Here's What Happened To Nuchas After Shark Tank

There are lots of products we see on "Shark Tank" that stay with us, especially the food items, and one of the tastiest-seeming were the flaky, internationally-inspired empanadas from Nuchas. Nuchas owner Ariel Barbouth and his wife had the idea for the business after moving to America from Argentina in 2009. Their goal was to transform a simple empanada recipe into a convenient gourmet good. From there, they quickly opened a manufacturing facility and sold empanadas to many stores and airlines.

Ariel Barbouth was the first to enter the tank to present Nuchas on his episode, and he did his best to sell the sharks on his gourmet, hand-made take on empanadas. After all, his business was already making waves, being named the 2013 Vendy Awards Rookie of the Year and winning a 2014 People's Taste award for the creative foods coming out of Nuchas. The company sold products that ranged from traditional Argentine beef empanadas to sweet options filled with apples, cranberries, and Nutella. It sounds delicious, but did he convince the sharks to invest?

What happened to Nuchas on 'Shark Tank'?

When Nuchas' owner Ariel Barbouth presented in front of "Shark Tank" investors, he was hoping for $2 million in exchange for 8% of his company. He revealed the business had made $5 million in sales in the current year, with $3 million coming from third-party partnerships and another $800,000 from a kiosk in Times Square. Though he said he would net $700,000 for the current year, he claimed that he could triple that number if the company sold $12 million as expected. It's clear the company's footing was well in place, but was it enough for the sharks to take a bite?

Unfortunately, Barbouth's dreams of gaining a shark on his team fell short. Sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner dropped out first without making an offer. Daymond John agreed to make a deal, though he asked for 25% equity instead of the 8% that Barbouth proposed. Barbara Corcoran also made an offer and also suggested that the company develop a franchise model, but she wanted 100% of the company's retail portion. In the end, Barbouth's need to hold on to more equity resulted in no deal. "I received two very tempting offers but neither one of these felt like the correct start for a true partnership, and it was not because of the money," Barbouth shared in an interview with Startup Valley. "So, I turned down both offers and left with no regrets."

Nuchas After 'Shark Tank'

Nuchas founder Ariel Barbouth says that "saying no [to the offers] made the following months significantly harder" following his "Shark Tank" appearance (via Startup Valley). But though Nuchas didn't end up getting an investment deal, it seems that Barbouth did get some useful inspiration. Barbara Corcoran had suggested he franchise the business, and after Nuchas' episode aired, the company started offering franchises. After the episode was filmed, but before it aired, Nuchas also partnered with former "Shark Tank" contestant Yumble!, including its empanadas in that company's meal delivery service kits for children.

Barbouth's episode of "Shark Tank" aired in April of 2019, and just a year later, the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting shut-downs led to big changes in how many companies did business. "2020 has been a transition year where nothing was taken for granted," Barbouth shared with Startup Valley, saying that, "Our goal was to keep our team safe and the business running," and that "throughout 2020 we have invested heavily in brand & team building to come our swinging once it is safe to do so." So where is the company today?

Is Nuchas still in business?

Though Nuchas' operations look a little different these days than before, the company is still in business. These days, it's focused on both wholesaling and direct-to-consumer sales. Customers can order a wide variety of Nuchas' empanadas on the company's website, and the empanadas are then shipped frozen to customers' homes, where they can be baked on-demand whenever the craving for an empanada strikes.

The company currently has four locations in New York City, including one in Times Square and another at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. They also have a location at the Georgia World Congress Center, and they also have a gourmet food truck that can be found at events throughout New York City, and at other convention center locations including the Boston Convention Center. Nuchas is doing pretty well for itself, too — the company is making about $5 million a year, and is valued at about $8 million.

What's next for Nuchas?

How will Nuchas fare in the future? It seems the company is no longer franchising, and is instead pouring its energy into wholesale distribution and direct-to-consumer sales, both through an online store and also through Door Dash delivery. It seems like the mail-order empanadas have been a hit with customers. On Yelp, one reviewer said the empanadas ordered from the company's website are "soooo good," and that "the ham and cheese ones and the spinach and portobello ones are absolutely a must try."

The company hasn't stopped innovating, either. While Barbouth initially "wanted to bring our well-known Argentine empanadas to NY," he says that he later realized that "it was not so much to bring Argentina to NY, but the world to you...from traditional Argentine empanadas to handheld meals from everywhere on Earth" (via Startup Valley). That's why the company continues to add new flavors to its line-up, including these recent additions: Philly cheesesteak, adobo chicken, sausage egg & cheese, pizza margherita, spinach egg & cheese, and pinto bean. Only time will tell what new flavors and opportunities are in store for Nuchas as the company continues to grow.