Power Players

Why Kevin O'Leary and Bethenny Frankel got in a screaming match over empanadas on 'Shark Tank'

Mitch Haaseth | Getty Images

On Sunday night's episode of ABC's "Shark Tank," guest judge Bethenny Frankel proved she has what it takes to swim with the Sharks when she clashed with Kevin O'Leary over a pitch.

The heated fight started during David and Joanna Parker's pitch for Yumble, a subscription-based meal company that provides pre-made healthy meals for kids. 

The Sharks tasted the meals and were impressed; O'Leary said he was reminded of Plated, a "Shark Tank" company he invested in that went on to sell to grocery chain Albertsons for $300 million in 2017. Still, despite sales numbers that seemed to impress the investors and low customer acquisition costs, O'Leary wasn't sold on Yumble. He asked the entrepreneurs how they will be able to compete against the likes of Whole Foods (which was acquired by Amazon) and Albertsons?

"How are you going to beat guys that have brick and mortar that can solicit their millions of customers that go in to buy grocery, to even know about you?" O'Leary asked.

That's when Frankel jumped in. She disagreed with O'Leary's line of thinking: Unlike Plated, where customers get ingredients and a recipe and cook the meal, Yumble meals (like empanadas and mac and cheese) come pre-cooked, so they're more like Lunchables, she said. 

When O'Leary started to talk over Frankel while she was making the argument, things went downhill. 

"No, I'm going to talk also!" Frankel yelled over O'Leary's interruption. "I'd like to say something, Kevin!" she said, slamming her notebook down on her lap.

"It's not your world," she yelled at O'Leary. "It's not Plated. It is to compete with Lunchables, and I'm a mother..."

"You're not getting the customer acquisition issue," O'Leary interjected. He continued talking over Frankel, telling her what happened when Amazon purchased Whole Foods — that meal kit company Blue Apron's stock tanked after the acquisition because investors were worried about insurmountable competition from Amazon.

The co-founders, of course, were in agreement with Frankel.

"I think there's a huge difference," Joanna said. "And I think, Bethenny, you're probably trying to kind of articulate it."

"Thank you," Frankel said to Joanna, glaring at O'Leary.

In the end, three sharks offered deals: Frankel was in and guest judge Rohan Oza and Lori Greiner, "the queen of QVC," offered a joint deal.  After some back-and-forth, the entrepreneurs agreed to give Frankel a 6 percent stake in Yumble for a $500,000 investment. 

Who was right about Yumble's customer acquisition — Frankel or O'Leary — remains to be seen.

Don't miss: This invention keeps bottled beer cold, did $1M in sales in 10 days and scored a million-dollar deal on 'Shark Tank'

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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