FoodTV the benefit of the doubt) that the producers really didn't want Grill Em All to win so quickly and easily. I'm still NOT convinced the one girl from Nom Nom is a good cook at all, or that Grill Em All couldn't make a good bahn mi from scratch if they had the time and materials/ingredients. I mean, GEA has tons of custom sauces and ingredients that they prep to go with the burgers. They sell basic burgers, too, but that's not what makes them so special and "gourmet" (I suppose). What did Nom Nom do with their burger (which they never clarified was a beef/pork mix or 100% angus beef, which we all know means nothing re: ground beef nowadays) besides make a very basic sriracha mayo and slap some arugula on it (which the guest judge said he didn't like). Also, I've seen this chef on programs before, especially in regards to his restaurant and the type of food he loves to make and eat. He's always touting simplicity and letting the ingredients speak for themselves (he never puts more than three or four ingredients on the pizzas at his restaurant), so I dunno if that factored into the judging.

                            And who's to say that he also wouldn't have found Nom Nom's version of bahn mi a bit "flavorless" and "lacking that punch" as well? Or a burger from Grill Em All to be bland, dry, too much, whatever?

                            It was just a useless truck stop this time around. The others were questionable, but at least had a point to show off some skill. This one...didn't, especially when taking into account the types of food each had to make.

                      2. :nodding: I thought it was one of the more atrociously-edited finales out there. I knew Grill 'Em had it at the very start, if only because of the editing. The $500 challenge with the chef seemed very contrived as in "Ooh, look, Nom Nom is behind, let's throw this together so they can catch up!"

                        I would have liked Nom Nom to win, if only because the Grill 'Em guys annoyed me to no end.

                        1. Yeah, the editing to ramp up any drama that could possibly be hiding somewhere, anywhere...was a bit too much. But I've watched all six episodes and liked the show overall (coming from someone who HATES reality TV and those damn Food Network food competitions).

                          I'm really, ridiculously happy that Nom Nom didn't win. Something about them just bugs me. Maybe it's the glaringly obvious fact that they don't really know that much about food (including their own product, according to Yelp! reviews) and are riding on their marketing skills to make them money. At least from the GEA guys, I get the sense that they really do love feeding people their insane concoctions and love doing it, and not just as a means to get money and celebrity.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: yfunk3

                            I know here in San Diego every banh mi place has mixed reviews on Yelp. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what good banh mi is.

                            1. re: yfunk3

                              The general vibe I get from the LA Chowhound board is that Nom Nom is not as good as the banh mi in the SGV or Little Saigon, but they're a decent option if you're on the Westside(which is not known for quality of ethnic foods). That was the whole rationale for them to start the truck in the first place.

                              As for marketing winning the day, that's exactly how GEA won NYC. Marketing, getting referrals from bars, and they even used the Spencer trick of getting subsidized supplies from someone.

                              1. re: huaqiao

                                ^ this.

                                those familiar with vietnamese sandwiches are not nom nom's target audience. the point is made even in the show. otherwise they'd try to sell in more asian areas rather than avoiding them.

                                1. re: catbert

                                  Well, I kind of got the notion from the show that Nom Nom is trying to introduce and "spread" the knowledge of bahn mi to people by touting their product as oe of the best representations, not just target those who aren't familiar with it or have never heard of it ever. I never said they were horrible and didn't deserve success, but that it just irked me that there is a significant amount of people who openly rooted for Nom Nom did so for superficial or marketing reasons. I'm not saying business and marketing skills aren't as important as knowing your food in the industry. It's just disheartening, to me personally (and not speaking for other people here), that people so clearly in it for the money were being rewarded over people so clearly in it for the food and sharing-the-food aspect.

                                  Though Grill Em All could also now be money-grubbing fame whores and I was duped by the editing monkeys. I dunno. Reality TV does funny things to one's mind, which is why I only stick to Project Runway and this show. :o)

                            2. were any surprised by nom nom parking in front of a fire hydrant?

                              i wonder if it had anything to do with the outcome of the finale...? afterall, they did make a point to show grill em' alls' comment about abiding by the law. personally, my parents work for the gov't and they have a program with d.o.t. (dept. of transportation) for when they have to work outside of the office. even they are not exempt from parking in front of a hydrant nor a red zone...

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: catbert

                                I was surprised by the apparent ease of parking in general. I thought it was pretty complicated to get permits, etc, for a food truck.

                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                  The location and production staff are probably cut a lot of slack by the local municipalities for the show. They want to do a shoot and the only parking space available was in front of that fire hydrant, I'm sure the police department gave them permission.

                                  I've been involved with events where we rent out space to food vendors and they aren't required to have local health permits or licenses, but they have to abide by temporary rules approved by the health department and fire department.