Planet Popcorn on CNBC the profit

Planet Popcorn Lost a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Posted on August 27, 2013 by Lola Rotimi-Sosanya

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Planet Popcorn Lost a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Planet Popcorn is a multimillion dollar popcorn company that sells a variety of popcorn at fairs and various farmers markets across California.  Not only does Planet Popcorn have sales around the state, but the company has a huge contract with Disney which allows them to sell popcorn in Downtown Disney.  Theoretically Planet Popcorn should declare a Tips on starting a small business Picturesprofit, but this is not the case.  Marcus Lemonis, an entrepreneurial millionaire and host of CNBC’s Profit, steps in to help save the troubled business.  The goal of this intervention is to turn the company around into a profitable company.

Sharla started Planet Popcorn with just $250 and a single cart.  13 years later the company has over 30 employees and a variety of products offered, such as three different flavors of popcorn, crepes and funnel cakes.  Planet profit reports $2.5 million in revenue but has no reported profit.  The company has accrued $200,000 in debt along with a second mortgage on the owner’s mother’s home to finance the debt.  Obviously if things do not turn around for the company, the business and the home will be in trouble.

Marcus Lemonis discovered a number of issues that Planet Popcorn has including bad management, integrity issues and accounting issues.  While visiting the office there was cash throughout the room, including on the floor and on the desk.  Lemonis mentioned that anyone could steal this money without the owner or employees ever knowing.  He is not the only one with concerns about the company either, the accountant is also concerned about Planet Popcorn’s future.

Marcus’s goal for Planet Popcorn was to turn the unfocused business into a company turning $10 million in revenue a year along with a nationally recognized name and brand.  Marcus offered Sharla $200,000 for half ownership in the company.  The offer also gave him control over operational and financial activity for a week.  Sharla was a bit hesitant to accept this offer, but ended up agreeing.

To turn this company around, Lemonis provided a list of things he wanted to accomplish: launch a website that would help brand Planet Popcorn and open a store outside of Disney.  The opening of the store outside Disney would allow him to see if the store could run and operate successfully.  If this was done correctly, they would open a store inside Disney.  Cameras would also have to be installed throughout the stores and offices to help inventory control and accountability.

While looking for a store front, Sharla wanted a store for her crepe business, and had no interest in looking for a place for Planet Popcorn. After digging further into the financial information, Marcus found that popcorn generated 80% of the revenue and crepes and funnel cakes only accounted for 20%.  He suggested that the crepes and funnel cakes should be discontinued and popcorn should be the focus.  Sharla was unwilling to do this and seemed closed minded about various suggestions to improve the company.

Another major issue that was a concern was accounting.  A forensic accountant was brought in to look at the books and found that $319,000 was declared as a profit, but there was no cash to prove this. The accountant also found that an additional $80,000 was missing as well.  When asked what happened to the $399,000 Sharla could not provide any explanations.

Furthermore, Marcus discovered that Sharla and her fiancé went behind his back and bought back the domain name he initially purchased for the company, popone.com.  Obviously this was the last straw and Marcus Lemonis decided he would not do business with Planet Popcorn.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Sam August 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    All that cash went into Sharla’s pocket!

  2. Lola Rotimi-Sosanya September 2, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Lol! I should think so…Marcus never knew where the cash disappeared to and he caught her buying lottery tickets

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