The Pizza Cupcake After Shark Tank: We Caught Up With The Founders

We'd be surprised if you haven't seen The Pizza Cupcake either on social media or in the frozen section of your own grocery store. Though it's now a fairly well-known snack item, The Pizza Cupcake actually appeared on a season 12 episode of "Shark Tank" that premiered in 2021. The husband and wife duo of Andrea Meggiato and Michelle Jimenez pitched their brand to the sharks, and if you're a longtime "Shark Tank" fan, you'll be able to tell pretty quickly that these businesspeople know their stuff.

The actual product, the pizza cupcake, is a bite-sized snack in the shape and size of a cupcake (hence the name), but the dough is a sourdough-brioche hybrid that melts in your mouth, and the fillings are classic pizza heaven with options like pepperoni and Margherita. Meggiato and Jimenez were able to seal an exciting deal with shark Lori Greiner, and since then the company has been cooking up some amazing new things in the kitchen, both literally and metaphorically. We spoke to Jimenez about her experience on "Shark Tank" and what The Pizza Cupcake has accomplished since the episode aired.

Jimenez had always wanted to be on Shark Tank

As we mentioned before, seasoned "Shark Tank" pros will recognize that The Pizza Cupcake, Jimenez specifically, was extremely prepared to be on the show — and not just because she knew all the ins and outs of her company, as any good entrepreneur would. "I've always been a student of "Shark Tank,"' Jimenez said. "And it was always my dream for us to go on the show." This really shone through in the episode when Jimenez's studying paid off, and her knowledge of not only her business but of past similar "Shark Tank" deals Lori has made showed how Jimenez knew The Pizza Cupcake's worth and was able to provide examples of it.

"I felt like a lot of emerging brands and new food concepts were really going on to 'Shark Tank' and pitching their concepts to the Sharks," Jimenez added. "We also needed funding, so I thought, 'Oh this could be a really great opportunity for us to get in front of them and to also get exposure, and to see if we could really prove out the concept.'" But the business model that you saw Meggiato and Jimenez pitch wasn't actually the one the company had been using since they came up with the concept in 2018.

The company had to pivot its business model due to COVID-19

Like most other businesses in the food and beverage industry, The Pizza Cupcake was operating very differently prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand was working with major companies like the New York Mets, and the pizza cupcakes were available for fans at Citi Field to snack on while watching the game. The Pizza Cupcake was also making waves in the biggest weekly open-air food market in America, Smorgasburg, in Brooklyn, New York. But those in-person events quickly got canceled, and the duo had to pivot their business model strategy in order to keep their pizza dreams going.

As far as appearing on "Shark Tank" when The Pizza Cupcake did, Jimenez said, "Hindsight 20-20, they always say, it was the right time for us, and I think it all worked out because, you know, all of our distribution channels went to zero. Everything shut down as a result of COVID, and then we aired in February of 2021." The new business model is focused on frozen foods. The brand is still making those same hand-crafted pizza cupcakes, but instead of having to try them at a market or during corporate catering, you can now order them directly from the brand's website. And if you prefer to do your shopping in person, many major grocery stores across the country now sell The Pizza Cupcake in the frozen snacks aisle.

Jimenez felt super prepared but still nervous to pitch to the Sharks

Jimenez was clearly prepared to pitch her and her husband's "first baby" to the sharks. But no matter how ready you are, you probably can't anticipate exactly what it's going to be like up there in front of the sharks, sharing your passion with them and hoping they see something in you and the business. "For me it was truly one of the most challenging and nerve-racking experiences I've ever had, to be honest," Jimenez shared. "It's also super exciting and exhilarating at the same time. I mean, it's just really hard to explain all the emotions that you're feeling happen."

For aspiring entrepreneurs and people looking to make their own pitch in front of the sharks one day, Jimenez got some top-tier advice from one of the producers. The tip is simple yet effective, and it's to focus on your breath and breathe deeply. The producer said to Jimenez and Meggiato, "You have nothing to be nervous about. You're talking about your business that you know in and out," Jimenez recalled. The breathing tip is to inhale for three seconds, and then as you exhale, roll your shoulders back three times — then repeat three times. The breathing tip helped, and with that boost of confidence, Jimenez said to us, "I knew that we were gonna get a deal. I just felt it."

All about The Pizza Cupcake mascot

Another thing that made The Pizza Cupcake stand out from the crowd was the large mascot in the room with everyone. Shaped like, you guessed it, a pizza cupcake, the mascot (endearingly named PC), danced around with Jimenez and Meggiato at the beginning of their pitch, getting the sharks excited to see what they had to bring to the table. But PC wasn't just a character created for "Shark Tank" — it's now a staple friend you'll often see at Pizza Cupcake events and on the brand's social media pages.

"It's part of our logo, and we've always wanted to bring the mascot to life," Jimenez said. "When we were thinking about our pitch and what our segment would look like, we also wanted to be entertaining, relatable, and we felt like, 'Why not?' Having a real-life pizza cupcake mascot could be really fun." Jimenez also described PC as a great ice-breaker, and we can't help but agree.

Lori Greiner was their dream Shark

Dreams do come true in the Shark Tank. Not only was The Pizza Cupcake able to negotiate successfully with the sharks and meet them in the middle, but Jimenez was able to secure her "dream shark" for the company in Lori Greiner. Greiner was the duo's dream Shark for a lot of reasons. "I think at the time of when we pitched we really needed the capital to help grow the business," Jimenez said. "We had all of our cards laid out, and I think that's what Lori saw and she saw how we worked really hard and were able to pivot."

Greiner has praised The Pizza Cupcake a lot since striking up the deal with the brand, even giving The Pizza Cupcake its flowers on "Ellen" when she appeared as a guest on the talk show. She was Jimenez's dream shark because, "I think because of her track record of, you know, other businesses that she worked with, particularly in food and beverage she had other companies in her portfolio, and we saw the success and relationships that she had — and also getting them retail distribution." Aside from being one of the best in the business, period, Jimenez also appreciates how Greiner supports female entrepreneurs. "It was really important for us to have someone like her on our team and how she does support women entrepreneurs, as well as male entrepreneurs."

The brand expanded a lot from working with Lori

With Greiner now an investor and member of The Pizza Cupcake, the brand could only get even more successful. Going into "Shark Tank," it was the pair's dream and goal to get their product into the frozen section of grocery stores, hopefully nationwide, and have even more people enjoy the delicious pizza snack. Since the episode aired, The Pizza Cupcake is now in a large number of grocery stores (nationwide!), including Wegman's, ShopRite, Walmart, Giant, Woodmans, and Foxtrot.

Aside from entering and expanding in the retail space, The Pizza Cupcake did a collaboration with Chrissy Teigen. Teigen had her very own pizza cupcake flavor called "Chrissy's Margherita" which was spicier than your average pizza cupcake. The brand has been featured on shows like "The Drew Barrymore Show," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," got a great review (you know the rules) from Dave Portnoy, and just keeps growing and growing — but more on that later.

Jimenez has top tips for cooking your Pizza Cupcakes

So, you've ordered them online and had them shipped to your doorstep, or you've gone in person and got your hands on some pizza cupcakes. Now what? Jimenez gave us her insider tips and tricks for making the most of your pizza cupcakes, and what you do with them all depends on the type of pizza lover you are. You can make them in a traditional oven, a toaster oven, or (we love this) even an air fryer (those things just do everything, don't they?). If you want your crust more on the crunchy side, Jimenez recommends leaving the box in the freezer while your device preheats and then cooking the pizza cupcakes "straight from frozen," meaning you don't leave them out to thaw.

However, if you're like us and want that gooey, satisfying cheese pull and a crust that has some give to it, she recommends leaving the box out on the counter to thaw a bit while you're preheating your oven or oven-adjacent device. And if you're wondering more about what goes into pizza cupcakes, Jimenez has the answers, "All of our flour is imported from Italy. We use no artificial preservatives, so it's absolutely all clean ingredients. We also use real mozzarella cheese that we do source locally here in the U.S." And the tomato sauce? "We include Italian tomatoes that we import from Italy." What a win from a family-run business making big moves in the industry.

The Pizza Cupcake is coming to new grocery stores soon

Luckily, if you're not sure where to get this popular product, you can use the store locator feature on The Pizza Cupcake's homepage to find them in a grocery store near you. Don't have a grocery store in your area where you can buy them? Not a problem. Jimenez told us that in the coming weeks, The Pizza Cupcake is going to be available in even more grocery stores nationwide, so if you're not seeing it at your favorite one yet, check back again in a few weeks.

From beginnings in Brooklyn to doing big things with Lori Greiner, Michelle Jimenez and Andrea Meggiato have taken their brand The Pizza Cupcake to the next level, and we can only wait to see what the company does next. Until then, we're going to snack on another pizza cupcake, thank you very much.