Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush run a gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup shop. Will they cook up a deal on
Shark Tank Tom + Chee Update
- Entrepreneurs: Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush
- Business: Gourmet restaurant
- Ask: $600,000 for 10% equity
- Result: $600,000 for 30% equity and state rights for New York and Texas
- Sharks: Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban
Corey and Trew came on the tank to introduce the sharks to their business, Tom + Chee. They served delicious, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with a twist. In fact, one of the most unusual of their menu items included a grilled cheese between two halves of a donut, which they served after the opening pitch.
Robert Herjavec was blown away by how good it was. Mark Cuban asked how many items they served. Trew handed over menus for the sharks to look over. There were twenty options, including the popular BBQ Bacon. Kevin O’Leary asked if that sandwich came with a defibrillator.
Trew talked about how they only used excellent ingredients, because Tom + Chee was trying to push a “health conscious” menu. This evoked laughter from all the sharks, who felt grilled cheese was anything but healthy.
Mark drew attention to the cheap prices and the cheap paper menus, asking if Tom + Chee was perceived as an inexpensive option. Trew responded that their mission was to offer “gourmet grilled cheese” at a “reasonable price”.
Barbara Corcoran asked about the sales, learning the two corporate locations of Tom + Chee had grossed $1.5 million in the past year. The sharks were very impressed. Kevin even asked them to repeat the numbers to make sure he heard them correctly. Corey added that one location could sell $1,400 in one hour, and that people were willing to wait over an hour and a half to have grilled cheese.
Robert asked about the franchise fees, and Corey said they had one franchise open. It cost the franchise owner $35,000 for the franchise and 7.5% on all sales. In addition, it cost the franchise owner $250,000 to get everything to open the location. Kevin asked how the franchise owner’s sales were, and Trew said they were doing well, grossing $100,000 the previous year.
Barbara told Corey and Trew that she loved the business and that they had a magical ingredient for success– demand. The line out the door was a very attractive part of the business to her, so she offered to put up half of the money if Corey and Trew could convince another shark to come in.
Daymond John said his portfolio was more oriented toward healthy food options, and he couldn’t see himself invested in grilled cheese. For this reason, he was out.
Kevin, on the other hand, felt it was special that the partners grew a profitable business where he never thought it would be possible. For this reason, he was willing to put in $100,000 toward Barbara’s deal. Robert too wanted to have a piece, and put up another $100,000.
With three sharks in, Corey and Trew still needed $100,000 for the deal and, with Daymond out, that left only Mark to put up the remaining capital. Trew asked if Mark was interested, and Mark said that he didn’t think it was worth it to put in $100,000 because of the time commitment and aggravation.
However, he was interested in putting up $300,000 with Barbara, and he would want them to split 30% equity for the cash. In addition, he wanted rights to any and all Tom + Chee locations in the state of Texas.
Trew said they already had someone interested in Dallas, but Mark was open to allowing this individual to have Dallas while he retained rights throughout the rest of the state. However, if the deal fell through with this person, Dallas would belong to Mark.
Barbara said, if Mark was allowed to have Texas rights, then she would get state rights for New York because she’d be jealous otherwise. Meanwhile, Kevin decided to drop out, stating he wasn’t in love enough to engage in a bidding war.
Robert said he too would “clear the field”, and encouraged Corey and Trew to take Barbara and Mark’s deal. After a brief hesitation, they happily accepted the offer and the pitch concluded. How did things go after the tank? Keep reading our Tom + Chee update to find out!
We have great news to share in our Tom & Chee update! Soon after their episode aired, they started thirteen new locations in 2014, all over the country. Then, in a Season 6 update, Corey and Trew shared that they had grossed over $14 million. In 2017, a company called GSR Brands took over the company, and eventually reimagined the menu, and as of 2023, Tom & Chee is still in business.
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Andrew Smith is the founder and owner of Shark Tank Recap. He is a longtime Shark Tank fan that has been watching it for years and has seen every episode multiple times. His friends know him as the Shark Tank expert, because he can answer any question about the show! His favorite Shark Tank products are Bertello's pizza oven and Bug Bite Thing!