The Cookie Kahuna: What Happened After Shark Tank

The Cookie Kahuna: What Happened After Shark Tank

The world of entrepreneurship is replete with tales of ambition, innovation, and the pursuit of dreams, where hopeful individuals pitch their business ideas to the formidable panel of investors on the hit TV show “Shark Tank”. Among these aspirants was the legendary Wally Amos, renowned as the founder of the iconic Famous Amos cookies. In his appearance on the show, Wally Amos sought a lifeline for his new venture, “The Cookie Kahuna”.

This venture marked not only a return to his roots but also an opportunity to revive the magic of his beloved cookies and rekindle his passion for baking. The episode was infused with anticipation and nostalgia as viewers and the Sharks themselves couldn’t help but reminisce about the cookie king who had once graced the world with his delectable treats.

As Wally Amos stepped into the Tank, the Sharks were greeted not only by his magnetic charisma but also by the aroma of freshly baked cookies – a tantalizing hint of what was to come [1]. Wally’s pitch was seasoned with enthusiasm as he shared his vision for The Cookie Kahuna and how he aimed to recapture the essence of his famed cookie empire. He regaled the Sharks with his story, detailing the rise and fall of Famous Amos, and the challenges that had led him to this new culinary endeavor.

Yet, as the pitch unfolded, so did the challenges that The Cookie Kahuna faced. Despite his enduring fame and the nostalgic value of his creations, Wally Amos grappled with financial hurdles that cast a shadow over his dreams. His decision to turn to the Sharks was driven by a determination to overcome these obstacles and reignite the cookie legacy that had once defined his career.

In this article, we delve into the post-Shark Tank journey of The Cookie Kahuna, exploring the highs and lows that followed that pivotal televised pitch. We investigate the fate of Wally Amos and his pursuit to resurrect the magic of his cookies.

What Is The Cookie Kahuna?

The Cookie Kahuna has an impressive background to boast. This brand, founded by the visionary founder of the renowned Famous Amos cookies, delivers delectable treats infused with the heartwarming spirit of Aloha, meticulously baked right into every cookie. These scrumptious creations are available in a variety of packaging options, from bags to boxes, and even in wholesale quantities.

What Is The Cookie Kahuna?

The flavor palette includes beloved classics like Original Chocolate Chip, the enticing Butterscotch Macadamia, and the indulgent Chocolate Chip Pecan [2]. These delectable delights are not confined to the islands of Hawaii alone; they grace the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores across the Hawaiian archipelago and are conveniently accessible online. 

A 6-ounce bag of these heavenly treats can be yours for just $ 5.99. Following the separation from his Famous Amos enterprise, Amos made a resolute decision to return to the original recipes and flavors that had left an indelible mark on people’s taste buds, preserving the nostalgic essence that has remained etched in their memories [3].

About Founders Of The Cookie Kahuna: Who Is Wally Amos?

Wally Amos stands as a captivating individual, earning the moniker “the Cookie King” from NBC affiliate KSNV-TV back in 2019. However, his beginnings were remarkably modest [4].

In his early days, Wally Amos toiled as a mailroom clerk at the William Morris Agency, a role that would eventually evolve into him becoming the agency’s inaugural African-American talent agent. An intriguing quirk of his talent agency days was his unconventional approach to attracting clients – he would send them delectable chocolate chip cookies.

What drove this unusual choice? Well, it all began when he witnessed his Aunt’s mastery in baking cookies, instilling in him a deep passion for the craft from an early age. Recognizing Wally’s knack for baking, a friend suggested that he embark on an entrepreneurial journey by setting up his cookie store.

Taking this sage advice to heart, Wally Amos embarked on his cookie venture, establishing the iconic Famous Amos store in Los Angeles. Armed with a $ 25,000 loan, Wally’s Famous Amos quickly transformed into a triumph, with Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies soon gracing supermarket shelves all across the United States.

The meteoric ascent of the company catapulted Wally Amos into the limelight, leading to invitations for speaking engagements and the publication of several books. However, misjudged business decisions eventually spelled financial woes for him. Ultimately, he was compelled to part with Famous Amos, a company that changed hands multiple times before ultimately falling under the stewardship of Kellogg’s.

For Wally, the challenge lay in the contractual clauses that not only divested him of any ownership stake in his brainchild but also prohibited him from using his name in any future commercial endeavors.

Undeterred, Wally Amos embarked on new business ventures. However, legal disputes with the owners of Famous Amos marred one of his endeavors. He also founded Uncle Wally’s Muffin in 1999, which enjoyed a measure of success but now belongs to Give & Go Prepared Food Corps [5].

Through it all, Wally’s love for cookies never wavered. Thus, he initiated the Cookie Kahuna, leveraging his expertise to craft a fresh cookie brand and recapture his former glory, all while indulging his enduring passion for cookies.

Famous Amos, or as he’s affectionately known, Wally Amos, remains an indelible part of cookie history. His inaugural cookie enterprise, Famous Amos, took root in 1975, drawing inspiration from a unique family recipe passed down by his aunt.

Despite the monumental success of his original cookie business, Wally’s unwise business decisions ultimately led to the sale of segments of his beloved venture. Consequently, Famous Amos passed through various hands before finding a home with the Kellogg brand. Regrettably, Wally now possesses no stake in the company that bears his name, nor any rights to employ his name or likeness in future commercial endeavors.

Fast forward twenty-five years and Wally’s ardor for baking and cookie sales remains undiminished. He has channeled his passion into The Cookie Kahuna, crafting cookies and delectable delights infused with the spirit of “Aloha”.

About Founders Of The Cookie Kahuna: Who Is Wally Amos?

Cookie Kahuna’s Story Before Shark Tank

In the late 1970s, Wally embarked on his cookie journey with the launch of Famous Amos, and by the early 1980s, he had masterfully transformed it into an impressive $ 80 million cookie empire [6]. Regrettably, as the late 1980s approached, the company’s fortunes began to take a sharp downturn. Wally shoulders a significant portion of the blame for the company’s financial woes, acknowledging that some of the individuals he had hired to oversee the company had also made substantial errors in judgment. 

Confronting mounting financial challenges, Wally was compelled to seek outside investors to secure funds, eventually relinquishing control of the company. Between 1984 and 1987, Famous Amos changed hands four times, and with each transfer, Wally’s ownership stake diminished, relegating him to the role of a spokesperson. Tensions simmered between Wally and the new owners, a foreign banking conglomerate, ultimately culminating in Wally divesting his remaining interest in the company.

Under the stewardship of the new owners, the Famous Amos brand underwent significant alterations to the recipe, resulting in cookies that never quite matched Wally’s original creations. Following the loss of the brand he had meticulously cultivated, Wally sought refuge in Kailua, Hawaii, where he inaugurated a modest cookie shop by the name of Chip & Cookie, employing his cherished original recipes.

Yet, when he aspired to expand and rekindle his cookie empire, he confronted a formidable obstacle – he was legally precluded from using the Famous Amos name, ironically named after himself, due to his previous company’s continued ownership of the trademark.

Undaunted by this setback, Wally resuscitated his business under the brand title The Uncle Noname’s Cookie Company, which subsequently evolved into Uncle Noname’s Gourmet Muffins, eventually culminating in Uncle Wally’s Muffins [7].

Fast forward to October 7th, 2016, nearly four decades since his journey began, and Wally introduced his latest entrepreneurial incarnation, The Cookie Kahuna, to the esteemed panel of Shark Tank investors. Cookie Kahuna cookies faithfully harken back to his original Famous Amos recipe. These delectable treats come in three enticing flavors – Chocolate Chip (containing a generous 32% chocolate content), Chocolate Chip Pecan, and Butterscotch Macadamia.

Cookie Kahuna’s Story Before Shark Tank

The Cookie Kahuna boasts an array of flavors, including chocolate chip (with or without pecans) and butterscotch macadamia. These cookies faithfully adhere to the original family recipe that initiated the Famous Amos cookie tradition. It’s worth noting that Famous Amos no longer uses this time-honored recipe.

The Pitch Of The Cookie Kahuna At Shark Tank

As Wally Amos confidently strode into the Shark Tank room, he came bearing a proposition: $ 50,000 for a 20% stake in his company [8]. Given Wally’s illustrious history in the world of cookies and the fame he had accrued through his previous ventures, the Sharks were absolutely captivated by his presence. To further sweeten the deal, Wally serenaded them with a catchy tune titled “Cookies for Sharks” and treated them to a taste of his delectable creations. Alongside these delectable cookies, he shared the tale of his journey and the genesis of the Cookie Kahuna.

However, when Robert began delving into the nitty-gritty details of production costs and profit margins, Wally reached for a scrap of paper and commenced reading from his notes. This prompted a less-than-enthusiastic reaction from the Sharks, who expected Wally to rely on his memory.

Nonetheless, Wally proceeded to provide the Sharks with key financial insights. He revealed that he was earning a profit of $ 2.64 per cookie bag but confessed to a profit margin of less than 20%. Up to that point, he had amassed $ 36,215 in sales [9].

Robert expressed concern that Wally’s profit margin was not sustainable, particularly with the looming threat of shipping charges that could potentially bankrupt the venture.

Consequently, he opted out of the deal. Lori, on the other hand, believed that while Wally’s enthusiasm was admirable, it alone couldn’t sell cookies, leading her to also decline to invest.

Kevin voiced his reservations, disheartened by the fact that Wally had to rebuild his brand from scratch despite his renowned reputation, ultimately choosing not to invest.

Barbara echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the issue of Wally’s inability to use his own name due to copyright constraints as a significant drawback. Mark, while intrigued, faced a conflict of interest due to his existing involvement in a cookie business, regrettably declining the investment opportunity.

The Pitch Of The Cookie Kahuna At Shark Tank

The Cookie Kahuna After The Shark Tank

Despite the surge in publicity that followed his appearance on the show, The Cookie Kahuna faced a grim fate and eventually shuttered its doors. In 2017, Wally Amos turned to YouTube, where he candidly shared his financial struggles and revealed his initiation of a GoFundMe campaign to solicit support. In a heartfelt video, he disclosed his dire financial situation, citing the need for funds to cover essentials like rent, food, and gas [10].

Wally also extended an appeal for donations or the purchase of the books he had authored. Remarkably, even in the face of adversity, Wally maintained an optimistic outlook, expressing his belief that the future held promise, perhaps involving cookies once more.

Indeed, fate did intervene, bringing forth Aunt Della’s Cookies. Regrettably, this venture too succumbed to the challenges posed by a lack of funding and had to cease operations. As of now, it remains uncertain whether Wally Amos has any intentions or plans to venture into the realm of cookie companies once more in the future.

The Net Worth Of The Cookie Kahuna

During his pitch on Shark Tank, Wally Amos disclosed that he was selling each bag of Cookies to Costco for $ 7.89, while the production cost for the same bag amounted to $ 5.25. This yielded a profit of $ 2.62 per bag, but the profit margins fell short of 20% when considering production costs. The Sharks had expressed concerns that these margins were insufficient to sustain the business, especially given the potential financial strain posed by shipping costs.

In addition to Costco, Cookie Kahuna’s products were available both in Hawaii’s brick-and-mortar stores and online, priced at $ 5.99 per bag [11].

Prior to its appearance on Shark Tank, Cookie Kahuna had amassed $ 36,215 in sales. Following its Shark Tank exposure, the brand experienced a surge in popularity, with Wally Amos and Cookie Kahuna gaining increased recognition.

The Cookie Kahuna After The Shark Tank

However, despite the initial boost in visibility, Cookie Kahuna faced financial challenges that ultimately led to its closure. In 2017, Wally Amos resorted to creating a GoFundMe page to seek financial support to regain his financial footing.

At the time of its appearance on Shark Tank, Cookie Kahuna was valued at $ 250,000. As of 2023, the net worth of Cookie Kahuna remains unknown, as the company has ceased operations.

Alternatives To The Cookie Kahuna

If you’re looking for alternatives to The Cookie Kahuna, there are several other cookie companies and brands to explore.

Here are a few options:

  • Famous Amos: While Wally Amos is no longer associated with Famous Amos, the brand still produces a variety of classic cookies, including chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin;
  • Mrs. Fields: Mrs. Fields is known for its freshly baked cookies, and they offer a wide range of flavors and gift options;
  • Insomnia Cookies: Insomnia Cookies specializes in late-night cookie delivery. They have a diverse selection of cookies and even offer ice cream sandwiches;
  • Tate’s Bake Shop: Tate’s Bake Shop is renowned for its thin, crispy cookies with a homemade taste. They have a variety of flavors, including chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin;
  • Cheryl’s Cookies: Cheryl’s Cookies offers a variety of gourmet cookies, including frosted cut-out cookies, brownies, and cookie gift baskets;
  • Lenny & Larry’s: Lenny & Larry’s offers a range of protein-packed cookies that cater to health-conscious consumers;
  • Pepperidge Farm: Pepperidge Farm produces a wide array of cookies, including the iconic Milano and Chessmen cookies;
  • Keebler: Keebler is known for its classic cookie brands like Chips Deluxe and Fudge Stripes;
  • Great American Cookies: This cookie franchise offers freshly baked cookies in various flavors and even customizable cookie cakes;
  • Local Bakeries: Don’t forget to explore local bakeries in your area, as they often offer unique and delicious cookie options [12];

These alternatives provide a variety of flavors and options to satisfy your cookie cravings. Whether you prefer classic chocolate chip cookies, gourmet creations, or healthier alternatives, you’re likely to find a cookie brand that suits your taste preferences.


  1. What happened to the Famous Amos guy?

Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos cookies, faced financial difficulties and ultimately lost control of his Famous Amos cookie company. He had to sell the business, and the brand has since changed ownership multiple times.

  1. Why did Wally Amos lose his company?

Wally Amos lost control of his company, Famous Amos, due to financial challenges and misjudged business decisions. He had to bring in outside investors to raise money, which led to a dilution of his ownership stake. The company changed hands several times, and he eventually sold his remaining interest in the company.

  1. What makes Famous Amos cookies unique?

Famous Amos cookies are made with premium ingredients, including semi-sweet chocolate chips, crunchy nuts, and a blend of secret spices. The cookies are baked to perfection, resulting in a delightful combination of crispy edges and chewy centers. Famous Amos cookies are also known for their distinct aroma, which fills the air as soon as you open a bag.

  1. Are Famous Amos cookies suitable for people with dietary restrictions?

Famous Amos cookies contain wheat, milk, and soy ingredients, which may not be suitable for individuals with specific dietary restrictions or allergies. However, Famous Amos offers a variety of cookie options, including gluten-free and vegan alternatives, to cater to different dietary needs.

  1. Where can I buy Famous Amos cookies?

Famous Amos cookies are widely available and can be found in most grocery stores, convenience stores, and online retailers. They are also sold in Famous Amos cookie stores, which can be found in select locations around the world. Additionally, you can purchase Famous Amos cookies directly from their official website.

  1. What sets Cookie Kahuna cookies apart from other brands?

Cookie Kahuna prides itself on creating unique flavor combinations that are unlike anything you’ve tasted before. From their signature “Tropical Paradise” cookie with macadamia nuts and white chocolate to the “S’mores Delight” cookie with marshmallows and graham crackers, each cookie is crafted with care to deliver a one-of-a-kind taste sensation. Cookie Kahuna also offers gluten-free and vegan options to accommodate dietary restrictions.

  1. Can I find Cookie Kahuna cookies in stores?

Cookie Kahuna cookies are primarily sold online through their official website. They have a convenient online ordering system that allows you to have their delicious cookies delivered straight to your doorstep. However, they occasionally collaborate with local retailers and specialty stores to offer their cookies in select locations.

What makes Famous Amos cookies unique?

  1. Can I order custom or personalized cookies from Famous Amos or Cookie Kahuna?

Both Famous Amos and Cookie Kahuna offer customizable options for their cookies. Whether you want to add a personal touch to a gift or create a unique treat for a special event, you can inquire about custom orders through their respective websites or by contacting their customer service teams. Keep in mind that additional lead time and costs may apply for custom orders.

  1. Are Famous Amos and Cookie Kahuna cookies suitable for shipping as gifts?

Yes, both Famous Amos and Cookie Kahuna cookies are excellent choices for shipping as gifts. They are packaged in durable containers to ensure the cookies remain fresh and intact during transit. Both brands also offer gift packaging options, allowing you to add a personalized message or choose from a selection of themed gift boxes.

  1. What is the largest cookie brand in the world?

Oreo, owned by Mondelez International, is considered one of the largest and most recognized cookie brands globally.

  1. What is the most expensive cookie?

The most expensive cookies are often custom-made or gourmet cookies that can cost several dollars each. The price can vary widely depending on factors like ingredients and craftsmanship.

  1. Who is the real Famous Amos?

The real Famous Amos is Wally Amos, the entrepreneur who founded Famous Amos cookies in the 1970s.

  1. Which country is famous for cookies?

Various countries are known for their unique cookie traditions and specialties. Some well-known countries famous for cookies include the United States, France (known for macarons), Italy (known for biscotti), and the United Kingdom (known for biscuits).

  1. Which cookie is the most popular in the United States?

Chocolate chip cookies are among the most popular and beloved cookies in the United States.

  1. Do Famous Amos cookies still exist?

Yes, Famous Amos cookies are still available and sold in stores.

Who is the real Famous Amos?

  1. Why are Famous Amos cookies so good?

Famous Amos cookies are often praised for their rich, buttery flavor and the use of high-quality ingredients like chocolate chips and nuts. Their texture, which is slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, also contributes to their popularity.

  1. How old is Wally Amos?

Wally Amos was born on July 1, 1936, which would make him 87 years old based on the current date in 2023.

Useful Video: Famous Amos Returns With A New Cookie Company The Cookie Kahuna!