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cupbopJung Song and Dok Kwon want the Sharks to bite on CupBop, their global Korean barbecue restaurant chain, in Shark Tank episode 1322. Song started the business with a single food truck in 2013 and grew it to ten brick and mortar locations. Kwon was a customer and grew to know Song over the years. Eventually, Kwon went off to be an investment banker in New York for seven years, but he grew restless with his career.

Kwon approached Song and asked if he’d like a partner. He felt his financial experience would be an asset and they could take the restaurant concept global. Kwon is now the COO of the growing company. The food is Korean Barbecue standards like pork, beef, chicken and  veggies served in a large cup. Sides include dumplings, Kim Chi and noodles. The restaurants are loud and boisterous, a nod to the early days of the business when Song did breakdancing to attract attention to his truck.

The pair grew the business to have 36 brick and mortar stores in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma and over 100 CupBop stores in Indonesia. Kwon and Song want to take their concept nation wide in the USA and continue to expand globally. A shark can definitely help with that.

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Cup Bop – Korean Barbecue

CupBop Shark Tank Recap

Jung and Dok enter the Shark Tank doing a very animated dance to introduce their business. The guys tell the Sharks there is only one Asian food concept in the nation’s top 50 restaurant brands and they say they’re next. They’re seeking $1 million for 3% of their business. The Sharks are aghast. As the Sharks eat their samples, they are impressed with the food. Mark thinks it’s hot but the other Sharks love it.

Kevin says it’s the best food he’s tasted on the show. One cup costs $1.80-$2.50 to make and they sell for $8-$10. Trailing 12 month revenue for all their stores is $18.7 million. The Sharks are impressed. They have 27 brick and mortar stores. In the last five years they did  $7 million, $8 million, $9 million,  $10 million and they’ll do $20 million this year (2021). During the Covid-19 pandemic, they GREW same store sales 9%.

They tell about their respective backgrounds and how they became partners. The pair owns half the business and his co-founders, who sold out to equity investors. They talk about how they haven’t raised money. They want to go to 2000 stores nationwide with a Shark and be the first Korean national brand. Dok tells how he came to America.

Robert doesn’t like the valuation. The guys tell him the growth rate is driving the valuation. Kevin loves everything about this business. He offers a $1 million loan at 10% interest for 3% of the company. Barbara offers $1 million for 30% of the business. Robert offers $5 million for 28% of the company. Then, Lori and Barbara team up with a $1 million loan for 5%. Mark says he can drive PR for the company, he offers $1 million for 7%. The guys counter with 4.5% and they eventually settle on $1 million for 5% equity.

CupBop Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. The first rerun of this episode in August, 2022, is just three months after the original air date. As of this time, there is no evidence the deal with Mark closed. Since the original air date, the company has added 10 new locations. They are on target to top $25 million in sales for 2022.

It appears the deal with Mark did not close. As of August, 2023, the company has 54 USA locations. Annual revenue is over $20 million, lifetime revenue is over $150 million and the company is valued at $180 million.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on CupBop & Jung Song and Dok Kwon  as more details become available.