Here's How Atlas Monroe Vegan Chicken Is Doing After Shark Tank

Given the rise in demand for plant-based food items, Atlas Monroe has positioned itself to capture the market with its flagship offering: extra crispy fried chick'n. And according to CNBC, founder Deborah Torres has stated that the inspiration for the line came from her father. 

When he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the family aimed to support him by adopting a raw, organic, and vegan lifestyle for 90 days. After 90 days, they decided to continue the journey but began experimenting with recipes, and that's how Atlas Monroe came to be.

The company gained national attention when Jonathan and Deborah Torres were featured on the "Shark Tank." While the judges were pleasantly surprised by how tasty the food was, things got a little shaky when the judges brought up finances. Despite hoping for a $500,000 line of credit for a 10% stake in the company, the pair were disappointed by what the judges offered. Undeterred, they recognized the value of their product and declined to accept the offers.

Life after Shark Tank

Imagine turning down a million-dollar investment from "Shark Tank" billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Well, according to Green Queen, that's precisely what Atlas Monroe founder Deborah Torres did back in 2019. In return for his investment, Cuban wanted 100% ownership of the business, with only 10% of royalties going to Jonathan and Deborah Torres (per CNBC). 

Despite being disappointed with her offers on the show, Deborah is having the last laugh as the vegan chicken company, Atlas Monroe, is set to become the largest plant-based fried chicken manufacturer. And the best part is that she's the sole owner of the multimillion-dollar operation. (That includes the company and its 10,000-square-foot facility.)

With all this success, one wonders what is next for the company. In a May interview with the Vegetarian Times, Torres discussed what she calls "Atlas Monroe 2.0." This expansion includes new products, including a grilled chick'n line, "white meat" extra crispy fried chick'n breast, and chick'n strips to complement the "dark meat" chick'n collection.

The downside of fame

At the turn of the century, the rise of reality TV changed the concept of celebrity. Reality TV had the power to project relative unknowns into stardom for many reasons. Whether it was the vocal prowess of a then-unknown Kelly Clarkson on "American Idol" or a look at the life of the Kardashian family, audiences became invested in the everyday lives of people they didn't know in a way that may have seemed unimaginable just a few decades prior. For the people on the show, this level of intrusion comes with pros and cons, something Deborah Torres found herself learning all too well.

According to Torres, her stint on "Shark Tank" left many with a misconception about who she was and how she handled her business (per VegNews). She spoke on how edited conversations she had on the show left the impression that she was unintelligent, and that was something she did not expect to see when it aired.

Torres stated to VegNews in 2021, "Imagine being a Black woman in America, graduating high school at age 15 and receiving your first degree at 17, all to be made to look like an idiot on national television for the sake of views when you were just trying to pursue your dreams — it was crushing, to say the least." Given the brand's success after her appearance, it's safe to say few can question her business bona fides.