Here's What Happened To Atlas Monroe Vegan Fried Chicken After Shark Tank

The demand for plant-based meat has been skyrocketing as more people have adopted a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle over the years. As of 2019, there are nearly 10 million vegans in the United States, compared with only 290,000 in 2004, an Ipsos study found. And in recent years, food companies from Beyond Meat to Impossible Foods have released a slew of vegetarian proteins for plant-based customers and open-minded omnivores.

Another one of these companies is Atlas Monroe, a vegan food company based in San Francisco. The founder and CEO, Deborah Torres, appeared on Season 11, Episode 2 of "Shark Tank," alongside her brother, Jonathan Torres, according to Shark Tank Tales. At the time, their goal was to buy a facility to fulfill orders for their growing business. But after the judges sampled some of the company's famous fried "chicken," the pair ended up declining the Sharks' $1 million offer (via CNBC). Despite that decision, their food venture is doing swimmingly well since its television appearance.

What is Atlas Monroe and where is it now?

Deborah Torres founded Atlas Monroe after her father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, according to Shark Tank Tales. She helped him make the switch to a raw vegan diet for 30 days, which inspired her to create a company that makes creative and exciting plant-based dishes. When she appeared on "Shark Tank," she felt that the Sharks' $1 million offer was not high enough, as Torres estimated that her business would eventually rake in $24 million, reports CNBC.

Season 11, Episode 2 of "Shark Tank" aired in October of 2019, and as of late 2021, Atlas Monroe is now on track "to become the largest manufacturer of vegan fried chicken in the world," says the Shark Tank Tales update. The company is constantly selling out of its goods, even though its owners now have the multi-million dollar facility they had always wanted — as well as plans to open a second. Atlas Monroe has also won multiple awards and accolades at fried chicken festivals, according to press mentions shown on its website.

How a new manufacturing facility changed the game

When Deborah Torres appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2019, Mark Cuban and Rohan Oza offered her and her brother 1 million dollars for 100% ownership of Atlas Monroe, their vegan fried chicken company. Had she agreed to the deal, Torres would no longer have owned the company, but would still be eligible to receive 10% royalties on the sale of her products moving forward. However. Torres turned the offer down. "The fact you guys are even offering a million dollars lets me know you do understand what we are worth," she told the sharks at the time (via Veg News).

She knew her worth, however, and it's a good thing that she did. The year after Torres' "Shark Tank" appearance, Atlas Monroe raked in $2 million in sales. In July 2021, Torres appeared on the Business for Good Podcast with Paul Shapiro, where she explained that while she didn't wind up taking the shark's million-dollar deal, the experience turned out to be quite lucrative for her and her business. Viewers were so intrigued by the product that pre-orders started rolling in. It was with that money that Torres said she was able to acquire the first manufacturing facility for Atlas Monroe in April 2021. While she says plans for a second — and possibly even a third — facility is in the works, the one the company has now is already shipping out over 20,000 pieces of vegan chicken a week.

New products, new partnerships

With the help of a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, Atlas Monroe has greatly expanded its vegan food offerings, now selling more than 30 items, including applewood-fired ribs, beef lasagna, Philly cheese steaks, and fried and stuffed turkey. The company even offers savory sides like mac and cheese, and decadent desserts like chocolate cake. 

In January 2022, Atlas Monroe announced a massive partnership with Copper Branch, a vegan restaurant with over 40 locations across the U.S. and Canada. Atlas Monroe products are also on the menu at several other vegan restaurants across California, Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and South Carolina. While Atlas Monroe does not yet have its own restaurant location, the brand's website says that the team is working on launching one.

For now, Atlas Monroe products can be purchased online, however, founder Deborah Torres has said that deals with several stores are also in the works. California-based grocery store Bristol Farms is set to carry the vegan products as well as a yet-to-be-named national grocery store chain, Torres told Green Matters in 2021.