Custard Stand from Shark Tank

custard stand shark tank

Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili is a company that uses a traditional family recipe to produce 100% ground beef. The recipe consists of high-quality ingredients, including a secret combo of spices.

Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili creates a meat-based hotdog topping. The sauce can be likened to a Coney Island sauce, Texas Weiner sauce, or a Michigan sauce, depending upon your residential location.

A typical West Virginia hotdog will comprise a frank (or wiener) placed on a steaming hot bun, along with mustard, onions, coleslaw, and chilies. Some people also like to add cheese to this mixture.

If you are a connoisseur of West Virginia hotdogs, Custard Stand products might be a bit too mild for your liking. However, an extra-mild hotdog is always better than an excessively spicy one: there is no way to spice things down, but there are plenty of options if you want to spice them up.

Custard Stand was co-founded by the husband-wife duo of Dee and Angie Cowger, in 1991.

Prior to that, they had been serving ice-creams and hotdogs throughout the Webster Springs region in West Virginia. Their traditional family sauce was a big hit among friends and customers.

Witnessing an increase in demand, the Cowgers started using a car wash behind their hotdog stand, to package and sell the chili. Later, the carwash was converted into a manufacturing facility, and was approved by the USDA.

The couple has since added another shop in Flatwoods, West Virginia. In addition, they have signed a deal with a franchisee that operates four more Custard Stand stores in Oak Hill, Mannington, Elkins, and Danville.

The business is enjoying continuous growth, and you can find Custard Stand chili in close to 20 states spanning the Southeast and Midwest coasts. The products are available at Walmart, Kroger, IGA, Sam’s Club, and a number of other pop and mom businesses. The Cowgers also sell their chili to various restaurants.

Is Custard Stand Still an Active Business?

Yes, Custard Stand is still operational. As of May 2022, the business has annual revenue of more than $15 million.

How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?

Anger and Dee Cowger featured on Shark Tank’s ‘Made in America Special’ episode (episode 718). The couple was looking for a Shark who could help enhance the business’ production capability and turn Custard Stand into a national business.

The Cowgers were seeking an investment of $400,000 in exchange for a 10% stake in their company – a valuation of $4 million.

The couple starts its pitch, telling that the Custard Stand began its operations over two decades ago. The most sought-after product is the chili, which is made using a recipe that Angie’s grandmother taught her. The chili does not contain any chemicals or fillers and, according to Angie, ‘you can pronounce every single component on the packaging.

They distribute the chili samples, and mention that the chili soup does contain beans, even though the chilies themselves don’t. The year before their Shark Tank appearance, Anger and Dee had sold their products to regional retailers and generated annual revenue of $1.6 million. Of this, $217,000 was profit.

Daymond liked the chili, but felt that the $400,000 investment would not be sufficient to turn Custard Stand into a national brand.

Daymond said that, in order to scale while maintaining the integrity and quality of the product, the business would have to invest in research and development, and establish stores throughout the country. Since he did not see the Cowgers achieving their objective with this amount, Daymond stepped out of the deal.

According to Lori, the couple was doing a ‘fantastic’ job. However, since she preferred spicier chilies, she could not relate to the product and will therefore not be able to invest.

Robert, too, feels that the business has done amazingly so far, but thinks that rolling the product and brand out nationally would be a very daunting task.

As per Kevin, the company is worth $1 million, and that the $4 million valuation is in no way justified. Due to the steepness of the valuation, Kevin stepped out of the deal.

Mark appreciated Anger and Dee, acknowledging that they were multimillionaires and an inspiration for every couple watching the show. However, he felt that the business had way too many moving pieces, and the uncertainty made Custard Stand an un-investable business for him.

Although the couple attracted a lot of plaudits and compliments from the Shark, they could not attract an offer, and had to leave the stage without securing a deal.

Despite failing to get any of the Sharks to bite, Custard Stand still derived a lot of benefit from their appearance on the show. Following the airing of the episode, the company witnessed a 20% increase in their yearly sales.

In May of 2022, the company opened 600 Kroger stores throughout Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, South Carolina, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia.

Our Review of Custard Stand Chili

One of the best store-bought chilies out there, there is obviously a lot to like about Custard Stand. For one, it does not contain any soy or fillers – just pure beef, along with a few seasonings. It has a sweet flavor that appeals to most, if not all, buyers. It is also extremely easy to fix, and is considerably healthier than many other canned chilies.

Pros of Custard Stand Chili

  • Does not contain any fillers or soy
  • Contains 100%, pure ground beef
  • Easy to prepare

Cons of Custard Stand Chili

  • Has a slightly sweet taste which might not be liked by everyone

Our Final Thoughts

Custard Stand utilizes a traditional family recipe to prepare its chilies using ground beef and seasonings. Despite not securing a deal on Shark Tank, the business has gone from strength to strength and, as of May 2022, has upped its annual earnings to over $15 million.