Al “Bubba” Baker, as you can see immediately when you look at him, has an infectious smile and a lot of charisma. He had a long, 13-year career in the NFL before opening his BBQ restaurant. Bubba played for the Lions, Cardinals, and the Browns. After his first year in the league, he was ‘Rookie of the Year.’ A husband and a father of 3, the family lives in Ohio. He describes his time in the NFL as being “his job then” but his passion has always been BBQ.
The reason Bubba wanted to go on Shark Tank in the first place is because of how much money the family has invested in the BBQ restaurant and Bubba’s product. They nearly wiped out all of the profits in their reinvestment, but Al had a vision, and he knew the product could yield a lot of success.
The inspiration for Bubba’s Boneless Ribs goes back to his passion for BBQ. He would make delicious ribs, but his wife was not a fan of ribs because she said they were too messy. Well, how do you make something like ribs less messy? You need to remove the bones. That’s precisely what Bubba figured out how to do.
There are plenty of other boneless meat products that could be classified as competitors, but those are not exactly competitors. A lot of competitors’ products are just cut up pieces of meat, put back together so they can look like meat. The reason Bubba is different than these competitors is that these ribs are the real deal. He figured out a method in which he can remove the bones, on a large scale, making his product viable for mass production while retaining its unique appeal.
Bubba Q “Meats” The Sharks
Shark Tank Season 5 Episode 11
Bubba has a significant presence, and he swaggers into the room with the utmost confidence. You almost know you are going to buy what he’s selling before you even know what it is.
What Bubba is seeking is a $300,000 investment from one (or several) of the Sharks for a 15% stake in the company. He is joined by his daughter when he presents to the Sharks, and they stand side-by-side with a microwave.
The man is a natural salesman, and he describes to the Sharks that he is going to do the impossible: he’s going to heat ribs in the microwave, and they’re going to be delicious. While the ribs heat up in real time for 2 minutes, the Sharks ask him about his days in the NFL. As soon as the microwave beeps, it’s down to business. The Sharks all have a taste of the ribs, and they are immediately blown away.
The simplicity is what is most appealing initially to a few of the sharks. Everything you need is in the packaging. All you do is put the ribs in the microwave for two minutes, that’s it. One of the Sharks brings up the point that some people like the flavor from the bones. Bubba dispels this concern; the ribs are cooked with the bone inside. Later on, the bones are removed, and then the meat is chilled and packaged.
The most appealing part of the pitch is when Bubba reveals that he not only has a patent for his product, the boneless ribs but that he also received a patent for the process by which he removes the bones.
He describes that the product has generated $154,000 in sales for over one year. When questioned as to why he’s been doing this for 20 years but only selling for one year, Bubba explains that at one point, he quit. It was through the help of his daughter that he reignited his passion for ribs and moved forward with the product.
The Sharks deliberate and most of their interest is focused on the patent. Kevin offers $300,000 for 49% of the company and to have the patent licensed to a large meat distributor. A second deal is offered, the same deal for only 30% of the company. He ends up taking the second deal, Daymond’s, mostly for that reason.
Life After Shark Tank
As you can see, if you check out the website, Al ‘Bubba’ Baker has created a pretty successful business with Daymond’s help. You’ll notice when you go to their products page that almost every product Bubba offers has five stars.
When Bubba went on the show, he was bringing in $150k in sales. By late 2017, the company was bringing in $16 million. Bubba has provided Shark Tank with one of its most successful and profitable deals ever. Al went from selling his ribs mostly at his restaurant and to a few local stores to selling on his website, at over 5,000 stores, on QVC, and at Yankees Stadium. One major source of the massive jump in sales is also thanks to a contract with Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
Another layer that makes the deal a bit more interesting is that Daymond had, for a long time, expressed concern with ever investing in a food product. Coming from the food industry, he had seen how much waste there was and how frequent failures were. It shows just how confident he was in Bubba and his patent that he went through with the $300,000 investment and for 19% less stake in the company than Kevin’s offer.
Just this week, Bubba closed the doors of his restaurant that he ran for, coincidentally, 13 years. This is certainly not a reflection of hard times; it just seems that he was no longer willing to take the time investment of running a restaurant. As for his ribs, profits have continued to rise, and it is easier and easier every year to get your hand on Bubbas boneless ribs as they are in more supermarkets than ever before.
To this day, Bubba’s deal is one of the best deals made in Shark Tank history.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Bubba’s Q, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.