Bertello Before Shark Tank
Pizza might have started in Italy but its popularity in the United States cannot be questioned. In 2021, Pizza sales in the United States generated more than $45,000,000,000 in sales and the industry is still growing. Some of the largest food franchises include Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, and Little Caesar’s, and all of these are pizza-making restaurants.
Away from work, pizza is still made at home to enjoy with the whole family. Unfortunately, the conventional oven does not always bring out the best pizza. Eric Bert saw this and went about trying to find a way to get a better pizza experience at home. Eric had been a structural engineer for more than 10 years and used his experience to develop the Bertello oven.
The Bertello Oven is a portable oven that was made specifically to cook pizza. The Bertello Oven could use a variety of materials including wood pellets, propane gas, and charcoal. Together with his brother Andy, Eric Bert started the Bertello Oven business.
The Bertello Oven was a success and it had sold out on more than one occasion. However, they needed more capital to expand the business. One problem they constantly faced was not having enough money for more inventory. That is why they decided to get into the Shark Tank and see if they could attract an investor who could help them grow. Andy and Eric Bert were on the 15th episode of season 11.
Bertello on Shark Tank
Andy and Eric Bert went onto Shark Tank seeking 120,000 for 10% of their business, Bertello. This gave the company a valuation of $1,200,000. They started their presentation by showing the sharks how hard it was to make good pizza with the conventional oven. They then showed the sharks their Bertello oven and how it improved the pizza-making experience.
The Bertello oven could use a variety of fuels including wood pellets, charcoal, and propane which was shown. After showing the benefits of the Bertello oven, the Bert Brothers showed the sharks a sample pizza they had made using the oven and invited them to taste it. They also invited Kevin to try using the oven.
Although Kevin’s pizza turned out a bit burnt on the side, he thought that it turned out well overall. Lori asked how many hours it took to cook the pizza and she was told that it would take up to 2 minutes. Robert asked if it was done and he was told that it depended on the person. As they finished their slices of pizza, the sharks said that they thought that it was really good.
Robert then asked if there was anything on the market like it. Eric said that there was one competitor in the market but they didn’t know how to use wood and gas at the same time. They also didn’t have as many fuel options as them. Robert was curious as to what the advantage of using just wood or just propane was. Eric said that with propane you could preheat the oven and after five minutes you could throw the wood and this would be an easier and faster way to cook.
Lori asked if she could use the device indoors and Eric said that he could not recommend using it indoors because it would be like using a gas grill indoors. Robert asked how much the grill cost and he was told that it cost $250. He then asked how much it cost to make it and he was told that it cost $84 to land it. Bert then said that their net margins were $33.
Mark Cuban asked them where they were selling it and how many they had sold and he was told that they were selling them on Amazon. So far, they had realized revenue of $640,000 in that year. In the previous 4 months, their sales had been $400,000. The sharks thought their sales were impressive. Mark then asked them how much money they had invested and if they had any other investors or debt.
Andy said that they had invested about $90,000 to start the business. At the start of the year, they had borrowed about $70,000 which they had just paid back. Lori asked if it was just the two of them in the business and Andy confirmed that it was. She then asked if the ownership was 50/50. Eric said that he owned 80% of the business and Andy owned the other 20%.
Robert then asked for a bit of their background. Eric said that he was a licensed structural engineer and he had worked in Manhattan for 10 years and he had worked on the biggest bridges in New York. Eric said that he worked in Finance and after college; he had worked in some of the biggest trading pits in the country. He then got married and had children and moved back to Minnesota where he worked in financial services.
Lori asked if they designed the oven themselves and Bert said that he designed every aspect of it that there was. Barbara asked them what the largest obstacle that they had to overcome was. Eric said that it was keeping up with the demand. He then said that they were constantly waiting for the revenue from selling some pieces to have enough to fulfill other orders.
Kevin then said that there were at least 5 other pizza ovens in the market and he wanted to know why someone would build their own. Eric said that his perspective was different and he would probably go for it. Eric then said that as a 10-year-old, he had built one of the largest tree houses probably in the whole country.
Mark Cuban then left. He didn’t think that the business was a fit for him so he would not invest. He also thought that they had more of a consumer product than a business which made it hard for him to invest.
Robert followed Mark and also left. He said that he was not certain about how they could go into the mass market. Robert also said that he just didn’t feel excited about the product and felt that there was so much competition. Barbara then complained about their lack of energy because she felt that Eric’s energy levels dropped significantly after he got hit by a pizza.
Eric didn’t have an answer but Barbara offered them $100,000 for 25% of the business. Kevin then offered them $100,000 but for 30% of their business. Kevin said that his entry into the business would increase sales tenfold. Eric then asked Kevin if he would do it for 25% which he did. They then made the deal.
As they left, Eric said that they made the deal with Kevin because he believed in them from the start.
Bertello Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Since its deal with Kevin, the Bertello Oven has had a lot of success in many ways. It now sells its product on its website and now also sells the oven separately from its accessories. The Bertello oven with all its accessories costs $664 but you could buy the oven without buying the other parts such as the Gas/wood tray or pizza peel and it would cost you $329.99.
Bertello has not relied on social media for any of its sales and does not have any social media pages. When we checked their website, we found that several options for the Bertello oven were out of stock. A deal from the sharks was supposed to have enabled them to never run out of stock but they have.
The Bertello Oven has been reviewed in multiple magazines indicating its success. It has been featured on Vitoia Copelli, TechGearLab, Good Life Pizza Ovens, and more. On Amazon, it is rated 4.1 out of 5 stars from 580 reviews.
Bertello is located in Afton, Minnesota. It continues to improve the outdoor cooking experience with quality ovens that can use almost any fuel that you find.