The Yard Milkshake Bar found success, and a bit of controversy, during its time on Shark Tank.
Now the maker of specialty milkshakes has found a way to continue expanding despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Alabama-based eatery has ridden the wave of momentum from the successful appearance and the viral buzz generated to some continued expansion, with a series of new locations opening with another planned for this summer. The expansion comes at a time when many similar outfits have closed or found slow growth due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
The Yard originally appeared on Shark Tank in November of 2019, but was revisited in an August episode. While viewers got the chance to see the company’s $400,000 investment from billionaire Mark Cuban, they have missed out on the expansion that’s followed.
As the eatery noted on its website, there have been three new openings in recent months, including a store in Atlanta; one in Georgetown, Texas; and a soon-to-be opened location in Flowood, Mississippi. The new locations have come with quite a bit of fanfare, including a write-up in Hello Georgetown with the opening of the Texas store and some regular updates on its progress.
The growth has come despite some pushback from the Shark Tank appearance. While the milkshakes have gotten some glowing reviews for the high-quality ingredients and rich taste, some critics have noted that it goes against Cuban’s health-conscious tilt on the program.
In the past, the Dallas Mavericks owner has turned down making investments into food makers that have less-than-healthy products, but he decided to dump close to half a million dollars into The Yard in exchange for a 22 percent stake in the all future locations beyond the first four that the husband-and-wife team of Logan and Chelsea Green had opened.
As Meaww reported in its recap, he faced some blowback online for his big investment, with many noting that the product had a very high sugar content.
“In a time, when healthy living and clean eating is being made priority and food startups are striving hard to promote good eating, fresh ingredients, it is kind of disheartening to see people like Cuban investing in food business that are considered unhealthy, not only by health experts but also by himself,” the report noted. “This contrasting behavior as well as the choice of investment is making fans outraged.”
But customers have apparently not shared the concern, with The Yard seeing steady growth since its first appearance on the ABC reality series and apparently more new locations to come.