9 Things You Didn’t Know About Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

This ‘Forrest Gump’-inspired chain is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

In the (very limited) pantheon of chain restaurants that were directly inspired by a movie (is Goodburger still a thing?), Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is in all likelihood at the top of the heap. This touristy chain is obviously a spinoff of the 1994 smash Forrest Gump, and even if no visit to Times Square is complete without a Run Across America Sampler, we bet that there’s a lot you don’t know about it. 

It Was Paramount Pictures’ Idea

Paramount was the initial distributor of Forrest Gump, and Viacom Consumer Products (which, like Paramount, is owned by Viacom) was the original owner of the chain. 

The Machinations Around Getting It Started Were Pretty Complicated

Here’s how the creation of Bubba Gump went down: The folks behind the movie wanted to open a restaurant to build on the film’s success, so they approached a preexisting restaurant chain in their portfolio called Rusty Pelican with the idea. The Rusty Pelican folks spent a year developing the restaurant, the concept was licensed by Paramount Licensing, Inc., and the first location opened in Monterey, California. When Landry’s purchased the chain, the lone surviving Rusty Pelican — still operating in Newport Beach, Calif. — was included in the deal. 

Employees Have Taken Issue With the Company’s Social Media Policy

A former employee took issue with the chain’s social media policy in 2013, claiming that the company was prohibiting them from discussing their jobs online. After an investigation, in 2015 the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the company didn’t actually prohibit employees from discussing their jobs online, it only expected them to do so “in a civil manner.” Chipotle was sued for a similar reason in March

Chris Pratt Was Discovered While Working as a Waiter There

While living in a van in Maui and waiting on tables at the local Bubba Gump in 1998, 19-year-old Chris Pratt was “discovered” after approaching actress Rae Dawn Chong at her table. According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he told Chong that he was a fan of her work, and she decided on the spot to cast him in a film she was directing at the time, called Cursed Part 3, even though he’d never acted before. Even though the film was never released, Pratt had found his calling. 

It Offers 10 Percent Discounts to Military and AARP

It Offers 10 Percent Discounts to Military and AARP

Photo Modified: Flickr/ U.S. Army/ CC4.0

If you’re in the military or a member of AARP, you can receive a 10 percent discount on your meal (All Landry’s restaurants offer AARP discounts). 

All Staff Are Expected to Know the ‘Top Tens’

According to former employee Katy Franklin, who wrote a book about her experience in the service industry called Hi, How Are You?, all employees learn something called the “Top Tens” on their first day of work. “The Top Tens were Bubba Gump’s mantra, their rules to work, live, and die by,” according to Franklin. “If you set foot in any Bubba Gump restaurant anywhere in the world, stating that you were, in fact, a member of the Bubba Gump team, you would be expected to know the Top Tens.” These rules dictate that “all actions will display overwhelming care and concern for the guests and other employees” (#1), “Be part of the team: Look your best!” (#3), and “Stop, Forrest, stop! Teamwork!” (#8). 

The Times Square Location’s New Years’ Eve Party Cost a Fortune to Attend

The Times Square Location’s New Years’ Eve Party Cost a Fortune to Attend

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Marko Kudjerski/ CC4.0

If you wanted to ring in 2016 at the New York Bubba Gump, located in the heart of Times Square, you had to lay out some serious cash. A seat in the restaurant (and a decent view of the festivities outside) cost $799 per person, and believe it or not, it sold out. The Times Square Olive Garden only charged $400 for their party!

There’s an Annual ‘Bubba Gump Shrimpfest’ in Atlantic City

The Golden Nugget Casino, like Bubba Gump, is owned by Landry’s, and in order to capitalize on that relationship every summer the Atlantic City Golden Nugget hosts Bubba Gump Shrimpfest on its marina-facing patio. After purchasing food and drink tickets, attendees can chow down on dishes including Cajun shrimp, shrimp gumbo, popcorn shrimp, peel and eat shrimp, shrimp po’boys, shrimp cocktail, and jambalaya while listening to live music. 

Employees Can Join the Shrimpossibles Volunteer Team

Community service is an important part of being an employee, and the company has launched Shrimpossibles, which is focused on volunteering time and service towards helping the community and being good neighbors. Initiatives so far have included organizing Run Forrest Run 5Ks to support the Special Olympics and supporting efforts to fight illiteracy and combat hunger.