10 Best Franchises To Buy From ‘Shark Tank’

Franchising is a tried-and-true business model , accounting for more than 744,000 businesses across the country or about one in 12 enterprises. Over the past eight seasons, the celebrity investors on ABC’s hit business reality show Shark Tank heard pitches from dozens of franchises. Some sported a robust history while others were still in diapers.

Very few of them made it to Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list, a comprehensive database of leading U.S. franchises, their financial requirements and fees. Here’s a look at the top 10 franchises featured in the list that have appeared on Shark Tank, the holy grail of public relations for small businesses.

Wine & Design

Initial Investment:  $52,800 – $105,000

Initial Franchise Fee:  $25,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  2%

Wine & Design Burbank franchisee Lisa Flette; Kevin O'Leary, Shark Tank investor; and Harriett Mills, founder and CEO of Wine & Design. Wine & Design Burbank franchisee Lisa Flette; Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank investor; and Harriett Mills, founder and CEO of Wine & Design.

Imagine hosting Sally’s bachelorette party for a gaggle of women channeling their inner Picassos as they stare at a hunk modeling his birthday suit. They paint while you pour pinot noir. It’s a dirty job. But somebody has got to do it.

Harriet and Patrick Mills started Raleigh, N.C.-based Wine & Design — a chain of paint-and-sip studios — in 2010 and began franchising only a year later. It has grown from one company studio to 77 franchises — all women owned. During Shark Tank’s eighth season finale, May 12, Kevin O’Leary offered the couple a $350K loan at 12% interest and $150K for 10% equity. The deal went through, but the actual terms are different than what they agreed upon during the episode.

“It’s a very successful model because if you can get more franchisees to open faster, everything works for everybody,” O’Leary said a recent interview. “I want the franchisees to become rich. That’s the whole point of this.”

College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving

Initial Investment: $89,300 – $208,200

Initial Franchise Fee:  $40,000 – $50,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  7%

Ad Royalty Fee:  2%

Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman first started College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving in the summer of 2003 when a group of friends borrowed an old van and offered to help people move or get rid of unwanted stuff. The business plan won first place in the University of Miami’s Leigh Rothschild Entrepreneurship Competition.

Soliman and F riedman appeared in the very first Shark Tank episode in August 2009, seeking $250K for 25% equity in their new venture: College Foxes Packing Boxes. Robert Herjavec offered them that amount for half of College Foxes and 10% of College Hunks, but they declined.

College Hunks Hauling Junk has expanded to 10 company-owned outlets, three overseas franchises and 189 franchises in the U.S. since the Tampa, Fla.-based company started franchising in 2007.

“The entrepreneurial culture of College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving — from new employees all the way through to managers, franchisees and corporate staff — is one of the secrets of our brand’s growth and ongoing success,” College Hunks states on its website. “We teach franchisees and their employees traditional and guerilla marketing tactics to drive customer interest and acquisition, and we provide digital marketing to drive customers to franchisees, as well as a national call center to book jobs.”

Glace Cryotherapy

Initial Investment:  $124,700 – $202,500

Initial Franchise Fee:  $30,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  7%

Ad Royalty Fee:  to 2%

Cold therapy, known as cryotherapy, is a hot trend in sports medicine. It reduces blood flow to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. Siblings Skyler Scarlett and Brittney Scarlett-Torres founded Glace Cryotherapy in 2014 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. They started franchising last year and so far have one company-owned location and one franchise, according to Entrepreneur.

“When Glace first opened in 2014, we were one of just over 20 locations in the U.S.,” Glace says on its website. “Currently there are more than 600 locations and Cryotherapy is expected to be a $2.1 billion dollar industry by 2021. Timing is everything, so get in with a Cryotherapy brand that’s in a great position to grow and thrive in the coming years. ”

For the past year, they have been working on opening a corporate-owned outlet inside of City Sports Club (a gym owned by LA Fitness parent company, Fitness International) in Mountain View, Calif.

“Being located inside the gym, we will have direct access to our target market,” said Scarlett-Torres in an email. “We also may decide to open more corporate-owned locations in California, most likely in the Bay Area. As far as where we’d want to sell franchises, the possibilities are pretty endless as there are over 680 gym locations. We will focus our franchising efforts outside the state of California.”

Barbara Corcoran offered $100K for 30% equity in a February 2016 installment. But the deal never went through.

Shark Tank (Episode 720): Robert Herjavec tries cryotherapy, provided by contestants Skyler Scarlett an d Brittney Scarlett-Torres. Shark Tank (Episode 720): Robert Herjavec tries cryotherapy, provided by Skyler Scarlett and Brittney Scarlett-Torres.


Tippi Toes

Initial Investment:  $52,000 – $62,500

Liquid Cash Requirement:  $15,000

Initial Franchise Fee:  $35,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  10%

Join the fight against childhood obesity by getting kids moving and grooving to your company’s own music and choreography. Sisters Sarah Nuse and Megan Reilly started Tippi Toes in 2002 to provide dance classes, camps and parties for kids from 18 months to 12 years. They started franchising in 2009 and have 29 franchises, according to Entrepreneur. The least capitalize-intensive company on this list, it requires only three employees to run a location.

“You may find yourself overwhelmed with tears of joy as you see your dancers learn, grow, shine and perform,&rdquo ; Tippi Toes writes on its website. “You will become very familiar with your community and community members will become very familiar with you, leading to new friendships and joy.”

Mark Cuban offered the sisters $100K for 30% of the business in a March 2011 episode. But the deal fell through.

Hammer & Nails — Grooming Shop for Guys

Initial Investment:  $234,700 – $541,400

Initial Franchise Fee:  $39,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  1%

Founder Michael Elliot — a former screenwriter —  created this men’s only groom shop in 2013 to give customers a “man cave nirvana” experience. Hammer & Nails offers a full range of services: manicures, pedicures, barbering. All the while customers enjoy their own remote-controlled flat screen TV, noise- canceling headphones and a free beverage. With a membership fee, averaging $52 a month, customers can get a 20% d iscount on services.

Elliot pitched in a September 2014 edition, offering $200K in exchange for 20% equity. None of the sharks bit. But he managed to raise $200K from eight viewers. More than 800 franchise inquiries poured after the airing, Elliot told Forbes’ staff writer Amy Feldman this month.

Michael Elliot created Hammer & Nails -- Grooming Shop for Guys Michael Elliot created Hammer & Nails — Grooming Shop for Guys.

He has one company-owned shop in Los Angeles, which did $350K in revenues last year. Franchising is a means of creating opportunities for other African Americans, Elliot says.

“I wanted to create a business that could be replicated, and empower other African-Americans and other people to go into business for themse lves and devote my time to helping them succeed,” Elliot told Feldman. “You can grow quickly through franchising, but it is also a way to impact other people’s lives.”

Since appearing on Shark Tank, the company has sold 232 franchise licenses. It’s on track to have 250 locations up and running by 2022 with projected revenue of $2 million.

The Coop

Initial Investment:  $130,500 – $283,500

Initial Franchise Fee:  $35,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  1%

Juliet Boydstun and Lucinda Lent founded The COOP in 2008 to make kids’ parties fun for both kids and adults. There are jungle gyms and toys for the kids and Wi-Fi, magazines and a coffee bar for the adults. In an August 2013 airing, Barbara Corcoran offered $150K for 15% equity in the Los Angeles-based company on the condition that she get her money back within two years. The Coop started franchising in 2015. So far it has one company-owned location and two franchises.

“Our national TV exposure and Shark Tank investors assure that our brand remain in the forefront, top of mind,” The Coop says on its website. “Cooperative advertising programs with the company and other franchisees can provide national and regional exposure at a more affordable price.”


Initial Investment:  $178,000 – $309,500

Initial Franchise Fee:  $35,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  5%

Ad Royalty Fee:  2%

Cinnaholic, an all-vegan bakery in Berkeley, Calif, is giving Cinnabon a run for its money. Besides being utterly delicious, it offers more than 30 frostings and 30 toppings like cookie dough and fruit. Co-owners Florian and Shannon Radke pitched their vegan cinnamon rolls in a May 2014 episode, seeking $200K for 20% equity. Robert Herjavec offered $200K for 40% equity if they focus on growing online sales rather than ope ning new locations. They accepted his offer on air but declined afterward owing to “differences in their vision for growth.”

Cinnaholic has 14 franchises and no company-owned stores, according to Entrepreneur. It was founded in 2010 and started franchising in 2014.

“Are you ready to trade in your desk job for a chance to make people smile and make mouths water?” says the company website. “Come join us!”

Games2U Inc.

Initial Investment:  $58,250 – $197,000

Initial Franchise Fee:  $20,000 – $35,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  2%

This Austin, Texas business is literally all fun and games. Brothers David and Stu Pikoff launched Games2U in 2007 to provide video game theaters, outdoor laser tag, giant inflatable hamster balls, foam machines, 7-foot tall robots, anywhere people are partying.

The duo pitched their mobile entertainment company in an April 2011 ep isode in hopes of getting a whopping $500K for a 10% stake. Kevin O’Leary was the only shark to make an offer. But he wanted 51% equity to take control of the company. The brothers tried to talk Mr. Wonderful down to 25% but he wouldn’t budge. They left empty handed.

The company started franchising only one year after starting and has 118 U.S. franchises and seven overseas, according to Entrepreneur.

“A Games2U franchise requires very little start-up capital, can be launched in less than 90 days, and is the ideal business for fun-loving entrepreneurs,” states G2U.com. “We supply you with a comprehensive operation including amazing branded custom designed vehicles, theaters, and tons of other games and equipment. In fact, every franchise is equipped to run multiple events simultaneously, even in the same time slots.”

Tom and Chee

Initial Investment:  $402,200 – $835,000

Initial Franchise Fee:  $40, 000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  1.5%

If you like comfort food, you’ll love Tom and Chee — the purveyor of grilled cheese donuts, a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, soups and blue cheese chili. Tom and Chee’s humble roots began in 2008 with a tent in Cincinnati. Today, co-founders Trew Quackenbush and Corey Ward have three company-owned stores and 28 U.S. franchises, according to Entrepreneur. As with all restaurants, it’s very labor intensive and calls for at least 30 employees to run one location. Tom and Chee is giving special consideration to franchisees who want to open shops in Lexington, Ky., Louisville, Ky., Toledo, Ohio and Columbus, Ohio.

In a May 2013 installment, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban both pledged $300K for 15% equity each and rights to franchise in New York and Texas, respectively. After the airing, more than 2,500 phone calls and emails poured in asking about franchising opportunities .

“Tom and Chee is reinventing the way America thinks about grilled cheese,” Barbara Corcoran says on her website. “Tom+Chee’s new twists on a classic are taking America by storm.”

Subzero Ice Cream

Initial Investment: $160,750 – $386,000

Initial Franchise Fee:  $30,000

Ongoing Royalty Fee:  6%

Ad Royalty Fee:  2%

Imagine running an ice cream store without having to own freezers. That’s because Sub Zero flash freezes each custom-mixed order with liquid nitrogen. Customers choose from a variety of cream bases —  premium custard, low-fat, yogurt, vegan, etc. — and mix-ins to create an infinite number of flavor combinations. Flash freezing makes for a smoother, creamier product than traditional ice cream because the water doesn’t form large ice crystals and the milk molecules stay small. This franchise opportunity is best for people who don’t get high on their own supply.

< p>Jerry and Naomi Hancock started the Provo, Utah-based company in June 2004 and appeared on Shark Tank in January 2013, seeking $300K in exchange for 12% equity. But none of the Sharks sweetened up to the offer. Thanks to the Shark Tank effect, Sub Zero went from 18 franchise locations and $4.8 million in annual sales to more than 60 locations in 16 states and two countries: United Arab Emirates and China. Annual systemwide sales total $8.5 million. 

Jerry and Naomi Hancock founded Sub Zero Ice Cream. Jerry and Naomi Hancock founded Sub Zero Ice Cream.

“After our show aired, we received thousands of franchise leads, which resulted in over 50 franchise deals,” the Hancocks say. “We also were able to expand internationally and debut a flagship corporate headquarters, training facility and test kitchen in Provo, Utah.

“Every time our show airs, we continue to generate more franchise leads and are forever grateful for our experience on Shark Tank.”