Hey reddit. Long time lurker, first time poster. I "won" Shark Tank a few years back by impressing the judges with my unique brand of gourmet pies. Here's me on Shark Tank. (Love that the top comment is “f*** you” in reply to some other youtuber. Only on youtube could a video about pies spark racial and religious discord.)

Years before Shark Tank I started Mr. Tod's Pie Factory with a simple vision, or maybe assumption is the better word for it. The assumption is that there are people out there, like me, who want top quality, southern-grandma-level pies and know in their darkest heart that they just can’t get it anywhere. The pies on the shelf, even the ones at the restaurant, just don’t cut it – a pie aficionado knows immediately that there is something incorrect. Something that just can’t be learned from a cook book or Food Network chef. And while I know that not everybody can tell the difference, there are people out there who can, and they need me. I am one of the only ones left who possesses the true old school pie wisdom of our elders. I am the pie man they deserve.

On that assumption, I've grown Mr. Tod’s into a highly recognized and successful gourmet brand in the North Eastern U.S.. I'm here to answer any questions you might have about the trials and tribulations of starting your own business, the perils and payoffs of becoming a restaurateur, and the pandemonium of trying to make it all happen in the competitive world of gourmet desserts. I've definitely had my share of nights sleeping in my car while on this journey. So ask me anything (except for the secret recipe for the greatest sweet potato pie in the universe – that one goes to my grave and will be lost to humanity forever).

I'd also like to drop in a shameless plug if I may. I'm in a contest to win a Super Bowl ad spot - any votes would be greatly appreciated! Also suggestions for what to do should I win. https://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/nj/Mr-Tods-Pie-Factory/373645

Proof: https://twitter.com/MrTodsPies

Comments: 150 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

MattGriff23 karma

I love Shark Tank and have bought some cool stuff from the show, definitely planning on trying Mr. Tod's now.

Anyways, my question is how involved is the shark that invested in you after all these years? Does he leave you to do everything or want input? Thanks for doing an AMA

Mr_Tod18 karma

Hey Matt! I still maintain great relationships with Barb and Damon...not to mention everyone at MB and Sony...a GREAT experience!!

kilroyishere8911 karma

Still got the mascot? I remember O' Leary saying he'd ditch the mascot.

Mr_Tod14 karma

Pieman is alive and well...eating lots of pie!!

xsupersquirrel7 karma

Such an inspiring story, keep up the good work! Just voted for you. Will vote again tomorrow.

Mr_Tod7 karma

much appreciated! thx for the vote!

bencordoza7 karma

Do the panelists talk to you before the show, if so about what?

Mr_Tod12 karma

Ran into O'Leary in the can during a break....he snarled at me and didn't even speak!!

SleepingWithRyans5 karma

Was this before or after making your deal? Classic Kevin.

Mr_Tod31 karma

after...remember he was the first to tell me "no"....funny thing you didnt see was after I asked for a minute to think about it..I walked back on the set and he was eating my pie...so I said with the cameras off "thats funny youre eating my pies but you dont want to invest" - I think that pissed him off!! lol

nonnativetexan2 karma

Good to hear that he practices proper men's bathroom etiquette.

Mr_Tod2 karma


Emily_Says7 karma

Ugh why didn't you name it "Mr. Tod's Wild Pies!"


Mr_Tod3 karma

LOL...in my next life

eiketsujinketsu6 karma

I just wanted to say I live close by your shop in Somerset, NJ, and your pies are fantastic!

Mr_Tod3 karma

Great to hear! Which one is your favorite?

eiketsujinketsu4 karma

That's a difficult decision! I'll have to go with the Chocolate Pecan pie, but the Buttermilk Coconut Pie is a close second.

Mr_Tod9 karma

CP is my fav!

freakyfun10 karma


Mr_Tod13 karma

seat? Oh CP I get it. 4chan humor at its finest

Fulline5 karma

Hi Mr. Tod! My wife can't have dairy and she wants to know if you will ever have dairy-free options. She says, "Please, please, please sell something for me too!" On a side note, you got our vote.

Mr_Tod9 karma

most def..just need more time in the lab...made some pecan pie sans butter yesterday by mistake...didnt taste bad...

Fulline3 karma

awesome! meanwhile my son and i will need to visit your store and try out your pies. hope to meet you one day.

Bernie L.

Mr_Tod7 karma

me too Bernie - thx!

John_Arch5 karma

you think the aftermath of Amy's Baking scandal has kept more people from asking questions?

Mr_Tod9 karma

You reddit trollz just need to stop. :D

selectpanic5 karma

As a big fan of baking and of small businesses, you can expect to start getting regular orders from Denver!

Good luck on the Super Bowl ad!

Mr_Tod6 karma

thanks...How bout that Peyton Manning!

cbartlett5 karma

I noticed your muffins have icing. Doesn't that make them cupcakes?

Mr_Tod4 karma

makes them DELISHHH....LOL... only our carrot and red velvet have icing...but def more moist than cupcakes

ferveo3 karma

Wait a minute... I was just skimming over this AMA, because I am too health conscious to be eating pies.. But then, YOU MAKE RED VELVET?? Shit man, why didn't you say so! Where can I order it??

Mr_Tod2 karma

try back in a couple weeks...they are UNREAL!

MrSheeple3 karma

We need answers here!

Mr_Tod2 karma

you question is our command

FantasticFranco3 karma

So did you end up making a deal with McDonald's for the long run?

Mr_Tod3 karma

not yet...still swinging though

miskurious3 karma

I just watched your segment, Mr. Tod. Congratulations on your success! I have always wondered if the entrepreneurs come in with low-ball offers on purpose? From 10% to 50% is a huge difference. Did you have an actual figure in mind?

Mr_Tod5 karma

nah thats what I really felt comfortable offering...but as seasoned business people they hit you real hard - if you want their cash, or anyones for that matter - youve gotta make the call - in this case while the cameras are on you!

miskurious2 karma

Thanks for your reply! Looks like you made a good call. Now when are you going to expand to Canada?

Mr_Tod1 karma


SkylarShankman3 karma

How long do you actualy spend out there answering the Sharks questions etc... I know they edit each persons segment down to maybe five minutes or so, but I was curious how much time they actually spend grilling you and having you present your product. Also, Congrats on getting an investment!

Mr_Tod10 karma

great question....i was definitely in the tank for at least an hour...its customary to ask for a minute to make a decision...but during taping I was actually the first person to say "let me think about it for a minute" then the producer was like CUT!! now its a part of the show...

SkylarShankman2 karma

Awesome, I'm always curious about what they cut and what they keep. Thanks for the response!

Mr_Tod2 karma

its intense!

purpleisfun3 karma

does the experience on shark tank feel like your on a tv show or like your making a deal with the sharks or both

Mr_Tod7 karma

both - the cameras are awesome and get u pumped!

zatyka3 karma

Hey Mister Tod. I work down the street from your shop on Easton Ave, and occasionally pop in. The last couple times I drove by, you were closed (including today). I sure hope it's just temporary.

Also, your pies are seriously awesome. Your mini-pies are great to bring to dinners and parties, and I seriously love your banana cream pie. I hope things are going well for you and the business.

Mr_Tod4 karma

Hey neighbor! yes had some work to do...should be another couple weeks...stop by Englewood in the meantime for some banana cream! Say hello the next time I see you on Easton...

homemade_mayo3 karma


I live so close. You are going to give me diabetes.

Mr_Tod6 karma

15 West Hudson...stop on in....FREE WIFI TOO!

AhmadA963 karma

Question: What would be your best piece of advice for a college student who has a plan of what they want to do but have no clue on how to do it?

For example, my friend has opened a website for a cologne store, a hat store, and even e-cigarettes. He's tried many things but he's not sure what the next step is.

What would you advise him to do? I'd LOVE to be able to surprise him with an answer from someone who was on his favorite show of all time. He's 20 and he's really dedicated to what he does.

Mr_Tod2 karma

tell him to trust his gut! i was the same age when I started baking pies...could have gone to law school, but followed my gut....

AhmadA962 karma

He is but he doesn't know what Step 2 is :(

For example, I'm a writer so I know all the steps to getting published. But he doesn't really know what he's supposed to do. If he has an invention idea, who does he tell? Does he patent it first? What does he do after he has an idea for a business or something like that? Thanks so much for the response.

Mr_Tod2 karma

a good atty or a trusted advisor is a great start - but there's an old saying that "there's nothing new under the sun, its who acts on it first that wins" being first to the market is critical...a simple google search would guide him as well...learn as you go...dont be afraid to make mistakes...theyll make you better as long as you learn from them...

AhmadA961 karma

Yeah he has definitely made mistakes. He didn't find success in his cologne store or his snapback wholesale, but he's definitely continuing with a bunch of ideas. He just doesn't know what to do when he finds an idea or he has a big plan for a new invention. Who is he supposed to tell?

I'll let him to know to talk to an advisor but is that really a step forward toward becoming a businessman? Are there certain clubs or websites that keep you involved? He's in tons of clubs at Arizona State University but it still seems that he has a problem with "Okay, I have an idea. Now what?"

but for me as a writer, I know that when I edit my book, step 2 is give it to beta readers and step 3 is apply feedback and step 4 is find out what agents support my genre and step 5 is to send letters to agents and wait.

What am I supposed to tell my friend? What's Step 2 if you have an epic invention? What's Step 3 if you tell an advisor you have a certain idea in mind?

Mr_Tod2 karma

if its a product move to get it protected..patent, trademark etc...but after that or with anything else just go for it....in his case it might mean finding a strategic partner, maybe someone who has been out there for a while and knows how to execute...time is of essence....

AhmadA961 karma

Hmm.. Interesting. Thanks for the quick responses. I hope your advice will be of help to him.

Mr_Tod1 karma

here if he needs me...follow me on twitter and keep me updated!!

AhmadA961 karma

That would mean the world to him. Thanks!

Mr_Tod1 karma

anytime..thanks for chatting

Nony14922 karma

I love Shark Tank and I wish I could try one of your pies :( I have no questions to ask, just wanted to say that I voted for you !

Mr_Tod1 karma

Thanks! If you're ever in NJ drop by and get some!

Nony14921 karma

Hmm I'm in Tx, do you guys ship out side of NJ ? Could i complete an order online ?

Mr_Tod1 karma

we do...i have family in san antonio...how bout them Cowboys!

Nony14921 karma

Nice ! haha I'll look through your website to see what I can order ! Have a wonderful day !

Mr_Tod1 karma

you too!

morgan_freemun2 karma

How big is your company? Do you have multiple locations and how many employees do you have?

How much growth has your business experienced after Shark Tank (you don't have to be specific, just a general idea)?

I really liked your episode and will definitely be ordering a pie. What's your best one for my first order?

Mr_Tod2 karma

Im addicted to chocolate pecan....we have 2 locations right now with a third in the works...a HUGE increase in online orders as well...

msdivine2 karma

I've got a baking business - just me. I'm starting to test the waters of wholesale and have so many questions for someone whose been there!!!

-Do you use a co-packer now that you've got so many orders? -How long did it take to retool your recipe for that kind of thing/increasing shelf life, etc? -I saw above that you said starting with mom&pop/cash on delivery is the simplest and that's my plan. But how do you grow from there in terms of infrastructure/hiring employees/scaling up?

Thanks for any insight!

Mr_Tod1 karma

we do it internally, although Ive looked into co-packers...it really depends on how you prefer to grow your business...its capital intensive to build a manufacturing operation and sales etc., but look at Chobani, they did to the tune of billion dollar in sales...no co-packer. As the demand for your product grows just start by adding family and the eventually employees...keep your labor and food costs as low as possible - the mom and pops will put cash in your pocket as you continue to scale and build infrastructure

iammike272 karma

Did you initially envision yourself owning a retail storefront, distributing through other venues, or a combination?

Did you face any animosity or "unfair" competetive actions from others in the dessert industry in your area?

As the maker of a small line of ice creams for a local business, I know the temptation to devour your product is strong. Are you able to resist having delicious pie every single day of the year?

Mr_Tod3 karma

my biggest challenge was not having pie ala mode everyday once we started selling ice cream!! my original plan was only wholesale distribution, the retail thing just evolved over the years....competition is great for business, so we really just try to focus on doing what we do, and doing it well - thx

iammike272 karma

Oh man pie ala mode bestill my heart...

When starting a wholesale distribution network, did you find it difficult to compete with existing market, or did you approach smaller venues to sell through that were interested in giving a premium slot to a premium / higher quality pie?

Thank you for taking the time to reply! Start-up stories fascinate me, and I have a particular interest lately in the early steps of the edible product business.

Mr_Tod2 karma

def started with local mom and pops in nyc and nj...felt confident about my product and introduced it as the "upcoming" brand...this allowed me to build cash flow since the smaller stores pay cash on delivery, whereas targeting the larger comps will net 30/60 you to death...

MrPublic2 karma

Are there Personalities any different off screen than on screen?

Mr_Tod5 karma

what u see is what you get - spot on! while touring QVC with Barb, Daymond and Kevin Harrington, Barb asked the tour guide what his name was....guy said my name is Ralph...she said, "shit, I lost my virginity to a guy named ralph!"

Fulline2 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA, I would have never found out about you and your pies! I love shark tank but I guess I must have missed that episode. I see you have 2 locations, Englewood is the closer one. All your pies look awesome, and I'm a cheesecake snob, is there a way to try samples of a few items, also are you ever at the Englewood location?

Mr_Tod2 karma

thx! I spend alot of time in ewood with it being a new store...working on garden state plaza as well

bstones2 karma

Awesome story. Voted for you. Hope business is booming.

Mr_Tod3 karma

good look-thx!

dzdaniel842 karma

How nerve racking was the shark tank? Also, what was the process of getting onto the show like?

Mr_Tod4 karma

seeing as though I was sleeping in my car before...I was excited about the opportunity to pitch my business to some people with do...worse part for me was flying to the west coast for the first time...the skies over Denver did me in....so I took the train back home - took me 3 DAYS!!! LOL

rultied2 karma

Enjoyed the segment - never seen the show before.

How did you get onto the show? Especially it being the first episode... did they come to you looking for contestants?

Mr_Tod6 karma

someone sent me a link about a new show from Mark B. where you could raise money...i said what the hell..i sent in my video, the app and a chocolate pecan pie...the first communication I received from MBP was...OMG...the chocolate pecan pie was awesome...and oh, we received your application as well....

rultied1 karma

Do you still have the application video? I love stuff like that!

Mr_Tod3 karma

send me an email to remind me and ill find it for [email protected]

Johns42502 karma

Will Mr. Todd's Cakes be opening any time soon?

Mr_Tod5 karma

lol...send me some cake recipies

sillyboy422 karma

No question. Just wanted to say my wife and I LOVE your pies. Lemon Chess is amazeballs.

Mr_Tod1 karma

thanks so much...lemon chess is one of my favs too

deliguy2 karma

No question just a big congrats on all your success! Keep hustlin'

Mr_Tod2 karma

oh yea...gotta keep hustling - thx

Snowangel282 karma

Hey Mr Tod! Have you added more flavors? What's your favorite food (besides pie)? Which one of your pies would you recommend for some one who doesn't like sweet potatoe?

Mr_Tod4 karma

try the chocolate pecan...my fav foods are pizza and cheeseburgers...preferably with bacon and cheddar!!

Blacobjakely2 karma

Since shark tank how much has your business really grown?

Mr_Tod6 karma

the biggest change is in brand recognition - it really puts your name out there which translates into hard sales

songanddanceman2 karma

It's reported that, even just to be on the show, contestants have to give the show's production company, Finnmax, either a 2 percent royalty on the operating profits of the company a 5 percent equity stake. source

Did giving up that much of future earnings without having a commitment in funding seem scary?

And second, do you think that the exposure given by the show is a fair trade-off for the royalties/equity the average contestant would have to give?

Mr_Tod3 karma

Ive signed an NDA so I cant talk specifically about the royalties...I will say that the exposure is more than a fair trade off...they're doing 5M+ viewers on a friday now...it can blow your business or product up....also remember, they're interested in having you as well...which they think could make for good ratings....so everything is negotiable...thx for the questions!

Remember__Me2 karma

Well heck, 5 minutes into that clip and I was already emotional. I'd buy pies from you if I lived anywhere near NJ, and I don't even like sweet potatoes. Good on you for sticking with it!

I guess I don't have a question...but if you want a question: can you ship a pie to my house in Minnesota? :)

Mr_Tod2 karma

absolutely....remember what O'Leary said though..."dont cry about money" LOL!!

Remember__Me1 karma

Hah! If only I had the money! :)

Mr_Tod1 karma

its out there bro!

Remember__Me1 karma

I'm actually a "sis" or whatever girls are referred to. :)

But I will definitely look into getting a pie when I have more money!

Mr_Tod1 karma

my fault...it's out their sis! LOL

Simmo51502 karma

Do you only make sweet pies? Have you ever had an Aussie meat pie? Australia doesn't really do the sweet pies and I miss them from my time living in the US. My friends mum used to make a blackberry pie with a crust that was like shortbread and a lattice top. It was incredible.

Mr_Tod4 karma

im working on a signature savory pie...like a "Sweeney Tod Pie"...humanly delicious!

hoodiedhero2 karma

What is your favorite type of pie?

Mr_Tod3 karma

Chocolate Pecan

Kellbell1252 karma

I figure you're probably done with this AMA but it is my dream once I get married to have some sort of a multi tier wedding pie instead of cake. Have you ever done this? How would you do it? Pie > cake.

Mr_Tod2 karma

congrats! we do alot of wedding (mini's) favors...but we can make it happen for you - would just need to consult 6-9 months [email protected] - the interaction has been great so we'll keep it going a bit longer

scootch_2 karma


Mr_Tod4 karma

im not privy to what goes on behind the scenes...but deals to fall through as a result of entrepreneurs having second thoughts, sharks uncovering stuff they didnt now existed during the show and folks just not being able to come to an agreement....its a "deal in principal" on the show..thx for watching

oxy_incontinent1 karma

Congrats on on your success thusfar! I am pursuing a startup, and will possibly be talking with some venture capatalists in my state. What should I be expecting? Also what are some of the ways you have been able to remain competitive in your market? Any advice would help, and thanks for taking the time out to point those of us with similar aspirations in the right direction!!!

Mr_Tod2 karma

hold on to as much of your business as you can...especially in the early days...know your business cold and be able to explain in a few short sentences...vc's are very busy and just want to know why they should invest with you - Good Luck!

Firemeter1 karma

Mr Tod, how are you doing now? Was it worth giving 50% of your company?

Mr_Tod4 karma

moving along well...the entrepreneurial journey is a marathon - especially when you're trying to build something real special - wouldnt trade the exposure for anything!

Hbdarkman1 karma

Where did your love of pie bud from?

What is your favorite pie and why?

Mr_Tod3 karma

chocolate pecan is my BFF....started baking as a kid in the kitchen with ma dukes

musicmerchkid1 karma

So no answers?

Mr_Tod10 karma

Sorry I was getting the heavy load warning for a long time!

AllMyWhats1 karma

Any chance of a quick and easy pie recipe we can make at home?

If it helps, I live in the UK, so it won't hurt your profits. If you don't fancy dropping your secrets in the thread, feel free to drop me a message. I fancy some pie!

Mr_Tod5 karma

email me at [email protected] and Ill come up with something for you...cheers!

AllMyWhats1 karma

Emailing now, thanks!

Mr_Tod3 karma

you're welcome!

50_shades_of_clay0 karma

That is so awesome!

Mr_Tod1 karma

Thanks Fifty

Bluecas1 karma

If you could make any flavor of pie (doesn't actually have to be possible) what would you make?

Mr_Tod4 karma

a bacon cheddar cheeseburger pie!!

whiterussian851 karma

What are three of the most important tips, from your experience, that you would give someone who is planning on going on shark tank?

Mr_Tod3 karma

  1. be yourself...people invest in you
  2. be prepared...know your talking points inside out
  3. be flexible and look for opportunities

whiterussian851 karma

Congrats on your success Mr. Tod I really look up to you as I have a developed a food product myself (completely non competitive to yours) and am just getting started. Are there any tips you can give me of things you've learned along the way, mistakes you've made, advice, etc? Anything would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Mr_Tod2 karma

congrats to you! just trust your gut and dont take no for an answer...there will be naysayers but always press on. get your working capital in order if possible ahead of time and always budget a little extra...things rarely go according to plan...and remember to sell, sell, sell..