Did Paleo Café get a bite out of the Shark Tank?

Franchisors Marlies and Jai Hobbs, the founders of Paleo Caf_, have appeared on the Channel 10 TV entrepreneurial show Shark Tank in a bid to get investment into their franchise chain.

Marlies Hobbs said “We are seeking an experienced investor to take our business to the next level and to ensure Paleo Cafe reaches its full potential as the market leader in the real food movement.

“With the Australian fast food market currently valued at $14.2 bn and healthy eating being the fastest growing food trend, we believe that Paleo Caf_ is not only a fantastic business opportunity but can also contribute to the solution of the worldwide health epidemic.”

With fellow franchisor and Boost Juice founder Janine Allis one of the Sharks, the Hobbs had high hopes of securing funding. But it was a daunting experience, Marlies revealed.

“Appearing on the Shark Tank was undoubtedly one of the most nerve wracking, challenging but also rewarding experiences. It was an incredible opportunity to present our business to five leading entrepreneurs in Australia and to take on board their comments, to learn and to grow, to ensure that we and the business reach our true potential.  

“Over an hour in the tank was reduced to under 10 minutes on screen. The questions were many and sometimes fierce. But you have to expect that in business, and if you can’t handle the pressure you probably aren’t ready for what’s ahead of you.”

Marlies revealed the session was filmed shortly before Jai had another major presentation to undertake.

“Jai presented to a crowd of over 5000 people at the International Franchise Convention in Texas as a finalist in the NextGen in Franchising Awards, where he took out second place in the world. Pitching to the Sharks was certainly great preparation for that as well!”

So did the pair get a bite?

As the TV program revealed when it aired on 1 June, Janine Allis did indeed see potential in the real food concept and offered to provide the asked-for $750,000 investment but in return for a 35 percent share of the business rather than the original 10 percent.

The Hobbs saw the value in the offer and it was smiles all round.

“With Janine’s experience in national and international franchising and her passion for health, we feel she is the ideal partner to see Paleo Caf_ reach its true potential. She has an existing team who would be able to immediately offer significant additional support and guidance for the growth and development of the brand,” said Marlies.

The Hobbs plan to use the investment funds for targeted national and international marketing to grow caf_ sales and numbers, additional human resources to support growth, further product development, travel to grow both national and international markets, brand building and customer education publications and events.

Right now Paleo Caf_ and the parent company of Boost Juice, Retail Zoo, are working through the process of due diligence.