Best of Shark Tank

Chi’Lantro BBQ – Korean Mexican Food Truck Update

SEASON 8 EPISODE 8

PITCH

Korean and Mexican fusion inspired food.

ENTREPRENEUR

Jae Kim

ASKED FOR

$600,000 for 15%

GOT

$600,000 for 20%

SHARK

Barbara

STATUS

IN BUSINESS

Chi’Lantro BBQ is a restaurant and food-truck experience serving up an infusion of Korean BBQ and Mexican flavors with their original menu that includes kimchi fries, Korean fried chicken wings, tacos and Mexican style rice bowls infused with Asian flavors.

An aspiring food entrepreneur from the start, Jae started his first venture in the food business at the age of 21. He owned and operated a California-based coffee shop for 3 years after graduating from California State University. Jae eventually relocated to Austin, Texas – a city known for its cultural diversity and reputation as one of America’s top destinations for foodies.

Jae had long dreamed of starting his very own food truck business and in 2011 began working to make that dream a reality. Within the year, Chi’Lantro BBQ expanded into neighboring foodie town, Houston Texas, with a food truck serving their signature kimchee fries, tacos and burritos. Chi’Lantro’s Korean-Mexican flavors were making headlines everywhere with features on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. In 2015, Chi’Lantro BBQ opened its first brick and mortar restaurant in Austin and from there continued to expand throughout Austin.

Chi’Lantro BBQ on Shark Tank

By 2016, Jae had decided it was time to take Chi’Lantro to Shark Tank. He applied for Shark Tank not once, but twice without any success. Despite the set back, Jae remained persistent and on his 3rd attempt, he earned a spot in front of the Sharks.

Jae appeared on Season 8 Episode 8 of Shark Tank which aired in November of 2016. After receiving rave reviews for his kimchi fries, Jae left the Shark Tank with a deal from Barbara Corcoran, accepting $600,000 for 20% of his company.

Chi’Lantro BBQ After Shark Tank – Where Are They Now?

With over $5.5 million in estimated annual revenue, Chi’Lantro BBQ has been well on its way to building the Chi’Lantro empire envisioned by its founder. The company has grown into an impressive fleet of food trucks and 8 brick-and-mortar locations serving the Austin, Texas area.

Jae eventually walked away from the deal with Barbara Corcoran as his heart wasn’t in it, but credits the show with helping him better understand the restaurant business much better.

At the moment some of Chi’Lantro’s locations have temporarily closed but many of its other locations remain open and ready for delivery to Austin area residents.

If you plan on trying them out, make sure you bring your debit or credit card as the company no longer accepts cash. Also accepted are Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

In an interview with QSR Magazine, Jae revealed his plan to launch a franchise program to take Chi’Lantro BBQ nationwide.

For now, those plans may have to wait but with its growing fanbase of foodies and influencers, Chi’Lantro is well-positioned to become the next big fast food craze.

Visit the Chi’Lantro BBQ website

3 thoughts on “Chi’Lantro BBQ – Korean Mexican Food Truck Update”

  1. Not accepting cash seems myopic. Having suffered through a bad case of ID theft, I use cash wherever possible. Of course, Chi’Lantro has every right to decline payment methods, just as I have therefore every right not to frequent their establishment.

    Reply

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