What Happened To Cupbop After Shark Tank?

What do a former investment banker and a former break dancer have in common? Korean BBQ in a cup! Dok Kwon worked in the financial sector for seven years before becoming a co-owner of Cupbop, a Taylorsville, Utah-based food truck co-owned by Jung Song. Song was a former restaurant server and break dancer who co-founded the food truck in 2013 with fellow South Korean immigrants J. Park and J.K. Kim. For Kwon, the combination of wanting a major career change and seeing the potential of Cupbop — where he was a weekly customer — helped him make the decision to join Song in growing the fast-food concept. That potential started to be realized through the power of dance.

Kwon recalled that in the early going, Song would become so frustrated by the other food trucks getting all the customers that he decided to attract people by "yelling and dancing." Before pitching Cupbop in the thirteenth season of "Shark Tank" in May 2022, their food truck business had already expanded to 27 brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S.

At the time of filming, Cupbop was already a successful enterprise. So, what was their goal on Shark Tank? Kwon offered an answer in the form of a question: "Did you know there's only one Asian concept in the top 50 quick-service restaurants?" Of course, he was referring to Panda Express, a multi-billion-dollar brand. "There's room for more, and we are next!"

The Sharks are reeled in

Even before Dok Kwon and "Shark Tank" came along, Jung Song had big goals. "We want to overtake Panda Express just like a tiger would overtake a panda," Song told the Taylorsville City Journal back in 2017. According to the company's website, Cupbop has dozens of locations throughout six states: Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Oklahoma. Panda Express, on the other hand, boasts more than 2,300 restaurants throughout the U.S. Cupbop has some catching up to do to outpace its biggest competitor.

The concept of Cupbop is simultaneously unique and simple. The menu includes customizable bowls of Korean barbeque dishes with an umami medley of meat, noodles, rice, and various vegetables and sauces. On average, a Bop Bowl costs between $10 and $11. But would the Sharks be sold on the idea of Korean BBQ to-go?

When Kwon and Song appeared on "Shark Tank," they asked the panel for $1 million for a 3% stake in the business. At first, the Sharks were a bit surprised by the request. The fact that Kwon and Song only owned half of the company may have added another wrinkle. But once the Sharks heard that Cupbop pulled in a whopping $18.7 million in 12 months, all five of them — Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O'Leary, and Mark Cuban — made offers. Not one investor offered less than $1 million.

Mark Cuban made an offer to invest in Cupbop

Mark Cuban thought he knew what Cupbop needed. "You've got the operations down. You need someone to propel you in terms of marketing and PR just to be able to have a national presence," he said. He went on to explain that he has the national platform that could help Jung Song and Dok Kwon increase their company's visibility. After some negotiations, the duo accepted an offer of $1 million for a 5% stake from Cuban.

Cupbop has opened nine additional brick-and-mortar stores since the "Shark Tank" episode was filmed in early 2022. However, there is no evidence that the deal with Cuban ever actually closed. Even so, if there's not currently a Cupbop near you, there might be one in the future because it seems the company's mission to keep expanding is well on track.

New Cupbop locations are continuing to pop up every few months. As of June 2023, there are nearly 50 locations across America, with the first Texas store opening soon, according to the company's Facebook.