Southern Culture Artisan Foods from Shark Tank

Southern Culture Artisan Foods shark tank

Erica Barrett is the founder of Southern Culture Artisan Foods and executed her idea of a southern-style breakfast, which became very popular among the general public.

Ever since she was a child, Erica had an intense passion for cooking food, which led her to experiment with lots of food dishes in her adulthood, eventually appearing on The Food Network.

She won the competition and received praise for her cooking skills, and developed an interest in trying to improve pre-existing breakfast items, mainly pancakes.

After visiting her local food market, she quickly realized that she wasn’t at all impressed by the options available and wanted to improve pancake mixes by adding unique flavors and ingredients to spice up the breakfast item.

Eventually, she opened her food business selling southern culture foods and appeared on America’s Mart, where her pancakes were so delicious and enjoyed by everyone that she received more than 80,000 USD in orders.

Feeling quite pleased with herself, she spent countless hours perfecting her recipes and making them as delicious as possible for the masses.

Currently, her business has several kinds of pancake and waffle mix flavors that are sold in more than tens of stores across the country and are also available on Amazon.

She wished to appear on Shark Tank to receive extra funding so she could expand her business in national chains.

Erica enters Shark Tank seeking a 100,000 USD investment for a 25% stake in her company and starts off by presenting her food samples to all of the sharks.

In terms of flavor, everyone was quite impressed but began questioning her about her sales and what she had managed to accomplish thus far.

She explained that she had sold over 100,000 USD in orders and made 62,000 USD in profits while having better prospects on the horizon.

Her pancakes and waffle mixes cost 0.99-1.50 USD to make and sell for 7.99 USD, which is a pretty significant profit margin.

Kevin and Barbara express their concerns about why the business might not kick off or stay relevant in the long run. Erica explains that she’s already had an offer from Target to advertise her products in 50-100 stores.

Mark Cuban and Robert aren’t really enthused about the food industry and find it to be a very fickle industry and give their reasons for backing out.

Kevin makes a conditional offer, but it is too detailed and complicated, which gives Barbara an opportunity to offer 100,000 USD for 40% of the company.

After some negotiation, Barbara lowers the stake by 2% and agrees to fund 100,000 USD for 38%, which Erica accepts.

Our Review of Southern Culture Artisan Foods

Initially, Erica didn’t manage to sway the sharks to her side with Southern Culture Artisan Foods despite the food items being delicious because her sales weren’t that convincing.

Although she managed to get a deal from Barbara, it didn’t close, which was disappointing for Erica.

However, she didn’t give up and expanded beyond offering food samples and tradeshow tables, eventually selling her products in more than 3000 stores across the country.

She kept true to her niche of southern comfort food and expanded to include other products like stone ground grits and more, giving people a taste of her unique cuisine, which was quite popular.

She even ventured past breakfast items and created a fried chicken mix, which was delicious, and many people loved it.

A few years after appearing on Shark Tank, Erica met Marcus Lemonis, who played a significant role in helping her pay off her debt and gain the support of her husband.

Marcus invested 75,000 USD into the company for a share and streamlined her food items to make them more sellable to the public.

She eventually got a new co-packer and settled her debts, eventually opening a restaurant in Alabama, naming it SOCU Kitchen and Oyster Bar.

In 2021, her business was fully operational, and she earned more than 5 million USD in yearly income but eventually ceased her business operations entirely due to unforeseen circumstances.

Pros of Southern Culture Artisan Foods

The food business was quite popular due to the unique flavors and Southern-themed cuisine, which many people were into and eager to try.

The people who had personal interactions with Erica knew she was passionate about her business and had enough food knowledge to create something excellent for the world.

They supported her mission and were one of the first customers to buy her food items, which played a role in kick-starting the business.

Let’s look at some of the pros of Southern Culture Artisan Foods.

  • The pancake and waffle mixes created and sold by the company were quite delicious and certainly unique, which played a big part in the initial sales.
  • The company expanded beyond breakfast items to include other food options like the fried chicken mix, which was also quite popular in terms of flavor and sales.
  • Erica managed to make her business relatively successful despite the deal with Barbara not going through and her missing out on some crucial funding.
  • Erica successfully captured the market and created an authentic Southern-themed restaurant that earned 5 million USD in annual revenue.

Cons of Southern Culture Artisan Foods

Since the company ceased its business operations in March 2022, it became clear that Erica was struggling with some operational issues that she could not manage to rectify.

Despite getting additional funding from Marcus Lemonis and streamlining her products, the company almost abruptly went out of business, which was quite unfortunate.

Like all businesses, there are certain downsides that make it difficult for things to properly kick off, and these are considered below.

  • The food items were delicious but not that affordable to the general public, which might have played a role in the business not kicking off.
  • The branding wasn’t done too effectively, leading to the company’s eventual downfall, despite the food being quite tasty.
  • Batters and mixes aren’t much of a speciality product, although there is a market for them. Erica’s idea didn’t pan out, possibly because she wasn’t selling whole foods.
  • The food industry is quite a risky business, which may have been a disadvantage that led to the company’s demise.

Who is Buzzy For?

Many people are curious about southern-themed foods, which are not just limited to southerners.

People love eating delicious pancakes and waffles, especially those made with unique flavors, which was Erica’s primary selling point.

Although pancake mixes are available in numerous brands, Erica’s products were popular because they delivered new and exciting flavors, effectively capturing many people’s attention.

There aren’t many people who don’t like pancakes and waffles, which is why the food items are catered to just about everyone.

Her restaurant had a much more extensive menu and invited people from all walks of life to partake in the Southern-themed cuisine.

Oysters aren’t really consumed every day by the average American, so the restaurant was somewhat niche in that aspect, despite having many other delicious food items.

The fried chicken mix was an interesting spin, and many people seemed to enjoy it because it was delicious and convenient.

To summarize, the company managed to make its food options available to a broad target market, which seemed to enjoy the food enough to visit often.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are numerous brands selling pancake and waffle mixes in countless stores throughout the United States, which means there are too many alternatives to choose from.

Despite this sticking point, the whole point of the mixes was that they were made from unique flavors, which was what set the company’s products apart from all others.

You can also expect to find fried chicken mixes from many brands, but again, the company’s foods had a unique taste and formula, which was primarily why it was so successful before it went out of business.

Although there isn’t much information about the deliciousness of the restaurant’s items, the fact that the company earned 5 million USD in annual revenue says a lot about the flavor and food quality.

Our Final Thoughts

Southern Culture Artisan Foods was not unique but had excellent flavors, which played a part in it reaching its short-lived fame.

Erica was quite invested in her mission and continued to not give up despite facing a setback after failing to secure investment from Barbara.

Southern-themed food is fairly popular throughout the United States, and the company managed to do quite well in the few years it was in business.

However, Erica faced many struggles along the way, including being in debt, which was rectified by the help of Marcus Lemonis, who played a key role in the company’s revival and rise to glory.

The public does not know all of the details of the business operations, so much is left to speculation regarding the company’s abrupt closure.

If Erica still retains her passion for food and doesn’t give up, she will likely come up with something new in the future.

The customers she has managed to win over with her products will likely support her mission if she ever decides to make a comeback.

Overall, the business idea was solid, but the company went out of business due to unforeseen circumstances and possibly a lack of funding.