Where Is Southern Culture Artisan Foods From Shark Tank Today?

For some people, Southern food offers a comforting, down-home flavor that is reminiscent of grandma's kitchen. While people might crave those particular recipes, the dishes might not be quite as simple to reproduce in one's own kitchen. When Southern Culture Artisan Foods appeared on "Shark Tank" in Season 5, Episode 520, owner Erica Barnett hoped to transform her love of Southern food into a thriving business. Southern Culture Artisan Foods offered a variety of pancake and waffle mixes as well other food items. The concept grew out of Barnett's desire to bring Southern-inspired pancake flavors to a mass market. Her pitch of $100,000 for 25% equity did not get some sharks flipping to make that pancake short stack a little taller.

While Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec were not chomping to invest in a gourmet food business, Kevin O'Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, and Barbara Corcoran saw potential in the Southern-inspired food mixes. O'Leary's royalty offer was not exactly rolling out the red carpet to a satisfying food deal. Corcoran seemed to counter-offer just so that Southern Culture Artisan Foods would have something better on the table. In the end, Barnett and Corcoran settled on $100,000 for 38% equity. Although Barnett left the tank with a deal, it appears that it was not closed. Still, not all was lost. Barnett told Total Food Service that sales more than doubled and more doors opened after appearing on the show.

Southern Culture Artisan Foods hoped 'The Profit' could flip the company's success

Although appearing on "Shark Tank" has brought some companies a sales boost, name recognition, and success, Southern Culture Artisan Foods did not reap the rewards from its appearance. To help right some poor business decisions, the company appeared on "The Profit." From stifling debt to business inefficiencies, the company seems to lack financial discipline which causes strife within the company and personally.

While the brand seemed to offer great flavors, one concern was the business' niche category. Given that it had expanded beyond pancake mixes, it was decided that the brand would be better served as a broader Southern food company. With the help of package bundling, social media promotion, and a large-scale packaging distributor, the changes looked to spark an upturn in sales.

Through the show, Southern Culture Artisan Foods made a deal with Mouth.com, increased its presence in Kroger stores, and reduced its debt. While the show's commentary made it appear that the company could be successful, nothing is ever truly guaranteed.

How is consumer's feedback stacking up for Southern Culture Artisan Foods?

After appearing on both "Shark Tank" and "The Profit," Southern Culture Artisan Foods hoped that the television exposure would bring business success. Looking at customer comments, it appears that the food company continues to struggle. Receiving an "F" from Better Business Bureau, consumers complained that they never got their orders, nor could they get responses from the brand. Similar comments were shared on the Yelp page and recent Amazon reviews were not positive. Overall, the consensus seems to be that the product's cost coupled with the lack of flavor was not worth the purchase.

Looking at the brand's Instagram account, it appears that the company might have transitioned into a ghost kitchen or perhaps a restaurant. The sporadically updated social media accounts are full of sales offers and other promotions.

Although diving into the "Shark Tank" can offer a business a huge platform to springboard its brand, it does not guarantee success. A great product, smart business decisions, and good customer service are vital to keeping customers craving that food product.