Avocado madness shows no signs of slowing down

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Credit: Photo by Alex Tepper

Restaurants are notoriously risky investments—especially small, independent restaurants still looking to gain their footing. But on this week’s episode of Shark Tank, a restauranteur was able to convince two “sharks” that he had a can’t-fail concept: an all-avocado restaurant.

Avocado obsessives and other foodie types have almost certainly heard of Avocaderia. When the avocado-focused eatery launched in Brooklyn last year, billing itself as “the world’ first avocado bar,” news of the opening landed on pretty much every food site on the avocado-loving internet. But on Sunday night, the Avocaderia had an even larger coming out party when co-owner Alessandro Biggi pitched his establishment in front of a more mainstream audience on ABC’s Shark Tank—the show where entrepreneurs have to convince investors to dump money into their ideas on national television.

Avocaderia has been planning to expand since shortly after its initial opening, but a national takeover takes money (and publicity), so Shark Tank was apparently the perfect platform to raise awareness of the brand while hopefully landing some dough at the same time. Biggi set out with the hope of scoring $300,000 in return for a 10 percent stake in the business, with plans to use that investment to open locations as far flung as Texas and California—hopefully 20 outposts in the next five years. Apparently, plenty of interest already exists as Biggi revealed that he has received 50 requests for franchising opportunities.

The food went over extremely well, and in the end, two well-known sharks decided to bite: tech bro-turned-basketball hotshot Mark Cuban and self-made real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. Together, they put up $400,000 for a 20-percent stake in the business—not a bad sounding investment if Avocaderia does end up taking the world by storm.

However, sometimes you have to be as astute not to invest as you do to throw your money around, and one of the sharks who chose to abstain from this avocado meal had a good observation: “The entire menu is avocado-based, so the moment I get a little avocado fatigued,” said guest shark Rohan Oza—who, mind you, has a lot of experience in the food and beverage world having worked at huge names like Mars and Coca-Cola. “I'm out,” she decided.

Yes, avocados are having a terrific run, but they’re still a long way from burger-and-fries territory. Meanwhile, it’s not like the Avocaderia has exclusive rights to making an all-avocado restaurant. In fact, quite the opposite: Other all-avocado restaurants have been popping up around the world, including last week in Avocaderia’s own backyard of New York City. So let the avocado restaurant battles begin. Hell, that could probably be a TV show all its own.