Joe’s Gourmet Fish Fry is a special breading made for all sorts of fried dishes. Despite the name, it’s not made only for fish recipes. It can be used for other seafood, chicken, and even fried vegetable treats. Founders Joe and Maranda Dowell struck a deal on Shark Tank with Daymond John. As of 2023, Joe’s Gourmet Fish Fry is worth an estimated $4 million.
About the Founders
Joseph and Maranda Dowell are a couple from Atlanta, Georgia. Not much is known about Maranda’s educational background, but her husband is a graduate of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Before selling cooking products, the husband and wife team was already in the food industry. They co-owned restaurants in their home city and in New Orleans, Louisiana. However, both locations were destroyed by hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After the unfortunate event, the Dowells decided to start a catering business. It was still related to their previous jobs, so they managed. They served food at local events around Atlanta.
Founding the Company
Joe developed a special breading for the fried fish and shrimp he served to his customers. The breading uses up less oil and gives his main ingredients a savory and crunchy flavor. People loved it and started requesting the recipe.
The Atlanta duo then began selling their product in grocery stores in 2007. The founders got into Walmart in 2017 and in the same year lifetime sales reached more than $409,000. Despite hitting the milestone, Joe and Maranda believed it could become a much bigger business.
Shark Tank Appearance
By 2018 Joe’s Gourmet Fish Fry already had a strong customer base but Joe and Maranda wanted to raise money. They made a memorable appearance on season nine of Shark Tank, seeking $150,000 for a 15% equity stake.
The couple’s pitch was lively which had Sharks laughing. Their claims and enthusiasm were backed up when they passed out samples to the Sharks. They were forecasting $270,000 in revenue for 2018 and $450,000 for 2019. The Sharks were interested but once they found out Joe’s father owned 85% of the company, most of them lost interest.
However, Daymond John was still eager to invest and was happy to take a risk on the venture. Daymond John offered $150,000 for 25% and founders tried to counter but they eventually accepted the deal.
After Shark Tank
Appearing on Shark Tank gave a huge boost to their sales and company’s brand. According to MSN.com, the deal with Daymond John never closed after the show. Potentially Joe’s father could have refused to give up his equity or maybe Daymond changed his mind.
Despite the setback, the founders have pushed on with the business and are now in over 1200 stores according to their website. got into more retail stores. Before Shark Tank, the breading mix was already in Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, HEB, Winn-Dixie, and Publix.
They also opened up a restaurant called Joe’s Gourmet Fish and Chicken and are hoping to open up more franchises over the next year. Currently the company charges an initial $35,000 franchise fee and the minimum estimated cost is $203,117 including the franchise fee. Following the franchise model could potentially become a lucrative avenue for the food business.
Joe’s Gourmet changed the packaging and has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 79 reviews on the Walmart website. The company is growing rapidly, they make an estimated $2 million in annual revenue and are worth $4 million.