Project Pollo Appears On Season Finale of ‘Shark Tank’

Project Pollo on Shark Tank

Project Pollo, a vegan fast-food company, is on a quest to knock Chick-fil-A out of business by 2030, and it could soon receive a lift from a few “sharks.” Lucas Bradbury, the creator and CEO of Project Pollo, will be on ABC’s Shark Tank tonight for the season finale, where he will pitch his company to celebrity investors Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymon John, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, and Robert Herjavec.

Bradbury, a lifelong admirer of the show, attributes the CEO’s path to the ABC reality show to billionaire Mark Cuban, the show’s resident vegetarian. “It was a Sunday evening, and I received an email from [Cuban] saying, ‘I think Project Pollo should go [on] Shark Tank… He copied the casting director. I’ll never forget where I was, what I was doing, or what I was eating,” Bradbury said. Bradbury’s pitch day came on Project Pollo’s first anniversary, September 18, 2021. “I was shocked and super ecstatic to have the opportunity to be in a room of such talented people and get feedback,” said Bradbury. 

Before arriving on set, the founder only had one purpose for his time with the sharks: to behave in Project Pollo’s best interests. “We were very open and receptive to partnering [with a shark], but we also knew going onto the show that we wouldn’t undervalue the business. Sharks can be very beneficial […] but I knew we wouldn’t sell ourselves short,” he said. 

Project Pollo

Bradbury is an entrepreneur and long-time vegan who never imagined he’d be opening a plant-based chicken franchise in the middle of a global epidemic. Bradbury chose to leave another vegan eatery in Texas at the end of 2019 to focus on establishing a family. The COVID-19 outbreak put his plans off, and the entrepreneur dove back into the service business.

Bradbury came up with the concept for Project Pollo after noticing how many fast food restaurants were closing their doors forever. Bradbury chose vegan chicken to fill a void in the rapidly developing plant-based movement, which is dominated by firms producing beef substitutes. He also sought to establish a chain that would appeal to global palates because chicken is the most consumed meat worldwide by weight.

After being approached by a local brewery interested in creating a food concept in order to fulfill re-opening eligibility rules imposed during the COVID-19 outbreak, Bradbury put Project Pollo to the test for the first time. Bradbury bought a food truck on September 16, 2021, created a menu the next day, and launched for business on September 18.

Project Pollo Is Focused On The People

Bradbury seeks to influence people’s eating habits in the United States with Project Pollo, aiming to “move the needle of mass consumption” in favor of sustainable, plant-based alternatives. And he’s on track—by the end of 2025, Project Pollo will have 100 sites under its belt. Bradbury emphasizes the importance of accessibility.

After the entrepreneur challenged his family to eat plant-based food for the month of May 2020, they reported that while they enjoyed the health advantages, the lifestyle was unsustainable owing to a lack of inexpensive, readily available alternatives. This only served to emphasize the need of economical alternatives at Bradbury’s then-new fast-food concept.

Project Pollo has earned a reputation for putting people before profits. The Kansas native, who grew up seeing his mother work three jobs to make ends meet, is proud of Project Pollo for never turning away hungry visitors merely because they can’t afford to pay. The vegan restaurant operates on a pay-what-you-can premise, paying staff $15 per hour (far over the local minimum wage), providing benefits, and launching projects that deliver free meals to local communities on a regular basis.

Outside of Shark Tank

Bradbury is concentrating on Project Pollo’s expansion across Texas, as well as Phoenix, Arizona, Miami, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Project Pollo will open in Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada later this summer. Locals in Miami can get a taste of it as early as the end of the year.

Aside from Project Pollo’s quick development, Bradbury is teaming up with Beyond Meat for a free burger giveaway at all Project Pollo stores the week of May 29. In November, the restaurant will team up with TiNDLE, a vegan chicken brand, to offer complimentary food in recognition of World Vegan Month.


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