Plated Meal Kits

It’s been quite an interesting and complicated journey from the day when Plated founders, Nick Taranto and Josh Hix, appeared on Season Five of Shark Tank. Initially asking for a $500,000 investment in exchange for 4% of the company, they accepted an offer from Mark Cuban for the $500,000 for a 5.56% stake plus advisory shares.

Elated by their success, but not quite prepared for the results of a successful appearance on Shark Tank, they returned to New York City and watched their website crash due to the overwhelming volume of traffic. They addressed that problem but the rapid growth of their company convinced them to attempt a re-negotiation with Mark Cuban, a move that ultimately killed the deal. “That’s not the way I do business,” Cuban said. Four months after their appearance on the Tank, however, Kevin O’Leary agreed to invest in the company, even though he had originally passed on the opportunity.

Plated meal kits shark tank 2

Growth was rapid, and by May of 2015, Plated was generating more than $100 million in revenue, although according to Hix and Taranto it was still not profitable. The rapid expansion of business had required 14 moves into larger fulfillment centers over a period of three years, and one of their refrigerated food containers was stolen in Chicago at a loss of $100,000. As can easily be imagined, O’Leary was very unhappy with these developments and warned Hix and Taranto by stating, in typical “Mr. Wonderful” fashion: “I can afford to lose my investment in you, [but] you can’t afford to lose this company.” Everything began to go more smoothly, however, and Mr. Wonderful finally admitted: “Josh and Nick pulled it off. It’s a success.” (How Plated Got Served By Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary on ‘Beyond the Tank’ by Graham Winfrey, Senior Editor, Inc.com, 5/12/15.)

Plated, which was initially incorporated in Taranto’s living room with a $9.99 domain from GoDaddy, was acquired by Albertsons Companies for $300 million in September of 2017. Catherine Clifford of CNBC.com reported that this acquisition came at a crucial time, as Amazon had just purchased Whole Foods, making it harder for smaller grocery businesses to compete. Albertsons would benefit from the technology and innovation of a meal-kit delivery service and Plated got access to the resources of a company with 2,300 store locations across the United States.

In 2019, Albertsons decided to phase out the meal-kit subscription service and shift the brand to become one of its private label products. Their new strategy will allow Plated to offer new product offerings and develop into a comprehensive in-house culinary brand, adding another layer of interest to the in-store experience of their customers. (Why Albertsons Is Serving Up a New Strategy for Plated, By Jon Springer, Winsightgrocerybusiness.com, 11/13/19).

Update: Plated is no longer available.

Shark Tank Air Date: 04/04/14 – Season 5 – Episode 22

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