What Happened To Press Waffle After Shark Tank?

Perhaps there isn't enough recognition of just how flexible waffles are. We're not talking about their ability to perform handstands, but rather their ability to be suitable for many different meals. Pair them with some eggs and you've got breakfast; serve them with chicken for lunch or dinner; and drip chocolate all over them to create dessert. Whole businesses could be fueled by the versatility of waffles — and many are.

Taking advantage of the benefits of waffles as an entrepreneur is no easy task, considering the hefty competition that exists in the market. Waffle House is an obvious titan in the restaurant world, for example, which Forbes estimates achieved $1 billion in sales in 2020. On the retail side, Kellogg's Eggo waffles brought in more than $132 million in sales in 2021, according to Statista data. These figures would presumably be very difficult for a new business to compete with.

To muscle its way into the waffle industry, a hopeful business could only succeed with a large slice of ambition. That's exactly what Press Waffle's owners had when they asked celebrity investors for financial and business support on CNBC's "Shark Tank" in 2019. But where is the waffle company now — and did it become a success?

The number of Waffle House stores is increasing

Press Waffle, which was set up by brothers Bryan and Caleb Lewis in Dallas, aspired to build a customer base for Belgian Liege waffles in the U.S., according to Restaurant Business. This style of waffles is common in Europe but has been less so in the States. The owners hoped their product would win over Americans with a Liege waffle recipe of yeasted dough, proofed for 24 hours, and caramelized pearl sugar — plus sweet toppings.

When Press Waffle appeared on Season 10, Episode 17 of "Shark Tank," the Lewis brothers had already earned $450,000 in sales, and they asked for $200,000 more to expand the company, a YouTube video from the episode shows. Two of the Sharks loved the indulgent waffles, and they battled each other to win the Lewis brothers' approval. In the end, the duo agreed to Barbara Corcoran's offer of $300,000 for a 15% stake in Press Waffle. The company's website currently lists seven stores in Texas and nearby states, with a further four units being developed — not bad for a company that only started in 2016.

Waffle House has expanded into merchandise and franchising

Press Waffle seems to demonstrate its business advances through its diverse menu, which, in addition to many waffle creations — think a strawberry and cookie butter best seller, waffle ham and cheese sandwich, and a pick-your-own option — includes fresh, locally brewed coffee. Perhaps capitalizing on its television publicity, Press Waffle also promotes a merchandise shop that features two pages of waffle-themed items (such as T-shirts, hats, and sneakers) branded with slogans including "waffle beast," "ain't no party like a waffle party," and "every day I'm wafflin'" for between $12 and $70.

The Lewises also began franchising Press Waffle following their "Shark Tank" investment. The company's website shows that potential franchisees need at least $100,000 in cash to be eligible, and they must be willing to initially invest between $200,000 and $400,000. Royalties of between 2% and 6% will then have to be paid based on the amount of revenue achieved. The brothers credit the "Shark Tank" assistance with helping to take sales up to $1.3 million by late 2021, according to YouTube, demonstrating that commitment from all involved has helped to turn Press Waffle into an increasingly successful enterprise.