The Pizza Cupcake: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Some of the most memorable businesses to have appeared on "Shark Tank" have been those that changed the way we imagined our favorite foods; season 12's Slice of Sauce turned liquid sauces into thin slices while season 4's Wicked Good Cupcakes reinvented the classic cupcake and packed it into a jar, and season 6's Bantam Bagels has a legendary reputation among fans for giving an NYC bagel a bite-sized form. Another such business was season 12, episode 13's The Pizza Cupcake.

Spouses-turned-business partners Andrea Meggiato and Michelle Jimenez came into "Shark Tank" hoping to secure a $125,000 investment in exchange for 5% equity in their business, which turned fluffy pizza dough into frozen cupcakes filled with tomato sauce and cheese. Born and raised in Venice, Meggiato had been working as a chef since he was 16 years old and joined the fine dining Italian restaurant in London's Soho House at 19. A decade after moving to New York in 2006 to open one of Soho House's member-only clubs, Meggiato met Jimenez — an event manager who also worked with social media influencers — and asked her out on a pizza-making date. The date turned into a marriage and soon, Meggiato and Jiminez had their "first baby" as they called it: The Pizza Cupcake.

What happened to The Pizza Cupcake on Shark Tank?

The Pizza Cupcake's journey began after Meggiato realized that his Italian friends and family — generally picky and particular about their foods — found the untraditional pizza cupcakes to be a smashing hit. Sensing a business opportunity in their reinvented pizzas, the entrepreneurs decided to make their pizza cupcakes official.

At the time of their appearance on "Shark Tank" in 2021, The Pizza Cupcake was already on track to make $800,000 in sales that year. The entrepreneurs had a game plan to expand The Pizza Cupcake across the U.S. as an e-commerce business that sold directly to its customers and had even developed a recipe that would bring their production costs from 95 cents per cupcake down to 48 cents with the help of a Shark's investment, further increasing their profit margins.

While the Sharks unanimously loved the pizza cupcakes and couldn't stop raving about the crunchy yet soft pizza dough — the Sharks guessed that this was because of a lot of butter, but the secret turned out to be a dough made with olive oil that was a cross between a brioche and sourdough — they sensed trouble on the horizon. Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary weren't too keen on tackling the problems that came with a frozen food business whereas Daymond John and Robert Herjavec didn't see themselves as a good fit for the company. Ultimately, the entrepreneurs found a business partner in the Bantam Bagels investor Lori Greiner, who — after tough negotiations — agreed to a $125,000 investment in exchange for 12.5% equity and another 2.5% in advisory shares.

The Pizza Cupcake after Shark Tank

The Pizza Cupcake launched in 2018, and by the time they appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2021, the business already had a lot going for it. The Pizza Cupcake had a concession stand at Citi Field — home of the New York Mets — and was catering at events. Their cheesy pizzas had a place at New York's open-air food market Smorgasburg, and their stand at the outdoor market in World Trade Centre was pulling 45-minute long queues. In fact, Meggiato was also featured on Mariah Carrey's Instagram where the singer called him the "King of The Pizza Cupcake."

As COVID-19 hit in 2020, shutting down pop-up shops and catered events, The Pizza Cupcake's revenue nearly dropped to zero. Jimenez even told Grit Daily that The Pizza Cupcake "almost didn't survive" the pandemic. As the entrepreneurs pivoted to e-commerce to adapt to the new circumstances, and their appearance on "Shark Tank" brought them nationwide publicity along with an investment, The Pizza Cupcake slowly got back to its feet after a shaky year. The company made a million dollars in sales right after their episode aired and had three months' worth of pre-orders. The publicity from "Shark Tank" and Greiner's backing also helped the company to enter the retail market for the first time. By November 2021 — about nine months since their appearance on "Shark Tank" — The Pizza Cupcake had struck deals with select grocery stores in the Northeast, marking its entry into retail.

The Pizza Cupcake is still in business

The deal with stores in the Northeast wasn't the first or the only partnership that The Pizza Cupcake made with retailers. Not only is The Pizza Cupcake still in business and selling its frozen snacks online through its website but since its appearance on "Shark Tank," the pizza cupcakes have made their way into even bigger supermarkets across the country.

Supermarket freezers are notoriously hard spots for new companies to find a space in — a concern that had stopped Cuban from investing in The Pizza Cupcake. In the interview with Grit Daily, Jimenez explained that supermarkets only review their freezer shelf space once a year. Add to that competition from major frozen food players and things get pretty tough for new businesses like The Pizza Cupcake. Despite the difficulties, however, the company announced in September 2022 that it had successfully managed to snag priced freezer space in Walmart, taking its pizza cupcakes to more than 1,600 of their across the U.S. According to Greiner's website, The Pizza Cupcake made $2.7 million in retail sales in merely the year since its appearance on "Shark Tank."

While the company still only makes the two flavors of pizza cupcakes that it did when it appeared on "Shark Tank" — margherita and pepperoni — The Pizza Cupcake collaborated with Cravings by Chrissy Teigen to launch a spicy pizza cupcake with chili flakes for Valentine's Day in 2022.

What's next for The Pizza Cupcake?

Jimenez told Food Business News that the couple's long-term vision for The Pizza Cupcake was to make it a staple in everyone's household — a go-to snack for all occasions. If their updates on Instagram are any indication, the entrepreneurs are certainly on their way to reaching their goals. Since making their way into Walmart's freezers, the entrepreneurs have struck deals with Giant, Woodmans, and Foxtrot to stock their pizza cupcakes. In July 2023, The Pizza Cupcake announced that Costco's northeast locations had started stocking its frozen snacks as well. Considering the recent updates, it seems that Meggiato and Jimenez may be looking at bringing The Pizza Cupcake into even more national retailers in the near future. There's even a food truck now that takes The Pizza Cupcake all across the country, so fans can expect to see the pizzas at future events or at a New York Mets game since their concessions stand is back at Citi Field as well.

While the entrepreneurs have yet to launch new flavors besides Margherita and pepperoni, fans can only hope that they collaborate with more celebrities like Teigen in the future to release limited-edition pizza cupcakes. Besides, considering their fanbase which includes the likes of Vanessa Bayer — who gave the cupcake pizzas four out of five stars on "The Drew Barrymore Show" — and Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy who vouched for the pizzas on One Bite Pizza Reviews, The Pizza Cupcake will likely have no shortage of celebrities to partner with in the future!