Bob’s Burgers is a popular American animated sitcom. The series centers on the Belchers (parents Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise) who run a hamburger restaurant. Many food truck owners can relate to many of Bob’s business issues. Surprisingly, though the show often revolves around failure, food truck vendors can learn a lot from this program. Here are some of the most important lessons to take away from Bob’s Burgers.
What Food Truck Owners Can Learn From Bob’s Burgers
Food Trucking Isn’t Easy
In one episode, numerous food trucks are parking on the street in front of Bob’s Burgers, “stealing” his customers. After several failed attempts to make the trucks leave, Bob ends up buying a food truck of his own. Bob sees that he is still not turning a profit, and learns about “Lolla-Pa-Foods-A” which has a $1,000 prize for the best food truck. At the festival, Tina, hands out free mini burgers to promote the truck and lying about the contents of the burgers to the festival-goers. All hell breaks out they manage to get away. But on the way home Randy starts the grill while driving, causing an explosion that destroys the truck.
The Takeaway. From the outside, running a food truck may seem easy, but once you step inside, every thing changes. Ultimately, the reason people run food trucks, is to generate profits. Parking in the right locations, pricing your menu properly and using ingredients that consumers value are all part of the profit formula. No matter how many times you’ve watched The Great Food Truck Race, running a food truck isn’t as easy as it seems.
Build & Maintain Customer Relationships
Bob creates these relationships with his customers through good old-fashioned face-to-face communication but social media works as well. Teddy is a long-winded storyteller that is a frequent customer at Bob’s Burgers. The relation built between these two has developed to a point where Bob even cares about Teddy’s health and suggests he doesn’t eat burgers as often as he does.
The Takeaway. Customer relations are crucial to every successful food truck. As we’ve explained over the years, repeat business is the backbone of running a food truck. Part of your truck’s mission statement needs to included the fulfillment of the needs of customers. In other words, no customers results in no business. What really sets food trucks apart from chain restaurants is the family-like environment they provide. Outside of great food and service, this is what will make customers keep coming back.
Separate Yourself From The Competition
Bob’s Burgers is able to separate itself through the use of his Burgers of the Day. While it may not be a deep dive into menu design, Bob uses puns and word play to name these burgers. Some of the specials we remembered include:
- It’s fun to eat at the rYeMCA Burger (Two all beef patties on a bed of lettuce topped with cheddar cheese and chunky guacamole.)
- Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Zucchini Burger (Two all beef sliders topped with grilled zucchini and a yellow pepper – mint yogurt sauce)
- Don’t You Four Cheddar ‘Bout Me Burger (topped four kinds of cheddar)
- I Fought the Slaw Burger (And the Slaw Won)
- Bleu By You Burger (A 1/3 pound all beef patty stuffed with bleu cheese, covered in sauteed red swiss chard and slobbered in a red wine reduction sauce)
- Rest in Peas Burger (comes with snap peas)
The Takeaway. The key to success in the food truck industry is to separate your menu from the competition in your market. There are hundreds of food trucks and restaurants in the municipalities you operate in. What’s going to make people choose your food truck are the unique qualities of your menu and service. How do you make your food truck stand out against the sea of competition in the food service industry?
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
In one episode, Bob’s wife, Linda, decides to turn the restaurant into a dinner theater. Unfortunately, a thief shows up and steals from the register. While this was a loss for the business, the play ended up getting positive responses from their customers. Though a robbery isn’t redeeming, Linda was brave enough to implement new ideas in the restaurant, even though it didn’t have the outcome she had intended.
The Takeaway. Too many food truck vendors miss out on great opportunities with the fear of failure. Any successful food truck has experienced failure. Very often it’s these failures that lead to success.
The Bottom Line
While Bob’s Burgers is far from an advanced degree in culinary arts, it does contain a surprising amount of insight into the world of running a food truck business. At the very least, it’ll make you forget about any of your mobile food business troubles while watching it.