What Happened To The Bumbling Bee After Shark Tank?

A cynic might argue that vegan food is a complete waste of time consisting of nothing more than lettuce with the occasional addition of cabbage. They may wonder why anyone would want to spend their hard-earned cash lining their stomachs with such bland meals, and mock any entrepreneur dreaming of vegan food success.

The size of the global vegan market is therefore likely to shock everyone — not just cynics. According to Precedence Research, vegan food sales are estimated to achieve $26.83 billion a year, with that figure forecasted to surge to $65.4 billion by 2030. That's a lot of dollars for some lettuce.

It is perhaps such a narrow-minded view of vegan meals that prompted Cassandra and India Ayala to take on the daunting challenge of appearing in Episode 1224 of "Shark Tank," notes Shark Tank Blog. They bravely pitched their company The Bumbling Bee to business gurus Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, Kevin O'Leary, Mark Cuban, and Daniel Lubetzky (per YouTube). As Shark Tank Blog explains, the business was dedicated to making tasty vegan junk food. Hoping to stake a wider claim in the expanding vegan food industry, how did The Bumbling Bee fare on the show and what happened to the company afterwards?

The Sharks were impressed with the vegan snacks

To make an impact in a market as valuable as the vegan food industry, a special idea and mountains of dedication are required. To try to achieve this, the Ayala family started The Bumbling Bee with a food truck in 2011, details Shark Tank Blog. Success led to the company opening its first restaurant in Virginia in 2019, followed by a second one in Colorado in 2020.

When Cassandra and India Ayala arrived on "Shark Tank" they appeared full of confidence, arguing The Bumbling Bee offered a "new generation of fast food" and "isn't like anything you've had before," according to YouTube — strong statements to make to some of the country's most prominent businesspeople. The pair asked for a $150,000 investment for 10% of the company (via Shark Tank Blog). The company had produced sales of $194,000 in the year preceding their appearance on the show, and the family predicted that number would rise to $324,000.

Even though they loved the flavors, and while the company is regarded as one of the best foods to appear on the show, Shark Tank Blog explains that the Sharks were worried because the company had no proprietary rights to the food. As a result, none of the investors committed their money to The Bumbling Bee.

The Bumbling Bee flew back to its roots after Shark Tank

Despite being rejected by the business experts on "Shark Tank," Cassandra Ayala was defiant, posting on Facebook that it was okay The Bumbling Bee didn't acquire an investment because she'd had such a good time.

The company is still flying high after its television adventure, with the company's website proclaiming to be "blowing minds" with its portable restaurant across Virginia. Its menu is certainly bold, featuring a "Mother Clucker" meat-free burger for $14, a plant-based Coney Island chili cheese hot dog for $10, and a vegan "Maverick All American" burger priced at $14. The brand is active on Instagram, posting regular updates to more than 5,000 followers.

Sadly, The Bumbling Bee seems to no longer operate any physical restaurants despite their apparent financial success. The company's website explains that its Colorado store is closed due to "economic, mental, and physical impacts." The location's Instagram states, "Permanently closed," and references the brand's food truck account.