Three Things Bob’s Burgers Can Teach Small Businesses

For those that don’t know, Bob’s Burgers is an animated television show centering on the unconventional Belcher family, a quirky quintet that runs a burger restaurant. Though the show’s primary aim is comedy, it displays a surprising degree of empathy towards the trials and tribulations of small business owners. All small business owners can relate to (some) of Bob’s business issues. Surprisingly, though the show often revolves around failure, small business owners and freelancers can learn a lot from the experiences of Bob and his family.

Maintain relationships with clients:

Customer relations are crucial to every company-- this seems pretty obvious. Marketing theory states that repeat business is the backbone of selling. An organization’s purpose is to fulfill the needs of the customers. Essentially, no customers equates to no business. What really sets small businesses apart from big corporations is that “family-like” environment, which makes customers want to come back.

This is why we love small businesses.

Bob creates these relationships with his customers through good old-fashioned face-to-face communication but social media works as well. Teddy is an overly chatty, long-winded storyteller that frequently dines at Bob’s Burgers. Bob and Teddy’s relationship 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 (Teddy doesn’t take Bob’s suggestion to heart).

After the funeral of a motorcycle gang member, the aforementioned motorcycle gang wanders into Bob’s Burgers. The gang has a few too many beers and wreck the restaurant, but due to Bob’s hospitality, the new leader of the gang pays for the damage and gives Bob a card, which he can use to ask the gang for a favor in the future. Now, I’m not promoting gang activity, but Bob does teach us a valuable lesson of the importance of building and maintaining relationships.

Wow! Factor:

The key is to separate your product from similar products on the market. There are hundreds of restaurants in your city, hundreds of clothing stores, and more photographers than you can count with both your hands. What’s going to make people choose YOUR business are the unique qualities of your product. How do you make your business stand out against the numerous other businesses doing the same thing?

Bob does this with his Burgers of the Day. The names of these burgers include various puns and word plays. Some of the specials include:

It's fun to eat at the rYeMCA Burger - (Comes on Rye w/ Mustard, Cheese & Avocado) Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Zucchini Burger Don't You Four Cheddar 'Bout Me Burger - (Comes with four kinds of cheddar) I Fought the Slaw Burger (And the Slaw Won) And The Pod’s personal favorite: “Rest in Peas Burger” Comes with snap peas.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes

Linda, Bob’s wife decides to turn the restaurant into a dinner theater. A robber shows up and steals from the register. While this was a loss for the business, the play had positive responses from the 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. Too many people miss out on great opportunities with the fear of failure. Any successful person or company has experienced failure. Oftentimes it’s failure that leads us to success. To be consistent with the restauraunt theme, Harland David Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, had his chicken recipe rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.

So, while Bob’s Burgers is far from a Harvard MBA, it contains a surprising amount of insight into the world of maintaining a small business. At the very least, it’ll make you forget about any business troubles while watching it!

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