Good Food Trumps Good Marketing On ‘Food Court Wars’
Food Court Wars spiced up the Burnsville Mall’s food court with Slum Dogz and Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. Siblings Aaron Skoglund, who was adopted from India, and Kirsten Shabaz decided to create Slum Dogz as a tribute to Aaron’s Indian heritage. There concept centered around adding Indian flavors to hot dogs. Yoni Reinharz and Jamaican-born Tomme Beevas from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen were also bringing the heat with jerk chicken and other Jamaican specialties.
As usual, Day 1’s challenge involved trying to please an important group of mall goers. Tyler Florence announced that the two teams had to impress kids and their parents. Kids don’t like heat, so both teams attempted to tone down the spiciness in their signature dishes. Slum Dogz was a little more successful, but barely.
While Slum Dogz failed to make hot dogs because the casings weren’t cooperating, Aaron and Kirsten took their signature recipe and made meatballs. Many kids didn’t like the heat in the meatballs, but tolerated it because it was less spicy than Pimento’s jerk chicken. Aaron and Kirsten’s strategy basically was to win kids over with good old mac and cheese, which worked. Slum Dogz may have won the challenge by one vote, but the parents preferred Yoni and Tomme’s jerk chicken and coconut rice with beans.
For winning, Slum Dogz received ad space on the mall’s billboards. Supposedly, 64,000 people would see the ads as they shopped. The only problem is the billboards are actually in the mall and, unless you work there, no one is going back to the mall two days later just to taste the new food court kiosk.
Day 2 took place at the Minnesota Zoo. This was Slum Dogz and Pimento’s chance to draw customers in for opening day. The only problem is Slum Dogz stole the show. Aaron and Kirsten decided to hold a hot dog eating contest and hold a raffle for an opportunity to feed a giraffe. Pimento, whose food the crowd preferred, just stood back and watched. Yoni and Tomme had no way to draw attention to their stand other than the scent of good food.
In past shows, it always seemed like the producers created marketing tools and told the contestants that one team would have one opportunity, such as throwing the first pitch at a ball game, while the other team would get equal time by being interviewed on the jumbotron. Either the producers don’t help the teams or they were actively trying to sabotage Pimento, which it certainly appeared that way.
First, Yonni and Tomme had no way to get attention, other than their stand, at the zoo. Then, on opening day, Pimento was given a large batch of plantains for opening day, but half of them were not ripe and couldn’t be used. It’s not like the two teams go grocery shopping and pick out their own food. Someone on the production staff messed up big time and ended up giving Pimento half of the amount needed. Instead of trying to cook unripe plantains or completely giving up on the side dish altogether, Pimento cooked what they had and announced to everyone when they had run out of plantains.
Going into opening day, Slum Dogz won people over with marketing, even though their hot dogs were always dry. Pimento had good food as their only marketing tool. Everything seemed to go smoothly for Aaron and Kirsten, except for a couple second delay in opening. However, Slum Dogz still hadn’t figured out how to make sure they didn’t serve dry hot dogs. Pimento had to deal with the aforementioned plantain problem, which Yoni and Tomme handled well. Despite having better marketing, Slum Dogz lost to better food. Pimento Jamaican Kitchen will open at the Burnsville Mall on August 11th.
Posted on August 5, 2013, in Cable, Food Network, Reality TV and tagged aaron skoglund, burnsville mall, burnsville minnesota, kirsten shabaz, minnesota zoo, pimento jamaican kitchen, slum dogz, tomme beevas, yoni reinharz. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.