Nuchas is a fantastic example of the melting pot of The US helping immigrants achieve their dreams. The business was started by Argentinian entrepreneur Ariel Barbouth who arrived from his home country in 2009 with a few thousand dollars and a dream. Barbouth started selling Empanadas from a little kiosk in the iconic location of Times Square, and thus, Nuchas took form as a passion project that is going strong to this date.
Nuchas focuses on carefully made delicious empanadas that reflect Barbouth’s Latin roots and American diversity. The business aspires to make its products a marriage of convenience and culture, all in the form of handheld food. The empanadas come in a range of flavors that incorporate different cultures. From shrimp jambalaya to palak paneer empanadas, Nuchas is fast food with depth.
The business has expanded through its own manufacturing facility and has a booming wholesale business in addition to its carts. Nuchas can be found in several everyday settings such as sports games, flights, office canteens, etc. In addition to the wholesale business, Nuchas has opened new retail locations well following their Shark Tank appearance. The company now rakes in millions of dollars in revenue and is visibly going from strength to strength.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Ariel Barbouth could communicate his passion and confidence in his business in his Shark Tank pitch. The Sharks were interested in his story and background as it tied in directly with his product. Barbouth asked for $2 million for 8% of his company. Exclamations of shock and awe met this incredibly optimistic valuation of the business by the Sharks. However, they were willing to hear Barbouth out.
Barbouth explained his background as an Argentinian immigrant to the Sharks and how he was able to turn his $9000 into a successful business. He reiterated his belief that empanadas were the future of handheld food as they provide convenience without compromising on richness and flavor. He handed out the samples of his product to the Sharks. The taste test was successful as all of the Sharks agreed that the product was exceptional in taste.
The Sharks were interested in the product after tasting it. However, they were mainly interested in the high valuation of the business. The veteran entrepreneurs began to grill Barbouth about his finances. Barbouth revealed that his carts were doing good business. His four retail locations in New York City bought $2 million in sales. He was also actively looking to focus on the wholesale aspect of the business as it bought in $ 3 million in sales.
The Sharks were impressed by the revenue. Barbara Corcoran inquired why Barbouth required such a large sum. The entrepreneur replied that he wanted to upscale his manufacturing facility to branch out his wholesale sector further. O’Leary was skeptical about this and suggested outsourcing the manufacturing. Barbouth insisted that would decrease the quality of his product, and Corcoran agreed. O’Leary was still dubious about spending a huge amount of money on manufacturing facilities as it would not ensure him getting his money back as an investor. Barbouth informed him that he was in talks with airlines for deals.
Mark Cuban felt that the wholesale business was too big a gamble for the amount that Barbouth was asking for. He declined to make an offer. O’Leary also echoed that sentiment and said that the margins would be lower in the wholesale business and he would also have to fund the company’s retail side. He backed out of making an offer citing these reasons. Lori Greiner felt that Barbouth was asking for an incredibly high amount, making it impossible to negotiate. She declined to partner with the entrepreneur.
John Daymond saw the potential in the business and offered Barbouth $2 million for 25% of the company. He stated that he needed to make his money back in four years as he was building a portfolio. Therefore, he needed more significant equity. Barbouth was perplexed by this offer, as he was unwilling to part with too much of his company. Corcoran was also interested. However, she put forth a differently structured deal. She offered $1 million for the entire retail section of the business and another $1 million as collateral. Ariel did not want to do away with his retail outlets as he believed they would be on par with his wholesale.
Barbouth declined Daymond’s offer, saying he could not part with that much of his business. He made a counter offer of 10%, which Daymond swiftly rejected. Barbouth then turned to Corcoran for negotiation and offered her 80% of the retail for $2 million. Corcoran did not believe it to be of good value and rejected the offer. Barbouth then left his Shark Tank pitch without securing a deal.
Our Review of Nuchas
Nuchas are simple, delicious empanadas with a twist. They provide ease and convenience, especially in major cities where people are looking for a quick, hassle-free meal during work. Several awards have recognized their taste, and O’Leary even witnessed huge queues outside the cart in Times Square. Like any product, the Nuchas empanadas come with their pros and cons.
Pros of Nuchas
- Handheld food that can be easily consumed in any setting
- Nutritious and can easily be a whole meal
- Vegetarian and Vegan options available on the menu
- All-natural ingredients
- Empanada filling inspired by different cuisines such as Indian and Caribbean
- Baked and not fried, therefore, can be part of a healthy diet
- Dessert empanadas also part of the menu
Cons of Nuchas
- Some customers found the crust too greasy
- Can be considered overpriced
- Some customers found the filling to be too limited and not hearty
Who Is It For?
Empanadas are convenient food for anyone. However, their focus on being hand-held antheirts location means that it targets working people looking to grab a quick meal during work. The wholesale business is mainly meant for people in any setting due to the convenience of the food.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Barbouth himself admitted that many people with the same South American heritage as his launched their Empanada business. This means several companies focus on serving empanadas in the market. Some of these businesses in New York City are:
- Empanada Mama
- Empanada Loca
- El Gauchito
Nuchas is a wonderful reflection of America’s melting pot and it continues to fly the flag of diversity with their delicious empanadas. The market for their empanadas is ripe as more people look for convenient meals that do not compromise on quality and taste.