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?

What happened during the episode?

When brothers Bryan and Caleb Lewis founded Press Waffle, they aspired to build a customer base for Belgian Liege waffles in the United States. While Belgian Liege waffles are a popular treat in parts of Europe, they aren't commonly served here in the States. The owners hoped to win over their American market 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 asked the sharks for $200,000 in exchange for 8% equity in their company. Impressed by the product and its growing sales numbers, two of the Sharks — appearing to have a sweet tooth — wanted a bite of the company. They engaged in a contentious battle for the Lewis brothers' favor, but In the end, the duo agreed to Barbara Corcoran's offer of $300,000 for a 15% stake in Press Waffle.

Where is Press Waffle now?

Following their appearance on Shark Tank, Brian and Caleb Lewis put Barbara Corcoran's $300,000 investment to good use. Before Corcoran joined the Press Waffle team, the brothers had accrued $450,000 in sales. Just 5 months after striking a deal with the Shark, however, they had raked in 1.3 million in sales and opened their fourth location in Oklahoma City — they're first outside the Lone Star state.

Press Waffle seems to demonstrate its business advances through its diverse menu, which, in addition to many waffle creations, 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 T-shirts, hats, and sneakers for between $12 and $70.

After appearing on Shark Tank, the Lewis brothers received 400 offers to franchise Press Waffle, and they had designs to open 10 new locations that same year. While COVID-19 restrictions effectively halted these plans in 2020, by 2021, Press Waffle had opened locations in Arkansas, Colorado, and Missouri. Earlier this year, Press Waffle also secured a deal to expand its franchise to Atlanta, and their website suggests that they have plans to open three additional locations.

Currently, the brothers offer the option to franchise Press Waffle for an initial investment between $200,000 and $400,000 with Press Waffle receiving between 2% and 6% royalties based on the restaurant's revenue. At present, Press Waffle is raking in $8.5 million in annual revenue, according to Shark Tank Blog.