A ‘Food Court Wars’ Upset

Sarah and Tyler from Casual Joe’s

The Wausau Center Mall in Wausau, Wisconsin was home to the Food Court War between Casual Joe‘s and The Wrap Trap, which is now Carlie and Company. Tyler Sailsbery and Sarah Smith from Casual Joe’s want to give mall goers “A real taste of Wisconsin” with fried cheese curds and brats. The Wrap Trap’s Carlie Peterson & Brianna Shidell want to give shoppers a healthier alternative to standard food court fare.

Food Court Wars no longer features stories that pull at the heartstrings. This week there was one finding yourself story and one partner took everything after the split, so it looks like Food Network realized that normal life stories are good and make people relatable. Sob stories just make viewers feel bad for the contestants.

Tyler Florence announced that the first challenge is to serve mall walkers, who are at the mall every morning at 8am. Neither Casual Joe’s nor The Wrap Trap plan to serve breakfast food, so the challenge really didn’t make sense. It doesn’t help that Casual Joe’s didn’t completely understand their brand at the time, resulting in Tyler S. and Sarah producing a gourmet pancake dish. None of the mall walkers understood that Casual Joe’s was a down home comfort food restaurant, not a unique gourmet shop, because the team was so far off the mark.

The Wrap Trap did much better because they served a breakfast burrito, which is obviously a wrap. However, Carlie and Brianna had to change their name because everyone felt Wrap Trap sounded too much like Rat Trap, so they became Carlie and Company. They won the mall walker challenge and received five extra minutes to serve customers on opening day, which sounds like the least helpful advantage given on Food Court Wars. Apparently, five extra minutes could translate into 50 more dollars, but based on past episodes the teams are always barely ready for the proper opening time. There is no way Carlie and Company would be ready to open five minutes early.

Now, it was time for the teams to promote their businesses. Casual Joe’s brought Wisconsin food to a car race, where people seemed to enjoy what they had to offer, but Tyler S. and Sarah forgot to tell their promotion models where the restaurant would be opening and what kind of food they serve. Fortunately for them, Tyler Florence caught it immediately and Sarah fixed the mistake.

Carlie and Brianna took their wraps and salads to the YMCA for healthy kids day. Carlie brought her company: her roller derby teammates. While Carlie and Brianna served salad and helped some kids with the make your own wrap bar, the roller derby girls skated around the parking lot with other kids. Everyone who participated enjoyed the Carlie and Company’s event.

Back at the mall, it was time for the teams to prepare for opening day. Tyler S. and Sarah’s friend Joe stopped by to help Casual Joe’s, while Carlie and Company had Carlie’s mother assist. Then a few seconds later, Joe and Carlie’s mother never to be seen again. If you blinked and missed the entrances, you would have no idea that there was a third person prepping food in both restaurants.

Food Court Wars added a money counter in the corner during the service round, which is a great idea, since it is pretty much a game show. It also heightened the tension of the final round because the show cut back and forth between the two teams quickly and made sure that the each teams totals revealed before the finale were only a few dollars apart.

Up until opening day, the competition appeared to be Carlie and Brianna’s to lose. They were better than Tyler and Sarah in every challenge up until that point. However, Brianna was an extremely weak link, who at times didn’t even appear to be trying. She forgot to put descriptions of Carlie & Company’s signature salads, which forced Carlie to describe the entire menu to each individual customer and cost her team precious time because she completely wasted their five minute head start. Casual Joe’s also had a weak link in Sarah, who couldn’t handle the pressure and broke down in the middle of opening day, but she did recover and continue serving customers.

Based on the events of the final round, it shouldn’t have been as surprising as it was when Tyler Florence declared Casual Joe’s the winner of the Wausau episode of Food Court Wars.

About Allison Lips

I am the Toastmasters District 83 Public Relations manager and President of Freehold Phrasers.

Posted on July 22, 2013, in Cable, Food Network, Reality TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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