Have you ever watched The Great Food Truck Race, which is a food truck competition hosted by Tyler Florence on Food Network? If not, you’ve missed a great competition and some great customer experience lessons. Fear not! I’m here to summarize those lessons for you.


The show just completed its third season last week, and it took a slightly different twist this time around. Eight teams, with no food trucks of their own, competed in a cross-country “race” to win $50,000 and to keep the food truck that had been designed just for them. (In the previous two seasons, each team came with their own truck.) Each team consists of three people, typically a driver and two crew members.

They start in the LA area and then drive to their first city, where they’ll need to shop (using seed money that Tyler provides; amount varies by week) for food supplies, find a solid place to park, prepare meals according to the local culture, and open for business. Every week, they move to a new city as they make their way to the East Coast. The team that makes the least money each week goes home.

It’s not as easy as it sounds, and there are plenty of challenges along the way, not the least of which are two provided by the show:

  1. Truck Stops, which are cooking challenges that are typically judged by a local culinary expert, provide an advantage for one team for that leg of the race.
  2. Speed Bumps, which are disadvantages inflicted by Tyler, penalize each team; for example, in one episode, Tyler made two of the team members get off the truck, leaving only one person to man the fort.

So what are some of the key lessons gleaned from this show? I’m so glad you asked! After watching for the last three years, I can say that the importance of the following cannot be underestimated when starting and running a business and trying to meet your customers’ needs.

  • Spend money wisely. Whether you’re starting a business or making decisions about where to invest, resources are often limited. Put your money toward items (products, services, resources, etc.) that will make your customers happy. And that leads me to…
  • Know your customers. You can’t meet their needs until you understand who they are and what their needs are. Be aware of the fact that customers in different locations, geographies, cultures, etc. have different needs. Be prepared to address them.
  • Never let them see you sweat. OK, most frontline/customer-facing jobs don’t cause you to break out in a sweat, literally or figuratively. And while, for a TV show, I’m sure the stress and panic of “I have 38 minutes left to sell what’s on my food truck before Tyler needs to count the money” enticed customers to want to help the trucks by buying more food, that’s not the norm. If you’re struggling to make your numbers (financial metrics or CX metrics), your customers don’t need to know about it.
  • Mingle with customers. Get out there and get to know them. Talk to them. Approach them. Be friendly. Build relationships. Earn their trust. Earn their business.
  • Hire the right people. It’s so important that you hire people who are friendly, passionate about what they/you do, want the business to succeed, and will do whatever it takes to make that happen. Just as critical is the need to…

Find the entire article and full list of lessons at business2community.com <here>