What Happened To Fried Green Tomatoes After Shark Tank?

For more than a decade, we've seen some of the best foods appear on "Shark Tank" and have watched small businesses grow into huge success stories. After appearing on an episode, a business' growth typically booms — even if they walk away without making a deal.

Holly Cooper is one such entrepreneur who pitched her business, Fried Green Tomatoes, on the hit show. Through Fried Green Tomatoes, Cooper sells her fried green tomato batter and secret sauce mixes, recipes that were developed for the menu of her Nashville, Tennessee-based food truck. She has been running the truck, which sells Southern comfort-style cuisine, since 2012. As of her appearance on "Shark Tank," Cooper was selling her mixes in small shops across the country, as well as in Mexico and Canada, all while still operating her food truck business. But Cooper wasn't satisfied: She headed into the Shark Tank with hopes that the Sharks could get her into chain supermarkets and grocery stores that operate across the U.S., as well as help her to franchise her food truck.

What happened on 'Shark Tank'?

Fried Green Tomatoes founder Holly Cooper made her pitch on "Shark Tank" on Episode 21 of Season 11, which aired in May 2020. Cooper went into the tank seeking $200,000 for a 15% stake in her company. She hoped to "spread a little bit of Nashville hospitality all over the country" (via YouTube). Cooper shared some of her food with the Sharks and was met with positive feedback. Shark Lori Greiner was impressed with Cooper's business drive and passion, noting, "What you've done is really quite amazing." Cooper said she would "love to be able to franchise our food truck," adding that she's had "more than a dozen people" approach her about potentially purchasing a franchise.

Cooper had ultimately done nearly $270,000 in sales in the year prior to appearing on the show, which piqued the investors' interest. After getting into a bidding war with Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran ultimately made a deal with Cooper for a 30% stake worth $200,000, in order to expand the products' reach into big box stores. Corcoran told Cooper, "Obviously you can sell like crazy ... I am your dream partner." Corcoran ultimately won Cooper over because of her experience working with Sabin Lomac to franchise Cousins Maine Lobster, another popular food truck that appeared on "Shark Tank."

What went down after 'Shark Tank'?

It is unclear what happened with Fried Green Tomatoes founder Holly Cooper's deal with Barbara Corcoran; however, the Shark commented on Twitter after the show aired, writing, "Score! I'm thrilled to finally share my partnership with Fried Green Tomatoes with the world."

No matter what happened with Corcoran, Cooper did receive support in a different, perhaps unexpected, form after the show aired: from Fannie Flagg, real-life author of the bestselling book "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe," which was later made into the 1991 film "Fried Green Tomatoes." Cooper was excited to "collaborate with her on some ideas," she told Farm Flavor. Hey, any exposure is good exposure.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after the show was filmed, and like many food businesses, Fried Green Tomatoes was affected, as many of the fairs that the food truck frequented were canceled. However, despite the challenge, "we had our top sales that year," Cooper told Tasting Table.

Is Fried Green Tomatoes still in business?

It's been over three years since Fried Green Tomatoes founder Holly Cooper appeared on the show, and you may be wondering — how is Fried Green Tomatoes doing now? The company is still in business. While it doesn't appear that there are any franchises yet, there is a section on the website that explains how to become a franchisee. What's more, per Tasting Table, Fried Green Tomatoes hired Cooper's daughter, Kala Davis, to market the program to potential franchisees. "We had a good bit of interest ... we're at the point that we can sell," Cooper said in 2023.

Additionally, the fried green tomato and pickle batter, as well as the secret sauce mix, are still available for sale on the company website. The tomato and pickle batters both retail for $9.99, while the secret sauce is listed for $3.99.

One of Cooper's biggest aspirations was to see her Fried Green Tomatoes batter mix and secret sauce sold in big-box stores. There's no option to locate a retailer via the Fried Green Tomatoes website, so it looks like we might be out of luck. Plus, MegaMenu checked big-box retailer websites, including Walmart and Target, and could not find the products listed. MegaMenu also checked Kroger, the grocery store chain with the most locations in Tennessee, and could not find the items listed there, either.

What's next for Fried Green Tomatoes?

Fried Green Tomatoes founder Holly Cooper's LinkedIn page still lists her as the owner of the company, noting it's been active for over 11 years — suggesting she won't be giving up on her business anytime soon. As noted, it's unclear if Fried Green Tomatoes has been able to franchise or get into major supermarkets and grocery stores like Cooper desired when appearing on "Shark Tank," so those could continue to be goals for the immediate and extended future.

Additionally, Cooper and Fried Green Tomatoes have partnered with charitable organizations such as Rest Stop Ministries, an organization aimed at helping victims of sex trafficking. Cooper says she hopes to expand her philanthropic efforts to help businesswomen.

Cooper hopes to bring her food truck to more shows, and together with daughter Kala Davis, they have other big plans, too. "I think that we'll work towards expanding our retail product line and adding more homestyle, family-recipe stuff — things that you'd see in the South growing up, like fried chicken," Davis told Tasting Table. "I think our heart's desire would be to expand our retail product line into options that people can take home."

Alb Media owns and operates both MegaMenu and Tasting Table.