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Chef Big Shake: Didn’t get 'Shark' deal but still made $5M

Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake.
Source: Shawn Davis
Shawn Davis, otherwise known as Chef Big Shake.

Shawn Davis went into the "Shark Tank" seeking a $200,000 investment for 25 percent equity in his specialty burger company. After being turned down by all the sharks, angel investors swam in and he grew his business from $30,000 in that year to over $5 million in the next.

How did you get onto "Shark Tank?"

A childhood friend knew I was looking for money to launch my Shrimp Burger business and that I needed help. He sent me an email with an online "Shark Tank" application attached. I filled it out and forgot about it. Six months later I received a phone call from one of the show producers. After the initial phone call, there were several conversations that followed about my business. Finally, they asked if I would like to pitch my business in front of the sharks.

You ended up not getting a deal on "Shark Tank." Was that a blessing in disguise?

I think it was a blessing that I had an opportunity to expose my business to the public. And it was also a blessing because there is no way I could have got my business off the ground with the investment I was seeking on "Shark Tank." After being in the business for three years I definitely was not asking for enough money.

What would you say to Mark Cuban now?

We are still looking for the right investor. I think he would be an amazing addition to our CBS Foods brand.

What have you been up to since your last update?

As a chef, cooking has always been my first passion. My wife and I have opened up our first (of hopefully many) Hot Chicken & Fish restaurants. Our restaurant name is "Big Shake's Hot Chicken & Fish" located in Nashville, Tennessee.

So far the response has been amazing! We have lines out the door of people wanting to eat my food and of course the Shrimp Burger is on the menu. www.BigShakesHotChicken.com

What would you say to someone who's about to walk into the tank?

Don't dance around the hard questions. Be prepared and the number one thing is know your numbers and who your competition is.

Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. & 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Meet the Sharks

  • Mark is the highly successful entrepreneur and investor who founded HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions.

  • Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business.

  • Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand.