The Bumbling Bee Before Shark Tank
The Bumbling Bee is a vegan fast-food company that operates out of food trucks and restaurants located around Virginia. All the food this company makes is completely vegan, and they have become highly popular meals among vegans. Instead of using meat, they use plant-based ingredients. Nonetheless, these meals still look very similar to other fast food. It’s been rumored that the founders even use their own recipes for the spices they add to the meals. Some of the foods they have on their menu are Fried Mac Balls, Boss Barbeque Burger, Godfather Sizzlin’ Sausage, Bella the Beast Poutine, Irishman Corned Beef, and Joey Meatball Grinder.
The Bumbling Bee food truck was founded and started in 2011 by Cassandra Ayala and her two daughters, Lexi, India, and Olivia. Aside from running The Bumbling Bee, Cassandra has been a real estate agent for many years. Her daughter, India, has experience as a professionally trained chef who has won multiple culinary awards. Cassandra’s other two daughters, Olivia and Lexi, are still in school; however, they help their mother with the vegan food truck business. Their very first food truck opened in 2011 near Virginia Beach, and they opened their first restaurant location in 2019 in the same area. They named the restaurant Bumbling Bee Vegan Junk Food & Burger Bar. By 2020, Cassandra had just opened a new food truck and restaurant location in Boulder, California. The founder works between both locations; she often flies back and forth. As for her daughters, India operates the business in Virginia Beach; Olivia operates the business in Boulder, California; and Lexi tends to help out wherever she’s needed.
Cassandra started The Bumbling Bee business mostly because she wanted to experience something new after working in real estate for a long time. When she first launched the business, it was just her and India working the food trucks; Olivia and Lexi joined after the business became popular. The mother and daughter entrepreneurs even created a catchy slogan for the business: “Open your mind; your body and palate will thank you.” At first, the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of her plans, so she couldn’t open the physical restaurants as soon as she wanted. Nonetheless, she succeeded in opening them eventually, and customers loved the food she made. The Bumbling Bee seems to be doing well already, but they want to try to impress the sharks with their meals now, in hopes that a shark will help them grow the business quicker.
The Bumbling Bee on Shark Tank
Cassandra Ayala and her daughter India entered the Shark Tank for season 12, episode 22, with their $1.5 million company, The Bumbling Bee. They are searching for a $150,000 investment in exchange for 10% equity in their company. The mother-daughter entrepreneur duo pitched their business to the sharks, explaining what it’s all about. Cassandra gives each shark a sample of their delectable vegan food to try, and the sharks all appear to love the taste of the food. Nonetheless, that wasn’t enough to get them to want to invest in the business.
Throughout 2020, the founder and her daughters have made $324,000 in sales. The sharks weren’t too dissatisfied with The Bumbling Bee’s sales, as they were more concerned that the business idea was too similar to that of other vegan businesses. Given how popular vegan restaurants are becoming, the sharks felt that new businesses could easily copy what Cassandra is doing with her food trucks and restaurants. While they didn’t say that Cassandra’s company isn’t investable, they did say it wasn’t worth an investment at the time of filming. Given that, Cassandra and India unfortunately left the show without a contract for their business.
The Bumbling Bee Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Despite The Bumbling Bee not getting a contract with a shark, Cassandra and her daughters appear to be doing well with their business. After Cassandra and India appeared on the show, the business quickly gained more customers due to people wanting to try the food after seeing how much the sharks liked it. However, while they have managed to keep the business going as of 2023, there is one piece of unfortunate news. According to The Bumbling Bee’s Instagram page, Cassandra did end up having to close down all the restaurant locations. Unfortunately, the founder stated that this closing was permanent, so they will not be reopening. The good news is that the food trucks are still up and running successfully.
Throughout 2021, The Bumbling Bee successfully reached an annual revenue of $1 million, and the founders appeared at the Richmond Vegfest, which brought the business even more orders. The mother-daughter duo has started marketing their food trucks on social media platforms, and customers can see where Cassandra moves the trucks each week. She moves them every Sunday. In other news, Cassandra has started doing more catering services with her food trucks. She will cater for weddings, birthdays, business lunches, and much more, and customers can choose any of the tasteful foods listed on her menu.