What Happened To Joe's Gourmet Fish Fry After Shark Tank?

Over the past 13 seasons, "Shark Tank" has introduced the world to hundreds of entrepreneurial hopefuls. These contestants are given a few minutes to pitch their sometimes amazing, sometimes ho-hum products to a panel full of Sharks and see if anybody bites. The Sharks in question are a panel of hugely successful businesspeople, which include Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Barbara Corcoran (as per All Shark Tank Products). Five of these six sharks appear in every episode and are often joined by guest investors. Previous guest investors have included Spanx founder Sara Blakely, billionaire "Shark Tank" alum Jamie Siminoff, 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki, and tennis champ Maria Sharapova.

While some of these entrepreneurs make a big splash after they enter the tank, others flounder. As we gear up for the September 23 premiere of the new season on ABC, everybody's wondering what happened to their favorites, like what happened to Oatmeals after "Shark Tank". So, what about fish breading mix Joe's Gourmet Fish Fry? Did they sink or swim?

Going for a dip with the Sharks

Joe and Maranda Dowell appeared in season 9 episode 16, which originally aired in January 2018 (per All Shark Tank Products). The Atlanta couple made a very enthusiastic pitch for their product, Joe's Gourmet Fish Fry (via CNBC/YouTube), a special breading developed by husband Joe that was used on the fried fish and shrimp that he sold through his catering business and at events around the Southeast. Previously, they had owned restaurants in Atlanta and New Orleans but were forced to close after Hurricane Katrina. The product is notable because it absorbs less oil, giving your fish, shrimp, chicken, or veggies a nice savory crunch while still allowing the natural flavor to shine through (via the company's website). The husband and wife team decided to start selling it after they had received so many requests for the recipe when they were selling their fried seafood at events.

The Dowells had already established a pretty good base when they appeared on "Shark Tank." At the time of the taping, they were celebrating their seventh week in Walmart stores. The breading mix was also for sale in a selection of Atlanta-area and Southeast grocery stores including HEB, Publix, Kroger, Meijer, and Winn-Dixie (via Shark Tank Blog). But their numbers were still low. Despite their wide distribution network, their lifetime sales were lagging around $409,000. The couple asked for $150,000 for 15% of their business.

Where are they now?

Despite receiving an offer of $150,000 for 25% equity from Daymond John, according to Shark Tank Blog, the deal apparently never closed. However, these spirited entrepreneurs appear to be doing fine on their own. Joe and Miranda Dowell's products are now sold in over 1200 stores east of the Mississippi. That's right, products. They've branched out.

In 2019, Joe's Gourmet started offering prepared fried catfish in supermarkets. Also in 2019, the Dowells appeared on QVC selling frozen Southern fried shrimp breaded with Joe's Gourmet Fish Fry (as per QVC/YouTube). The fried shrimp was so popular that it's now available through the Joe's Gourmet website as well as in grocery stores throughout the Midwest, South, and Southeast. Another new innovation is a gluten-free version of their classic fish fry.

One of the bigger changes is that Joe's Gourmet has become a franchise, or at least its restaurants have. The Dowells opened Joe's Gourmet Fish and Chicken in Lithia Springs, Georgia, and announced their franchise offering in November 2020. They currently have two locations, the second in College Park, Georgia. Both locations are inside of Walmart stores, but they do deliver. These days, Joe's Gourmet's annual revenues are around $5 million (per Shark Tank Blog). Not too shabby.