What Happened To Plated After Shark Tank?

For busy people who want dinner served but want to skip the food delivery, drive-thru, or frozen dinner, the table seemed empty back in the early 2010s. Options like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and others were not part of the food conversation. Prepackaged, prepped ingredients with a recipe required shopping and planning by the home cook. When Plated appeared on "Shark Tank," the judges seemed hungry to learn more about this cooking convenience.

As seen on YouTube, founders Nick Taranto and Josh Hix appeared on "Shark Tank" in Season 5, episode 22. They stated that Plated's goal was to help Americans eat better. Asking $500,000 for 4% equity in the company, the request was first met with slight shock from the sharks, but the concept gave way to a spirited conversation on food competition, margins, and the quest to go from zero to kitchen hero. While Plated might have touted that cooking is believing, the majority of sharks were unwilling to bite. Still, the Shark Tank experience is not always about securing the deal on a single episode.

Did Plated get a Shark Tank deal on its episode?

When Plated looked to scale its regional food business to a larger audience, the Shark Tank opportunity was a reason to dive into the deep end. The company founders, Nick Taranto and Josh Hix, presented a clear business plan with solid financials to the sharks. But, getting them to take the bait needed to be more flavorful than just any takeout or another boring cookbook meal.

As stated by Bizneske.com, Plated received a deal from Mark Cuban for $500,000 for 6% equity in the business. While the handshake was made on the show, the funding was never completed. Plated sought to negotiate the terms. But, not all was lost for the food brand. The entrepreneurial duo was not going to let any opportunity slip from their grasp. Luckily, the follow-up show "Beyond the Tank" was waiting to give the potential kitchen heroes a helping hand.

How Beyond the Tank heated up Plated's business plan

While many businesses walk away from "Shark Tank" with solid business deals, that situation is only one version of success. For other businesses, the mere appearance on the show can create increased sales and new partnerships. As reported by Heavy, Plated's PR manager, Sonya Safro, said, "We did more revenue on the back of Shark Tank in the two days following than we did in two years." Although the Mark Cuban deal went bust, another shark gobbled up the opportunity following a CNBC taping.

Although the specific terms of the agreement were not revealed, Kevin O'Leary was interested in investing and took the plunge. According to Shark Tank Success, Plated increased its sales to the $10 million range, added more fulfillment centers, increased staff, and saw the potential for incremental growth. The meal subscription service could reach 95% of the U.S., and Plated allowed many home cooks to taste chef-designed recipes with prepped ingredients in a simplified manner. Although the service might require people to plan menus further in advance, those "evolved eaters" who strive to eat and live better found a tasty solution for what's for dinner.

Did Plated capture its section of the meal kit market?

As meal kits grew in popularity, Plated sought to leverage its "Shark Tank" and "Beyond the Tank" exposure to capture a segment of the meal kit market. According to a 2015 interview with INC, the brand's founders, Nick Taranto and Josh Hix, commented that the company had an average growth of "500% per year and expect(ed) to be profitable within 12 months." While the brand had logistical mistakes initially, the company continued to look ahead instead of wallowing in past errors. With the help of Kevin O'Leary, Plated kept moving forward.

According to Heavy, Plated looked to their customers, the "evolved eaters," for feedback on what foods should be in the box. As the "first meal kit company to only source antibiotic and hormone-free meat and domestic, sustainably sourced seafood," it realized the importance of being different in the sea of sameness. In addition, it offered desserts to transform the meal kit box into a multi-course dinner. Given that the growth of this food business was taking off, Plated appreciated that it needed to use its social media following, responsiveness to its customers, and recipe variety to keep people coming back.

Where is Plated now?

After growing its brand and capturing a portion of the market, Plated was acquired by Albertsons in 2017, as reported by CNBC. The $300 million deal gave Albertsons' the rights to Plated's "technology and data" while exposing Plated to Albertsons' 35 million weekly customers. It ended up being a sweet deal for shark Kevin O'Leary, who made a 1,346% return on his investment.

While the Albertsons and Plated partnership was poised for success, business can be fickle. In 2019, an Albertsons press release stated that Plated would transition from a "dinner-based subscription solution to a comprehensive in-house culinary brand." The idea was to bring Plated into the Own Brands while still highlighting the key concepts of "convenience, lifestyle, and cooking experience." Today, Plated.com redirects to Safeway.com. While the idea of "Plated" might still be on the table, the name has been cleaned from the dishes. But, the company's founders and one shark feasted on a successful business idea.