SubSafe: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

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Submarine sandwiches may be named after a seafaring vehicle, but they don't do well on the water, as Adam Haller discovered. The avid fisher from Port Orange, Florida liked to take sandwiches along in a cooler on his boat, but zip-top bags couldn't keep out water as the ice melted. After pulling out a soggy, squished sub for the last time, Adam and his wife Desiree decided to create SubSafe, the ultimate sub-storing device. 

Each SubSafe is a three-part unit that uses a central cylindrical container to house subs, with a protective outer layer that resembles a plastic drink cup. It's advertised as waterproof, crush-proof, and even floats. Not only did the couple aim to make SubSafe eco-friendly — as it eliminates the need for plastic sandwich bags — but each purchase contributes 50 cents to Provision Packs, a charity that provides for children across Florida. 

As Desiree revealed on the Wild Business Growth Podcast, she and Adam are huge fans of "Shark Tank," and used knowledge they got from the show to begin their business. The couple appeared on their favorite series in 2019 to see if any sea-wise Sharks would bite at their product. While the idea seemed promising, no one is guaranteed success on the show, as proven by endeavors like Creation Nation. Would the Hallers walk out with a deal like Crispy Cones and Everything Legendary, or would SubSafe end up without its sea legs?

What happened to SubSafe on Shark Tank?

Adam and Desiree Haller sailed into Season 10, Episode 13 of "Shark Tank" with samples of SubSafe containers and even sandwiches for the panel of judges, including special guest Shark Charles Barkley. The couple asked for an investment of $50,000 in exchange for a 13% stake. At the time, the containers sold for $17.95, with only $2.38 expended to make a single unit — a respectable margin. However, between its launch in February 2018 and the entrepreneurs' appearance on "Shark Tank," SubSafe had only made around $40,000.

Barkley (who enjoys fishing), Mark Cuban, and "Mr. Wonderful" Kevin O'Leary loved the idea, but took pause at the low sales. The Hallers blamed the deficit on being a new company, and they had invested $37,000 into SubSafe, leaving them with little to spend on marketing. Adam even sold his boat to keep the company running. Desiree mentioned that SubSafe was in talks for a partnership with the largest sub sandwich chain in America, but this didn't help matters for Lori Griner, who bowed out because the product's market seemed too small. 

O'Leary considered making an offer, but questioned how he would get his money back, given the SubSafe's middling sales. Luckily for the Hallers, Barkley and Cuban proposed a dual deal of $100,000 for a 25% stake. The couple accepted and walked out happy, but they would have to work hard to make sure SubSafe swam instead of sinking.

SubSafe after Shark Tank

SubSafe made a splash following its episode's airing, securing distribution deals with 600 Publix supermarkets (famous for its "Pub Subs"), plus convenience store chain Wawa; Bed, Bath, & Beyond; and cooler company Orca. By October 2019, the Hallers had their own warehouse for manufacturing SubSafe products. In an interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Desiree Haller stated that "We were in our garage until December [of 2018]," adding that "A lot changes when [Shark Tank] airs."

Desiree also revealed to the Daily Commercial that their Publix rollout was momentarily delayed, due to sold-out inventory following their "Shark Tank" success. "From beginning to end, it's been an incredible experience for us," she told the Wild Business Growth Podcast in 2023. She added that social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram have become a large part of the brand's marketing strategy.

To say that the Hallers expanded their product line would be an understatement. SubSafe's online shop offers products like strap accessories; totes; an IceSafe and WineSafe; a Charcuterie Safe for snacks; and even the SubSafe², a smaller version of the container meant for square-shaped sandwiches. The original SubSafes now go for $19.99. In 2019, the Hallers also launched VyroSafe, a brand of biodegradable paper straws, but its products don't appear to be for sale any longer, and its last post on Facebook was in 2020.

Is SubSafe still in business?

SubSafe is still going strong, and beyond Charles Barkley and Mark Cuban, the brand has garnered more celebrity attention. Barkley and fellow basketball legend Shaquille O'Neil went at it over SubSafe live on TNT, as can be seen in a segment on Facebook. Shaq was rather sarcastic about the product in a lighthearted "review," even using the containers as bowling pins. While he clearly created a spoof rather than a real endorsement, as the saying goes, no publicity is bad publicity.

Meanwhile, SubSafe has garnered actual positive reviews on platforms like TikTok, including one video where a creator put a SubSafe'd sandwich into a crab cage and dunked it underwater (it came out perfectly intact). This isn't the only video featuring curious customers flinging the container (and their lunch!) into deep water to test it out. Most recently, the product was promoted through Good Morning America in June 2024.

SubSafe's total value nor its sales numbers are available to the public, but its online store remains active and well-stocked (though some products end up on backorder, supposedly due to high demand). According to the company's Instagram, its Charcuterie Safe is its latest product to achieve smashing success, with inventory selling out three times. Some of its products are also available on Amazon, though listings are not always in stock.