Bubba’s Chicken Dip David and Dominique Mealey

 

Bubba's Chicken Dip

There will be chicken dip in the Shark Tank, when Bubba’s Chicken Dip founders David and Dominique Mealey pitch their chicken loaded dips to the panel of five Sharks. The Mealeys call Bubba’s Buffalo Chicken Dip “a Buffalo wing on a chip;” sounds delicious!

The Mealey’s sell their Bubba’s Chicken Dip through their Back 9 BBQ website and in super markets in Florida. They’ve had product in Winn Dixies stores since May, and earlier in September they rolled out a new Buffalo Blue Cheese flavor as they got shelf space in Publix. Their website proudly proclaims “They will be located right by the bagged Publix brand cheeses!” They also are in “selected Walgreens.” The product sounds good, kind of like chicken salad on steroids, but sold as a dip.  I’d love to try some with a beverage or two while watching football some Sunday.

Branded food products have been a bit of a hit on Shark Tank, even when the entrepreneur doesn’t get a deal. Mark Cuban has said on more than one occasion that the one entrepreneur he regrets not partnering with is Chef Big Shake’s Shrimp Burgers. After appearing on Shark Tank, the Shrimp Burger entrepreneur capitalized on his appearance by getting his frozen delicacy in BJ’s Wholesale Clubs, Stop and Shop, and many other national food retailers; he did $5 million in sales as a result!

The ABC website claims “the Sharks are brought to tears when an unemployed husband and his pregnant wife from Tampa, FL, pitch their party-favorite chicken dip.” This sounds like the human interest story of the week, so I checked out the Back 9 Dips Facebook page to sift through the story.

David Mealey was indeed hurt by the economic downturn; he was a golf equipment salesman (hence  the “Back 9” name) who turned to the food business when he found himself unemployed back in 2010, right around the time his wife gave birth to their son. As any entrepreneur knows, starting a business is an all-consuming affair. Add to that the stresses of starting a family and losing a steady income, and many would cave in and give up. Apparently, the Mealeys are a tad more persistent than most. They plowed onward to make their Back 9 Chicken Dip a reality.

A Sponge in the Shark Tank

According to Tampa Bay Online, a Tampa Tribune news outlet, the Mealey’s have a minority partner named Todd Clem, who is better known as the Tampa area “shock jock” Bubba the Love Sponge. Mr. Sponge is popular in Tampa, but he offends as many people as he entertains; he’s been fined many times for on air indecency and he’s even been sued. It’s safe to say that Bubba the Love Sponge is a polarizing character. His show used to be widely syndicated, but now his radio home is WHPT 102.5, “The Bone”, a Cox Radio station. Whatever you think of him, he’s the guy who helped the Mealeys promote their chicken dip and get it on store shelves. I wonder if he has any connections at ABC….

Chicken Dip for Sharks

David and Dominique Mealey aren’t mixing this stuff up in their kitchen and driving around with tubs of Buffalo chicken dip in the back of a pick up truck, they’re doing it right. Bubba’s Chicken Dip has their product produced and packaged by Big Chef, a Hollywood Florida contract food manufacturer. This allows Bubba’s Chicken Dip to scale their production. If the Sharks invest and demand soars, Big Chef can pick up the pace of production.

Back 9 Dips have rolled out their product in a big way over the last several weeks. They hit Publix on September 8, and not in a few select stores. As their website says, they hit “ALL Publix!” The packaging was changed slightly for the Publix rollout, which indicates something may be afoot. A major supermarket roll out smells like the Sharks may have helped cook Bubba’s Chicken Dip. While it is clear the Mealeys have been working hard to get their chicken dip on store shelves, the timing of finding it stocked in Publix makes me think the Sharks may have dipped into Bubba’s business proposition. Since it is sold as a “chicken wing on a chip,” having the chicken dip hit stores for football and the upcoming holiday season makes some real shark-sense.

I am, of course, just speculating and I have a 50% success rate on my predictions, but when it comes to Bubba’s Chicken Dip, I am “IN!”

 Check out the preview video:

 

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

Comments

  1. Getting straight to the point, no chaser: I DO NOT care for Daymon! He isn’t a shark at all. He’s a pompous dream-killer. I watched as he set the husband and wife team up for a big let down. For someone who “struggled” so hard to make it, how can he be so cynical and insensitive to folks trying to build their business dreams. If he doesn’t want to part with his precious money (if he really has any) then he should give up his seat. He’s the kind of black man other blacks don’t like to see have money. Moving on… Lori is a keeper. She’s very attractive, professional and adds class to the show.

  2. Barry Milsap says

    As a Tampa resident, I was shocked to see the chicken dip people get the deal. Not only is it overpriced and they are inexperienced as businesspeople, but they already have an investor that got them to where they were at that they failed to mention. I’m sure when Lori & Robert realize that these two are involved with Bubba The Love Sponge as a minority owner (should I mention the lawsuits of his sexually explicit dealings with 13 year olds?), they’ll likely back out. Just goes to show why due diligence is needed for all Shark Tank contestants, even the ones who play the pity card. I’m shocked that Publix, an employee-owned company, picked them up but then again, who won’t to make a few quick bucks off the Shark Tank fame?

    On the flip side, I think the last guy who blew 9 MIL will likely use the fame to reduce that inventory…good product in my opinion. Just a few bad decisions along the way.

  3. As a long time listener and fan of Bubba and group, I am wondering where you get the information about dealing swith children by Bubba. Bubba is a great supporter of protection of all children from the scum wanting to “prey” on them and big supporter to the Sheriff Grady Judd figthing daily to keep all children touchers out of Florida! I am amazed you can make the statement you have made! Just goes to show you how quickly people are to judge others by listening to stupid rumors! Maybe Bubba should get his crack legal team to look into you and the sheez you are saying. Thank you Bubba for knowing a good product when you see (EAT!) it and thank you for helping out Back 9 into getting their dream started. Sign me your Cape Coral Biggest Woman Fan!- Go 96 Krock!

    • somethingelself says

      I love their product and I’m from Tampa also. But Bubba is trash…just look at the recent Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal that happened at Bubba’s house…with Bubba’s wife….with Bubba talking in the video!

      Why these hard-working people would want to be associated with Bubba is beyond me and the image they are presenting as a wholesome company is ruined by a trashy radio personality. They need to cut ties with him if they want to continue. They have a great product and they don’t need the “Bubba Army” leaving a ‘bad taste’ in the mouths of their potential customers before they even try it!

      • Barry Milsap says

        I think it would be valid to assume that the reason the test stores went so well was purely because of the advertising that Bubba brought. Small food companies are usually struggling for YEARS, rolling up their sleeves, down in the trenches, sampling to tens of thousands of people, growing a fan base, establishing themselves in boutique stores first and then on their way to big chains. Apparently, their success was immediate and the Shark Tank timing was perfect to bring more awareness to their brand and rope in those other retailer presence. So, did they really have to work that hard? Likely not…but the tears don’t hurt. Even if backed into a corner as they were, I certainly have enough integrity to not seek the help a person like Bubba. If specific information on how they got into Publix, generated those test sales and who their partner wasn’t revealed in The Tank, nothing good can come from that deception.

  4. Hubby is droolng to try this but the price is just to high to have shipped to us in huntington beach, ca. Any chance you can strike a deal with Ralph’s (Kroger in the east) Stater Brothers or Albertsons???? Really would love to try them.

  5. Barry Milsap says

    ltwilson, you obviously didn’t live in Florida throughout any of the 90’s. You can do some digging yourself as I don’t need sit and explain morality and ethics. It was just about the crudest show on air and that takes into account Howard Stearn. The story is great for the couple that went into the Tank but hopefully they were truthful about who their other partner was up front (and it just got edited out) so the Sharks could make an informed decision. Because it is a refrigerated perishable product that requires more expensive means of transportation, storage, spoilage allowances, it will be difficult for them to go beyond the SE region if they don’t get a ton more money than $150K…think they need at least $1MM to go national. I can see regional chicken dip companies starting up as we speak to provide a cost effective option to their respective areas.

    • Ronnie Milsap says

      Sad to see that you’re not very aware of what you’re talking about. The Mealey’s did in fact mention Bubba numerous times, but that was left out due to creative editing!! Presumably to show more of a “hard luck? story that sells much better on TV. You should get your facts straight before you go spouting off half truths on the internet Barry! Bubba is and always has been a proponent of protecting our children and as a father himself should have the truth out there!

  6. Robert and Lori,

    If this isn’t reason enough, I don’t know what is. RUN! Run while you still can! Seems some people NEVER change. http://www.tmz.com/2012/10/09/hulk-hogan-sex-tape-leaked-bubba-heather-clem-retire/ Have ethics gone completely out the window?

    I am SO disappointed in Publix! They KNEW that Bubba was part of this dip group and yet they brought it aboard just for a few sales as a result of the show. Shark Tank casting missed this one BIG TIME and am sure there are a lot of entrepreneurs that should have gotten that spot. Tell Shark Tank Casting that they need to do background checks on ALL investors of these companies.

  7. MaureenFuller says

    I bought Bubba’s Chicken sh-dip at Publix. It was nasty mush. Just like he is. Yuk, bad taste and bad taste for anyone with any morals to buy from who would whore his wife out. And shame on Hulk. Hope your kids are proud.

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