Founded by Carole Foster, the company introduced an innovative product that simplifies the process of making traditional gumbo. After securing a deal on the show, the company experienced significant growth and made over $ 500k in sales. Despite facing challenges like inventory shortages and a temporary website shutdown, the company managed to bounce back each time. Join us as we explore how Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick navigated its path after Shark Tank and where it stands today.
What Is Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick?
The result is a cherished Louisiana specialty, combining elements of both Cajun and Creole cuisine . Nevertheless, what truly defines gumbo is the practice of serving this flavorful stew alongside a medley of meats, vegetables, and seafood, all ladled over a bed of rice.
Creating a delicious gumbo is no small feat, demanding significant time, effort, and culinary finesse. This is especially the case when it comes to the essential roux, which is a fundamental component of modern gumbo recipes.
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick is packed with vegetables, seasoning, and the quintessential roux that forms the backbone of any gumbo dish. The frozen bricks make preparing gumbo an easy task, without compromising the flavors that have been nurtured over generations in Louisiana kitchens. The blend of spices and ingredients in the gumbo brick captures the essence of Southern cuisine, enveloping your taste buds in a rich, savory experience.
Whether you’re a novice cook or a seasoned chef, this product makes it simple to create a delicious meal that tastes like it’s been simmering on the stove all day;
- Authenticity and Flavor. First and foremost, Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick scores high on authenticity and flavor;
- Convenience. One of the major advantages of Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick is the convenience it offers. Traditional gumbo is a labor-intensive dish that requires hours of slow cooking. But with Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick, all you need to do is add water and your choice of meat to the frozen base and let it cook. This significantly cuts down on preparation time, allowing you to enjoy a warm bowl of gumbo with minimal effort;
- Versatility. Another pro of Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick is its versatility. You can add your favorite meats – from chicken and sausage to seafood – to customize the gumbo to your liking. This allows for endless variations, catering to different taste preferences and dietary restrictions;
- Cost. One of them is the cost. The price point may be a bit steep for some, especially considering you still need to purchase additional ingredients like meat;
- Availability. The availability of the product can also be an issue. Although it’s up for sale, it may not be readily available in all locations. Therefore, potential customers might have to pay additional shipping fees or wait for restocks ;
Who May Benefit From Using:
- Busy Individuals: Those with packed schedules who don’t have time to prepare meals from scratch will appreciate the convenience that Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick offers. It significantly reduces cooking time while delivering a flavorful, hearty dish;
- Novice Cooks: For those who are new to cooking or unfamiliar with preparing traditional gumbo, the Gumbo Brick provides an easy way to create this Southern classic without needing advanced culinary skills;
- Gumbo Lovers: Anyone who loves gumbo but doesn’t live in an area where it’s readily available will enjoy being able to prepare it at home;
- Culinary Adventurers: Those who enjoy trying new recipes and exploring different cuisines will appreciate the authentic flavors packed into each Gumbo Brick;
- Hosts and Party Planners: If you’re hosting a gathering and want to serve something unique and delicious, Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Brick is a great option. It serves multiple people and is sure to impress your guests with its rich, savory taste ;
Remember, while the Gumbo Brick is very versatile, it might not be suitable for those with dietary restrictions related to the ingredients used in the product. Always check the ingredient list to ensure it aligns with your dietary needs.
About Founders Of Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick
These gumbo bases are ingeniously packaged in brick form, containing all the essential vegetables, spices, and seasonings to kickstart the perfect gumbo experience every time. The brilliance lies in the simplicity of it – just add your choice of shrimp, crab, chicken, or sausage to the gumbo base and craft your ultimate, personalized Gumbo. For anyone who has ventured into the intricate process of making this traditional dish from scratch, the time-saving and consistency assurance that Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Bricks offer cannot be overstated. In a mere 90 minutes or less, you can savor a flawless gumbo, every single time.
Carol Foster’s journey with Me-Ma’s Gumbo Brick Business began in Los Angeles in 2009 when she initially embarked on this culinary adventure. Her venture commenced with a restaurant, and she managed to secure a presence in local Costco stores, effectively promoting her truly exceptional product. Although the restaurant’s fate didn’t unfold as planned, the demand for Gumbo Bricks continued its upward trajectory as more and more individuals discovered they could craft their very own gumbo creations with Foster’s assistance.
Sometimes what may initially appear as a setback, such as the restaurant’s closure, can unveil significant opportunities in disguise. This unforeseen turn forced Foster to reassess her path and contemplate the future of Gumbo Bricks.
With an expanding network of locations carrying Me-Ma Gumbo Bricks throughout the Los Angeles region and a consistent stream of new customers inquiring about her authentic gumbo roux, Carol has skillfully harnessed this into an extraordinary opportunity that will be showcased to an audience of over 7 million on the Shark Tank Show.
The Pitch Of Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick At Shark Tank
The segment featuring Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick began with their audition tape, in which Carol Foster introduced herself and her 12-year-old daughter . The video depicted them in a modest one-bedroom apartment with minimal furnishings. She shared that her gumbo recipe was passed down from her grandmother and revealed their humble beginnings in selling street food. It was during this journey that they realized the wider potential of their product.
Carol candidly expressed the sacrifices she had made for her company, with the video showing her sleeping on the couch while her daughter lay on the floor. She explained her struggle to meet the demand from a major grocery chain due to financial constraints.
The scene then transitioned back to the Shark Tank. Carol entered the stage, introduced herself and her business, and outlined her request to the Sharks: $ 200,000 in exchange for a 20% equity stake in her company. She emphasized the time and effort required to make quality gumbo and its scarcity in stores and restaurants.
Carol, who had experience as a long-haul truck driver, shared that she had tasted gumbo from all over the country during her travels. She mentioned receiving requests from friends to prepare gumbo for holidays, but each person wanted it customized differently. Given the labor-intensive nature of gumbo, she had devised a spicy gumbo base that customers could personalize according to their preferences.
On display were several gumbo base varieties, spanning chicken, seafood, and pork options. Carol invited the Sharks to sample the chicken and seafood gumbo she had prepared, and the enthusiasm was palpable, especially from Daymond. As the Sharks savored their portions, the tasting revealed a hint of jalapeños, garnering compliments from Lori and Daymond. Carol playfully inquired who among them was ready to become a “gumbo geek” like her.
Kevin inquired about the use of frozen okra in the gumbo, to which Carol confirmed. Kevin praised the gumbo and Carol amusingly likened him to the okra in her gumbo, describing it as slimy but adding character, body, and richness to the soup, which Kevin embraced as a compliment. Robert inquired about a black and white photo prominently displayed on the stage, which Carol explained was of her grandmother, the source of her recipe inspiration.
Questions about the gumbo base’s versatility and preparation process were raised, with Lori asking to see the packaging. Carol clarified that customers needed to add eight cups of water per brick and up to five pounds of their chosen meat.
She assured the Sharks that the cooking process took 45 minutes or less. In response to inquiries about her sales history, Carol revealed that she had been selling the gumbo bricks at church events and that they were also available at local Costco stores in her area. She shared an impressive sales figure of half a million dollars in the last two years, leaving Lori visibly impressed.
Carol explained her practice of setting up at one Costco location per week for taste tests. Robert commended her progress but wondered about her plans for expanding to other retailers. Carol clarified that she was primarily targeting box clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. She appreciated the prominent positioning of her product in a coffin freezer next to premium seafood, which, she felt, enhanced her brand’s appeal.
Mark praised her smart strategy and noted that it provided a platform for all the ingredients. Kevin acknowledged the uniqueness of her situation but questioned whether she was ready for an investment, citing her valuation of the company at one million dollars when he believed she hadn’t reached that stage yet.
Robert expressed his fondness for gumbo but raised concerns about the potential for shrinking profit margins as the business scaled up. He suggested that she might be better off seeking an industry partner with her funds and subsequently opted out. Lori took a moment to contemplate her decision. Kevin, showing a rare glimpse of compassion, asked Carol about her living situation, and where her daughter was, and learned about their challenging circumstances.
Moved by her story, Kevin offered to invest half of the money needed. The decision was now in Lori’s hands. She decided to join the deal but offered $ 200,000 for a 50% equity stake . They justified the substantial equity request by explaining their intention to invest the necessary effort to ensure the business’s success and recoup their investment.
Kevin recognized that the business might not currently be worth the valuation but saw Carol’s determination to work hard. Carol accepted the offer, and Lori warmly hugged her. Kevin encouraged her to be prepared for diligent work ahead, and the Sharks appeared proud of their decision. Daymond playfully congratulated Carol on finding a heart in the “Grinch”.
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick After The Shark Tank
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick achieved sales surpassing $ 500k before its appearance on “Shark Tank” . Following a successful negotiation with Lori Greiner and Kevin O’Leary, Carol Foster managed to secure placements for her product in numerous retail outlets, such as Safeway and Publix.
Nonetheless, it appears that Mee-Ma’s Gumbo has discreetly altered its course. The Instagram account, last updated in 2017, has remained dormant, and the website domain has lapsed. It is worth noting, however, that Mee-Ma’s Facebook page remained active until earlier this year. In April 2022, the company made a reassuring post, declaring, “We’re still here, but actively developing new marketing strategies!”
In response to this announcement, several individuals inquired about the availability of Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Bricks. One individual expressed their love for the product but lamented their inability to locate it, while another proclaimed Mee-Ma’s as their exclusive gumbo brick preference . Many were keen to ascertain whether the bricks would once again be accessible for online purchase, facilitating delivery to regions where Mee-Ma’s Gumbo isn’t accessible through physical stores.
Come June, the company shared information about novel offerings, among which was a hot water cornbread batter, and provided a concise status update. According to one commentary, Mee-Ma’s had enlisted the services of a brokerage firm to enhance their distribution on a broader and more consistent scale. The hope is that these beloved gumbo bricks will soon return to the market for eager customers.
Despite Kevin O’Leary’s reputation for being driven by profit, it’s evident that Foster’s narrative touched his heart. Her unwavering commitment to her business and her determination to provide for her young daughter stirred the typically skeptical Shark, prompting him to extend an offer for a product he genuinely believed in. Regrettably, the deal never reached fruition.
The journey to success commenced modestly, but Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick has established a strong presence in the market. The product has become a mainstay at retail giants like Costco, Safeway, Publix, and various other outlets, and it’s also readily available for purchase online.
Later in 2021, she made a comeback with a revamped website, and for a period, her products were featured in Albertson’s stores across southern California. Mee-Ma’s Gumbo Bricks were once again accessible on the company’s website. Regrettably, in September 2022, the website experienced another downtime.
However, as of 2023, Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick is still in operation, offering their popular Gumbo Bricks to interested customers . You can conveniently purchase these gumbo bricks from their official website, available in two delectable flavors: seafood and chicken, each priced at $ 65.95.
Additionally, they have introduced a “Two Plus Two” package that consists of two seafood gumbo bricks and two chicken gumbo bricks for those who seek variety.
It’s important to note that, for now, they have limited shipping availability to specific states, which include California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. However, the company appears to be actively working on expanding its reach to encompass the entire United States and even Canada.
To stay up-to-date with their latest developments and announcements, you can follow Mee Ma’s Gumbo Brick on social media. They maintain an official Facebook page where you can find customer reviews, and they currently hold an impressive 4.2-star rating based on 22 reviews. Moreover, they have an Instagram account where you can visually savor their gumbo creations and stay informed about their culinary endeavors.
The Net Worth Of Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick
The founder of Mee-Ma’s Gumbo, Carole Foster, also has a personal net worth of around $ 1 million. It’s important to note that these values are estimates and the actual figures may vary.
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick has reportedly generated a considerable amount in sales over its lifetime, contributing to its current net worth. The company continues to sell its products online and in select locations.
Alternatives To Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick:
- Pre-made Gumbo Mixes: Several brands offer pre-made gumbo mixes. These usually require you to add your protein, but they provide a base of vegetables and spices that can save time in the kitchen;
- Frozen Gumbo: Some grocery stores carry frozen gumbo that can be heated and served. This option offers convenience, though the flavor and quality may vary by brand;
- Local Cajun/Creole Restaurants: If you live near a restaurant that specializes in Cajun or Creole cuisine, you might be able to order their gumbo to go. This could be a more expensive option, but it would likely offer a more authentic taste than pre-made or frozen alternatives;
- DIY Gumbo: For those who enjoy cooking, consider making your gumbo from scratch. There are countless recipes available online, and this option allows you to control every aspect of the dish, from the ingredients to the spice level;
Remember, always check the ingredient list of any pre-made or frozen products to ensure they align with your dietary needs.
1. What is a gumbo brick?
A gumbo brick is a pre-made base for creating gumbo, a popular dish from Louisiana. It typically contains a mix of roux, vegetables, and spices. You just need to add your choice of protein and additional ingredients to complete the dish.
2. How do you use a gumbo brick?
To use a gumbo brick, you simply thaw it, add it to a pot with your chosen protein (like chicken, sausage, or seafood) and simmer until ready. You can also add additional vegetables if desired.
3. Are gumbo bricks gluten-free?
This can vary by brand. Some gumbo bricks, like Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick, are gluten-free. Always check the product label to be sure.
4. Where can you buy Gumbo Bricks?
Gumbo bricks can often be found in the frozen foods section of grocery stores, particularly those that carry Southern or Cajun products. They can also be purchased online from various retailers.
5. Can you freeze a Gumbo Brick?
Yes, most gumbo bricks are sold frozen and can be kept in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
6. What is the shelf life of a gumbo brick?
While this can vary by brand, most gumbo bricks can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
7. Can you make a vegetarian gumbo with a gumbo brick?
Yes, you can make a vegetarian gumbo by adding vegetable broth and your choice of vegetables to the gumbo brick instead of meat.
8. Are Gumbo Bricks available for international shipping?
This will depend on the specific retailer. Please check with the seller or manufacturer for details on international shipping options.
9. Who are the creators of Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick?
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick was created by Carol Estey and her son, Dave, who wanted to share their family recipe with the world. The recipe originated from their grandmother, also known as “Mee-Ma”.
10. Where can you buy Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick?
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick can be purchased online through their official website. It may also be available in select grocery stores.
11. How do you prepare a meal using Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick?
To prepare a meal with Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick, you simply thaw the brick, add it to a pot with your choice of protein and vegetables, and simmer until it’s ready. Detailed instructions can be found on the packaging.
12. How long can you store Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick?
Mee-Ma’s Louisiana Gumbo Brick can be stored in your freezer for up to 6 months.
13. Have the Shark Tank investors ever lost money?
Yes, the Shark Tank investors have lost money on several occasions. Some notable failures include Breathometer and Toygaroo, where significant amounts were lost.
14. Who is the richest “shark” investor?
The richest “shark” investor is typically considered to be Mark Cuban, who is a billionaire and owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.
15. Who is the least successful “shark”?
Determining the “least successful” shark can be subjective and depends on various factors like the number of deals made, total investment amount, and return on investments. However, Mark Cuban has openly stated that he hasn’t profited from his Shark Tank investments.
16. Do Shark Tank entrepreneurs get paid?
Entrepreneurs do not receive payment for appearing on Shark Tank. Any money they receive comes from the investments they secure from the sharks.
17. What was the worst Shark Tank investment?
One of the worst investments in Shark Tank history was Breathometer. Mark Cuban invested $ 1 million in this start-up, but it ended up failing.
18. Which shark has made the most money from the show?
It’s not publicly disclosed which shark has made the most money from the show. Success can vary greatly depending on the individual deals each shark makes.
19. Has anyone from Shark Tank made it big?
Yes, several entrepreneurs who pitched their businesses on Shark Tank have gone on to achieve significant success. Despite some failures, there are also instances where rejected companies have made millions.
20. What is the most famous thing from Shark Tank?
Many popular products have come out of Shark Tank. One of the most famous might be Scrub Daddy, a versatile household cleaning tool, which has achieved over $ 200 million in sales since appearing on the show.
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