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Cookie Kahuna: Shark Tank Updates in 2023

by Kate Sparks
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Wally Amos, better known as Famous Amos, is a part of cookie history.

Wally founded his original cookie company, Famous Amos, in 1975 based on a unique family recipe created by his aunt. Despite the enormous success of his original cookie company, Wally found himself making poor business decisions, causing him to slowly sell off pieces of his business. Famous Amos went through several owners before eventually ending up in the under the Kellogg brand. Now, Wally has neither a hand in his original company or the right to use his name or likeness in any future business endeavors.

Twenty-five years later, Wally still has a passion for making and selling cookies. Wally created The Cookie Kahuna cookies, delicious cookies baked with the “Aloha spirit.” Cookie Kahuna cookies are available in various flavors: chocolate chip (with pecans or without), and butterscotch macadamia. The cookies are made from the original family recipe that began Famous Amos cookies. (Famous Amos no longer uses this recipe.)

Wally’s love for cookies was unquestionable. However, his business skills left a lot to be desired. He didn’t have what it took to take Cookie Kahuna to the next level on his own. He appeared on Shark Tank asking for $20,000 in exchange for 20% of his Cookie Kahuna company. However, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be handed over any money based on his name recognition alone.

Cookie Kahuna on Shark Tank

Shark Tank Season 8 Episode 3

Wally walked into Shark Tank, with a smile and kazoo. He greeted the Sharks with a song called “Cookies for Sharks.” He gave each of the Sharks each a plate of sample cookies, complete with a cold glass of milk. The Sharks agreed that Wally Amos was, in fact, a cookie legend, noting that the cookies were deliciously light and crunchy.

Robert inquired about production cost and profit margin. Wally pulled out a piece of paper to read his own notes. The Sharks weren’t impressed that he needed to read the information instead of knowing it offhand. He read that Costco buys a one-pound bag at $7.89. That same bag costs $5.25 to make. One bag had a minimal profit of $2.64, a margin of less than 20%. Robert pointed out that this is just not sustainable for a business, and noted that shipping costs could actually put him into debt.

Lori was the second Shark out, imparting advice that Wally should put his love and enthusiasm into another business that would be more profitable. Enthusiasm alone doesn’t sell cookies.

Robert appreciated Wally having a love for the product, but told him that it is more important for the business to work. The cookies were delicious, but the costs were too high, and the distribution was limited. For these reasons, Robert didn’t see Cookie Kahuna as being a long-time success. He didn’t make an offer.

Barbara asked why he would want to start a second cookie business all over again when the first one ended the way it did. Wally said that he simply loves cookies and believes he could replicate the success of Famous Amos. Barbara backed out, noting that when Wally sold his business, he also sold his image and personality.  Her business experience told her that the error Wally made was costly and would prevent him from being in a second successful cookie business.

For the same reasons as Barbara, Kevin also backed out. He believed that with the challenges of not having access to the image and name of Famous Amos, Cookie Kahuna wasn’t an investable brand.

Mark was the last Shark left to consider an offer. And as much as he wanted to make one, he was already involved with a cookie business. Because it was a conflict of interest, he had to back out as well.

It was very apparent to the Sharks that Wally Amos was a fantastic promoter, however, not a savvy businessman. He enjoyed being in front of customers, but; his focus was on selling a good time, not on how the cookies could make him money.

Wally may have walked away from Shark Tank without a deal, but he didn’t lose any enthusiasm. He left the show believing he would be able to take the Cookie Kahuna and build it as big if not bigger than Famous Amos.

Cookie Kahuna after Shark Tank

Despite walking away without an offer, Wally was happy with his Shark Tank experience. According to a post-show interview, the exposure of Shark Tank has given more awareness and media attention to Cookie Kahuna. He believes more exposure equates to more sales. He tells his customers to be on the lookout for surprises in the future.

Fortunately, Cookie Kahuna is still in operation. You can still purchase them online and have Wally’s cookies delivered to your door.

There is limited information on the cookies themselves other than that they are similar to the original Famous Amos cookies. Online, products seem to run out of stock online quickly. Distribution is still limited, but it is growing. It appears that Costco may be the first nationwide distributor of Cookie Kahuna cookies throughout the United States.

The 82-year-old Hawaiin-shirt loving Wally Amos won’t give up on his cookie dreams. He continues to sell where and when he can, offering discounts for almost all holidays on his social media accounts.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; SEO Insights is not affiliated with Cookie Kahuna, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.

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