Buena Papa Shark Tank Update | Buena Papa Net Worth

Buena Papa Fry Bar is a burgeoning restaurant chain specializing in loaded fries, essentially french fries topped with various ingredients to create hearty dishes, which appeared on Season 15, Episode 04 of Shark Tank

The concept was born out of the founders, James and Johanna Windon’s, improvisation during the COVID-19 lockdown when they substituted rice with fries in a traditional Colombian dish. 

This creation led to their flagship menu item, the Colombiano, and later inspired a full menu of international-themed loaded fry dishes.

The core product of Buena Papa Fry Bar is its loaded fries, which feature a French fry base with an array of toppings reminiscent of different global cuisines. 

One notable dish is the Colombiano, which includes refried beans, fried pork belly, chorizo, guacamole, and pico de gallo on top of fries. Another is The Americano, mimicking a loaded baked potato with toppings such as cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream, and chives.

Buena Papa Fry Bar’s offerings stand out due to their large portion sizes, frequently highlighted in online reviews as a notable feature. 

Customers often mention that the portions are generous enough to be shared between multiple people or to constitute more than one meal. 

The restaurant’s name also has a playful double meaning — in Spanish, “papa” can mean both “father” and “potato,” adding to its charm.

The restaurant chain appeared on Shark Tank, seeking investment for expansion. At that time, it had already begun franchising and had established several locations, including one within the PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team.

The franchise aims to expand nationwide, adapting its menu to reflect local cultures and tastes at new locations.

Buena Papa Fry Bar is a unique choice in the fast-casual dining segment by offering a comfort food staple — fries — with an international twist and ample portions that provide value to the customer. 

Their growth and the interest shown in their Shark Tank presentation suggest that they have found a niche that appeals to a broad audience looking for familiar foods with a novel and customizable touch.

Company NameBuena Papa Fry Bar
EntrepreneurJames Windon and Johanna Windon
ProductDishes filled with loaded french fries
Investment Asking For$400,000 in exchange for a 7% equity in Buena Papa Fry Bar
Final Deal$400,000 in exchange for a 19% equity in Buena Papa Fry Bar
SharkRobert Herjavec
Buena Papa Fry Bar Episode Season 15, Episode 04
Buena Papa Fry Bar Business StatusIn Business
Buena Papa Fry Bar WebsiteVisit Website
Buena Papa Fry Bar Net Worth$1 Million

What Is Buena Papa Fry Bar?

Buena Papa Fry Bar is a restaurant specializing in hand-cut, made-to-order gourmet French fries with various Colombian-inspired, Latin-infused flavors and other global premium toppings. 

Buena Papa Fry Bar is a fast-casual restaurant specializing in loaded gourmet French fries. They offer Latin-inspired meals served on top of a generous portion of hand-cut fries made to order. 

Buena Papa Shark Tank Update | Buena Papa Net Worth

The brand is known worldwide for its unique fusion of comfort food with irresistible Latin flavors, aiming to create a “fiesta in the mouth” experience for its customers. 

Their signature dish includes over three large potatoes worth of fresh-cut fries per meal, designed to be a substantial and satisfying offering. 

Buena Papa Fry Bar emphasizes high-quality ingredients and a culinary experience that combines the familiarity of French fries with diverse, bold Latin tastes.

The restaurant also offers franchising opportunities for partnering and opening their location. The establishment markets itself as a fun and exciting workplace, inviting people to apply for jobs.

Who Is The Founder Of Buena Papa Fry Bar?

The founders of Buena Papa Fry Bar are James and Johanna Windon. The couple has a history of entrepreneurship through their prior venture, Maid in Raleigh, a cleaning service based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Johanna Windon was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to the United States at 6. She deeply connects with her Colombian heritage, which she wants to share through food. 

Johanna took particular interest in traditional Colombian dishes such as “Bandeja Paisa” and sought to integrate these flavors into a new culinary concept.

James Windon, Johanna’s partner in both life and business, collaborated with her to adapt and refine their ideas. They blend entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for food, and cultural unity.

Buena Papa Fry Bar was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic when the Windons’ cleaning business was temporarily closed. To use their time during the lockdown, they began experimenting with cooking at home. 

When they found themselves without rice to complete a Bandeja Paisa meal, James suggested substituting French fries, sparking the idea for a fusion of Colombian flavors with an American fast-food staple.

Realizing the potential of their concept, James and Johanna spent weeks refining their idea. They envisioned Buena Papa Fry Bar as a place where community and culture could unite through gourmet fries topped with international flavors.

They had already made significant strides before appearing on Shark Tank, Buena Papa Fry Bar. The Windons launched their venture in 2021 amidst the challenges of the pandemic.

They created a unique, quick-serve dining experience centered around gourmet French fries with an international twist.

Their signature dish, “The Colombiano,” featured fries topped with Colombian-inspired ingredients like chorizo, beans, and fried pork belly. The menu expanded to include other globally-inspired toppings, borrowing flavors from Mexican to Italian cuisines.

Buena Papa Fry Bar’s atmosphere aimed to evoke a vacation vibe, creating a community space that encouraged cultural exploration—their playful use of “Spanglish” in naming dishes added to the restaurant’s distinctive character.

The popularity of their fries led to their recognition as the “officially loaded fries” of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. By the time they appeared on Shark Tank on October 20, 2023 (Season 15, Episode 4), Buena Papa had expanded its locations to include both Raleigh and Durham in North Carolina.

The restaurant served fries and sought to be a community hub where patrons could experience new cultures, representing Johanna’s vision of sharing her Colombian roots and bringing people together through food.

How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of Buena Papa Fry Bar?

James and Johanna Windon, founders of Buena Papa Fry Bar, appeared on Season 15 of Shark Tank to pitch their business, a french fry bar that combines traditional American sides with Latin-American flavors. 

They sought an investment of $400,000 in exchange for a 7% stake in their company, valuing Buena Papa Fry Bar at $5.7 million.

Their pitch informed the Sharks that “Buena Papa” means “good people” in Colombia, as well as “good potato.” The Windons explained their cultural backgrounds and how they merged them to create their unique french fry bar concept. 

Buena Papa turns french fries from a side dish into the main course, with each order comprising 33 ounces of fresh-cut fries topped with Latin American-inspired toppings.

The Sharks sampled these dishes and were impressed. The Windons shared their business history, including launching their first location in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2021 with a $40,000 investment. 

They experienced a viral marketing success on TikTok, which skyrocketed their business. Their cost per dish was $3.50, sold at $13.50, and they reported impressive sales figures and margins.

They discussed their expansion plans, revealing three operational locations and a fourth upcoming one in Miami. 

Their ultimate goal was to franchise their business across America, with an initial franchise fee and royalty structure already in place.

The Sharks had mixed reactions regarding Buena Papa Fry Bar, which are listed below:

  • Lori Greiner appreciated the concept and execution but didn’t feel it was the right fit for her.
  • Mark Cuban was interested until franchising was mentioned, then he withdrew.
  • Kevin O’Leary liked the food but cited personal lifestyle changes as his reason for not investing.
  • Barbara Corcoran felt the couple didn’t need a Shark’s help and passed on the opportunity.
  • Robert Herjavec saw potential and offered $400,000 for 20% equity. After negotiation, he agreed to invest the $400,000 for 19% equity.

The Windons accepted Robert Herjavec’s offer and left with their desired deal. The couple had also been featured on ABC’s local North Carolina station, indicating they were gaining more publicity following their Shark Tank appearance.

Did Buena Papa Fry Bar Get a Deal on Shark Tank?

Yes, Buena Papa Fry Bar did get a deal on Shark Tank. James and Joanna Windon, the owners, secured an investment from Robert Herjavec.

They initially sought $400,000 for a 7% stake in their company but ultimately agreed to give Robert a 19% stake in exchange for the $400,000 they requested.

What Happened To Buena Papa Fry Bar After Shark Tank?

After securing a deal with Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank, Buena Papa Fry Bar likely experienced an increase in public interest and sales, given the so-called “Shark Tank effect,” which often leads to a surge in popularity for businesses featured on the show.

With the investment and partnership with Herjavec, Buena Papa may have expanded its operations, opened new locations, and invested in marketing to attract a broader customer base.

Additionally, they could have leveraged Herjavec’s expertise to streamline their franchise operations and improve their overall business strategy. 

However, the exact details of their growth and business progression are not provided without current information after their Shark Tank appearance.

Buena Papa Fry Bar Shark Tank Update

After appearing on “Shark Tank” Season 15, Episode 4, Buena Papa Fry Bar gained a deal with Robert Herjavec, who invested $400,000 for a 19% equity stake in the company. 

This partnership indicated confidence in the gourmet fry business model and its profitability, which showcased 72% margins during the episode.

Post-“Shark Tank,” Buena Papa Fry Bar experienced a significant increase in business. QSRMagazine.com said sales jumped by 40–50% following the episode’s initial airing. 

This surge in sales also came with many franchise inquiries, suggesting strong interest in the brand’s expansion.

Buena Papa Shark Tank Update | Buena Papa Net Worth

Despite the immediate boost and interest, the company is taking a cautious approach to growth. They plan to open one corporate location annually over the next five years. 

This strategy ensures controlled expansion without overextending the brand while capitalizing on its success from the “Shark Tank” exposure.

The brand has continued to expand beyond North Carolina, opening a new location in Miami, Florida, with menu items reflecting the local culture. 

Buena Papa Fry Bar is looking for franchisees primarily on the East Coast and the Midwest, suggesting that strategic funding from the “Shark Tank” appearance could accelerate this franchising process.

Buena Papa Fry Bar secured a Shark Tank deal, enjoyed a substantial increase in sales and interest in franchising, and is pursuing a systematic growth strategy to become a household name in the gourmet fry market.

Is Buena Papa Fry Bar Still In Business?

Yes, Buena Papa Fry Bar is still in business. They continue to run two locations in Raleigh and have opened a new one in Durham, North Carolina. They are also planning to launch another site in Miami.

What Is the Net Worth Of Buena Papa Fry Bar?

According to our research, the net worth of Buena Papa Fry Bar is estimated to be $1 million. The valuation of Buena Papa Fry Bar was $2.1 million after securing an investment from Robert Herjavec on Shark Tank.

Also, read about other businesses that appeared on Season 15, Episode 04 of Shark Tank: