How Shark Tank franchises have fared since appearing on the show
In just more than 10 years since its debut, “Shark Tank” has welcomed hundreds of entrepreneurs into the tank. They enter eager to strike a deal with an influential shark and boost their businesses’ growth exponentially. Some leave with a powerful partner and some go away empty-handed, although even the exposure to a national viewing audience can jump-start sales. Several of these businesses have been pitched as franchises or evolved into franchises. We look at how some Shark Tank franchises have fared with or without a shark by their side.
The Cincinnati-based eatery took the grilled cheese and tomato soup combo to a new level. The grilled cheese donut put the popup tent on the map and led to several TV appearances, culminating in a deal with Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran, although Cuban pulled out over disagreements on franchising. Corcoran stayed in, and the Shark Tank franchise reached 35 locations before contracting and selling to GSR Brands. Today there are 12 locations but more coming, with a focus on scaled-down menus and stores.
Mainers and cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac brought the taste of their home to the food truck scene of Los Angeles in 2012. Corcoran invested in the franchise in a Shark Tank appearance, and though the lobsters are always sourced from Maine cold water, there are now about three dozen restaurants and food trucks in 16 states.
A model named Richard caught the sharks’ attention by disrobing, but it was the drinking and painting business model that attracted Kevin O’Leary. “It’s a very successful model because if you can get more franchisees to open faster, everything works for everybody,” O’Leary said. “I want the franchisees to become rich. That’s the whole point of this.” There are franchises in 22 states, offering wine and painting parties that let the creativity fly, plus kids programs (wine not included).
The COOP is an upscale children’s play place with locations in California and Texas. It offers open time and private parties with entertainment for kids and adults alike. With investment from Corcoran, the Shark Tank franchise also launched the COOP CRATE, a “party in a box” that allows customers to bring the party to them. After steady but slow growth, franchising sent the COOP into the gains its founders and Corcoran sought.
The pitch struck out with the sharks, but this Shark Tank franchise nonetheless was a hit with consumers. There are more than 50 locations across 18 states making use of the patented flash-freezing technique developed by founder Jerry Hancock. To show there are no hard feelings, Sub Zero even came out with a discounted Black Friday gift card commemorating the appearance in the tank.
Robert Herjavec offered founders Shannon and Florian Radke a $200,000 deal, but they turned it down over differences in the vision for a Shark tank franchise. Still, the vegan bakery has 38 locations across the US and Canada, with more opening in 2020. “Eighty percent of our customers don’t even know our product is vegan. They come because they love the taste of our product,” Florian Radke told San Francisco Business Times. “If you base it just on being vegan, you set up for failure.”
The sharks weren’t too into the grooming salon for guys, but viewers were, investing $200,000 into Michael Elliot’s grooming club. There are a dozen locations nationwide with San Diego and Willow Glen, Calif., stores on the way offering haircuts and beard trimming alongside manicures and pedicures. Given that Elliot received 800 franchise requests in the aftermath of his airing, this truly is a Shark Tank franchise.
Since appearing on Shark Tank, the cryotherapy company has partnered with LA Fitness and expanded into compression therapy, electric stimulation, red light therapy, and facials. The cryotherapy chambers provide a quick (1-3 minute) session at ultra-low temperatures that reduce body inflammation, helping with pain management and muscle soreness. The cryoskin fat loss therapy promises to seek and destroy fat cells permanently.