The rise of plant-based meat alternative companies is showing no signs of slowing down. Beyond Sushi is a vegan restaurant chain looking to lead the movement. Founder and executive chef Guy Vaknin took the business to Shark Tank and made a deal with Lori Greiner and guest Shark Matt Higgins. Beyond Sushi is now worth an estimated $10 million.
About the Founder
Guy Vaknin is originally from Israel, where delicious food was always served at weekly gatherings. He relocated to New York, to study at the Institute of Culinary Education. Before this, he served in the Israeli Defense Force.
Guy started his culinary career as the executive chef of Esprit Events, a catering company. He even got the chance to participate in the 10th season of Hell’s Kitchen and featured in seven episodes. The Israeli professional finished in rank 13 when he left the show. After this, he returned to his family and food business.
Founding the Company
At some point in his career, Vaknin decided to focus on making vegetarian recipes. This emphasis on serving vegan customers was what inspired him to explore the idea of plant-based sushi.
In 2012, he invested $70,000 into City Roots Hospitality, the company that introduced Beyond Sushi. Apart from sushi, Guy also served vegan dumplings, noodles, and salads. His food became popular even among meat eaters.
Guy partnered with renowned entrepreneur Sandy Beall in 2015. After three years, the sushi company was in six locations around the country. His largest stores were making around $2 million per year.
Shark Tank Appearance
Guy Vaknin was seeking help from the Sharks as he was looking to expand on the West Coast. He appeared on season 10 of Shark Tank, hoping to raise $1.5 million for 25% of his future stores in the West Coast and 5% on his current stores on the East Coast.
The entrepreneurial chef impressed the Sharks with his sample dishes. He also knew his numbers and was clearly very passionate about his business. However, some of the Sharks didn’t see themselves as fit for the company.
Guest Matt Higgins showed interest but had several concerns and wanted more equity on the East Coast. Then, Lori Greiner offered to partner with him to give $1.5 million for 15% of East Coast business and 30% of the West. Vaknin accepted the offer.
After Shark Tank
Unfortunately, the deal with Lori and Matt didn’t close according to sharktankrecap.com. In an interview with the Institute of Culinary Education, Guy revealed he declined the investment in the due diligence stage and believed it was going in a different direction.
In early 2020, the business lost a lot of money and growth slowed down when the pandemic hit. The Israeli born chef was serving about 1,500 customers per day and that reduced to a couple hundred. He also had to lay off 100 employees and close down some locations.
They now only have three locations after recently ending their lease on Mulberry Street, New York. Apart from their physical stores, you can order sushi on their official website, BeyondSushi.com.
GrubHub users have rated their food an average of 4.4 stars from 617 votes. No recent sales figures have been released sources such as growjo.com estimate the business is making $3.4 million in annual revenue. With this, Beyond Sushi is worth $10 million.