'Bacontrepreneurs' Building Bacon Empire

Bacon-lovers catapult "uber-meat" into successful $1.4 million business.

ByABC News
April 21, 2009, 1:09 PM

April 21, 2009— -- Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow have re-invented what it means to be entrepreneurs. The self-proclaimed "bacontrepreneurs" have catapulted their love of bacon into a successful business.

"Everything should taste like bacon; that's the motto," Esch told ABC News.

Their business began as a joke over drinks. During a lively discussion with friends about their common passion for bacon, the idea for Bacon Salt, a product mixing their two favorite flavors, was born.

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The duo, who both had successful jobs at a technology company in Seattle, quit and began experimenting with different flavors of Bacon Salt.

"We took a bunch of bacon and poured in salt," Esch, 30, said. "Turns out that's disgusting."

Once the recipe was perfected, Esch and Lefkow, 35, introduced Bacon Salt, and hickory and peppered varieties, to the market last year.

With five employees and no marketing budget, they stormed sporting events coast to coast dressed as bacon and created buzz on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"When we launched it out of my garage in Issaquah, in suburban Seattle, we had 800 orders in the first week, with no promotion, [from] 12 countries, 25 states," Esch said. "We ran out of Bacon Salt within six days."

Within a year, their products have made it to the shelves of major grocery stores around the country and are sold around the world. And despite the nation's deep recession, the fun-loving startup keeps bringing home the bacon, raking in $1.4 million last year in profits.

Beth's Café, a 24-hour Seattle restaurant known for its greasy cuisine, caught on quickly, adding Bacon Salt into the mix of condiments on their tables.

"We always say everything's better with bacon and that's their motto," said Chris Dalton, owner of Beth's Café. "It's been excellent. You can put it on almost anything. It's good on a turkey sandwich. I like it on tater tots."

The dedication to all things bacon has led to the launch of bacon-flavored sunflower seeds and the sandwich spread, Baconaise, which combines two of life's more fattening flavors, bacon and mayonnaise.