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I grew up watching SpongeBob SquarePants pretty regularly and so learned about all of the hot spots in Bikini Bottom. If you’re just getting into the series, though, you might want to read a Chum Bucket guide.
The restaurant isn’t as popular as its competition, and that’s for many reasons. I sort of feel bad for Plankton, but there are many reasons for the Chum Bucket being a failure.
Whether you’re a new or long-time fan of SpongeBob, consider reading up on the worst restaurant in town.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Chum Bucket is home to the villain of SpongeBob SquarePants. Not much happens in the restaurant, but when something does, it can have a huge effect on the episode, series, or movie in question.
- Name of Item: Chum Bucket
- Owners of Item: Plankton and Karen
- Type of Item: Building
- First Appearance: Plankton!
Appearance and Features
The Chum Bucket has a distinct appearance that lets people know where to go, or rather, where not to go. You’ll find the restaurant across the street from its main competitor, the Krusty Krab.
While it doesn’t have a number, it’s on Conch Street, so it’s a ways down from where SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick live. If you approach the restaurant from that neighborhood, you’d turn right off the street.
Then, you’ll head down a short path before reaching the building.
On the outside, the restaurant takes the shape of a bucket, like in the name. The top of the bucket features a handle held by a hand wearing a glove.
Near the top of the bucket, you’ll find the words “Chum Bucket” in red paint. Beneath the name is two swing doors that open into the restaurant.
In the “Komputer Overload” episode, you can see the Chum Bucket has a drive-thru. That appears to be on the back because it’s not visible in most episodes.
The Chum Bucket features more on the inside than you might expect. Of course, you can go to the cafeteria where Plankton and any employees at that time can serve food to customers. There’s also a kitchen, which Plankton calls a laboratory. You’ll find a lab room between the kitchen and dining area, which might help Plankton keep his lab more of a secret.
Karen’s wall form is in the kitchen, and this room is the part of the Chum Bucket you see most on SpongeBob SquarePants. In the video game Battle for Bikini Bottom, you can see Plankton’s office. He uses that room to plot out his schemes and sometimes to sleep.
However, he also shares a bedroom with his wife, but they sleep in different beds. Fans have found leaked images of a living room that hasn’t been in the show but was from a deleted scene from one of the movies.
While the Chum Bucket is a restaurant for most of the series, Plankton converts it to the Chumporium in “New Leaf.” The place then runs as a gift shop and sells a variety of items.
In the episode, SpongeBob is the only character to purchase from the shop. However, that makes Mr. Krabs on edge, believing that Plankton rigged the snow glob SpongeBob bought to try and steal the Krabby Patty formula.
But in the next episode, the building is back to being a restaurant. The building didn’t change much on the outside, so Plankton may have decided to return it to his original business.
Failed Health Inspection
In one episode, we see a news headline talking about Plankton’s restaurant. The headline is bad, so Yellowtail Andy, a health inspector, shows up to check things out.
Andy shuts down the Chum Bucket and locks everything down. Later, we learn that Mr. Krabs faked the story, and it appears like nothing happened after that episode.
Now, Plankton probably doesn’t follow the best health and safety practices anyway. But it’s still a bit sad to see him lose what little of his business he has going for him, even if it doesn’t last long.
Role of the Chum Bucket in SpongeBob SquarePants
The Chum Bucket’s main role in the series is as the home and business of the main antagonist. It opened the same day as the Krusty Krab, but it hasn’t had nearly as much success.
In the episode, “Friend or Foe,” Mr. Krabs and Plankton reveal they used to be friends. They were both uncool, and they enjoyed relaxing in the previous restaurant in the area.
Both of them tried to run a new restaurant together, but they couldn’t get along. So Plankton decided to open his own place, and Mr. Krabs did the same.
Knowing that they used to be friends makes some of Plankton’s actions more understandable. He’s mad that his former friend got all of the glory from his restaurant, while Plankton got nothing.
The Chum Bucket is the setting for a lot of scenes featuring Plankton as well as his computer wife. Occasionally, other characters, such as SpongeBob and Patrick, go to the restaurant.
Who Visits the Chum Bucket the Most
While almost every character visits the Krusty Krab, that’s not the case for the Chum Bucket. Of course, we frequently see Plankton and Karen in their home/restaurant.
Plankton also gets SpongeBob to visit in various episodes, either as a customer or employee. Patrick also shows up at the Chum Bucket in a few episodes.
In the first SpongeBob movie, the Chum Bucket is much busier than it is in the TV show. But as you might expect, Plankton uses those customers to help execute a plan to take over the town or the world.
Consider some more details about the characters that visit and their relationship to the Chum Bucket.
Plankton and Karen are the two most well-known characters that work at the Chum Bucket. They both run the place together, but Karen sometimes acts more like a manager.
She’s kicked Plankton out when he wasn’t doing what he should. However, Plankton’s the only one who founded the Chum Bucket, so it’s still mainly his business.
The two characters also have a green amoeba named Spot as a pet. He seems to be like a dog, just like how Gary is like the underwater version of a cat.
SpongeBob is probably the most notable former employee of the Chum Bucket. He has to go work there after Mr. Krabs loses a bet with Plankton.
After SpongeBob starts to annoy Plankton, he sells the main character to yet another restaurant. SpongeBob also works for the establishment to help Plankton decorate.
Following a fight with SpongeBob, Patrick goes to work for Plankton as a fry cook. When the two friends make up, Patrick quits his job at the Chum Bucket.
But like SpongeBob, Patrick works for Plankton again as a decorator. Patrick also works as a delivery worker and even an advertiser.
Squidward joins his neighbors to redecorate the Chum Bucket, and he has a couple of other short-term gigs. Most of the other former employees were robots.
Any living creatures that worked for Plankton usually did so because Plankton had them under mind control.
You don’t have to be a SpongeBob superfan to know that the Chum Bucket rarely gets any customers. When customers do show up, it’s usually because of one of Plankton’s schemes.
As I mentioned, some customers do go to the restaurant in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. However, Plankton had concocted a plan to steal the Krabby Patty formula and sell it himself.
He also sells bucket helmets to the customers, but he uses those buckets to put customers under his control. Of course, SpongeBob manages to save the day.
Another notable duo of customers is Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Plankton makes the superheroes go to the Krusty Krab and claim the Chum Bucket is better.
Like many other buildings in Bikini Bottom, the Chum Bucket isn’t immune to damage. It always seems to be back to normal in the next episode, but the restaurant goes through a lot.
For example, the building blows up due to a self-destruction system in “Imitation Krabs.” When SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward redecorate in “Bucket Sweet Bucket,” it appears the Krusty Krab replaces the Chum Bucket, but that’s not the case.
In two separate episodes, Mr. Krabs tricks Plankton into mixing stuff together, but that causes the Chum Bucket to explode. Another episode sees Karen get sick, and her virus is bad enough that she damages the restaurant.
There are many other occasions where the Chum Bucket blows up. It even sinks along with other buildings in Bikini Bottom in “The Sinking Feeling.”
Inventions From the Chum Bucket
Plankton has invented a lot of gadgets to help with his plans. One of the first ones we see is The Analyzer, which can detect the things that make up an object, and we learn from it that Plankton is 99% hot gas and only 1% evil.
Another significant invention early on is Robot Krabs. Plankton uses the robot to trick SpongeBob into giving him the secret formula but of course, his plan fails.
The robot plays a big role in the “Imitation Krabs” episode, but it comes back in “New Leaf” as well as “Spy Buddies.”
Fun Facts About the Chum Bucket
- Characters have called the Chum Bucket both the worst and the filthiest restaurant in town. If you’ve watched much of the series, that probably comes as no shock to you.
- There’s an episode that shows Bikini Bottom High School in the place where the Chum Bucket normally is. The episode is “Whale of a Birthday.”
- If you watch the Brazilian version, you’ll hear three names for the Chum Bucket. One of those names is “Balde Camarada,” which translates to “friend.” In linguistics, you can call that a false cognate or “false friend” since the meaning is different from the original intent.
- Plankton runs the Chum Bucket 24/7, even on holidays and when there’s a disaster. With it being dead, I’m not surprised he wants to try and get customers as much as possible.
- Most TV shows use a fake phone number when they have to mention one, and it usually starts with 555. However, the Chum Bucket’s number is 1-800-EAT-CHUM. If you call that number, it actually goes to a Toyota dealership.
- If you watch carefully, you’ll notice a few inconsistencies with the location of the Chum Bucket. I already mentioned it’s sometimes replaced with another building. But it’s also sometimes farther away from the street and the Krusty Krab.
My Opinion on the Chum Bucket
I don’t quite remember what I thought about the Chum Bucket growing up. Like most kids, I probably thought Plankton was the worst and that his restaurant wasn’t much better.
As an adult, I still somewhat believe those things. However, I also somewhat feel for Plankton, especially since his rival is his former friend.
It must be hard to try and build something together then fail, only to watch your former business partner do well alone. Now, that doesn’t excuse Plankton’s actions or the fact that he serves horrible food.
Still, it helps explain a lot regarding the character and the business. And when I really think about the Chum Bucket, it appears to mirror some stuff happening in real life.
Competition Is Everywhere
At first, it seems odd for the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket to operate across the street. Sure, they open on the same day, so they might not have expected that to happen.
However, that’s not as surprising when you really think about it. I don’t know about you, but it seems like wherever there’s a Walgreens, there’s a CVS not too far away.
There’s also a ton of car dealerships along the same streets. Competition is going to happen, and business owners want to get as much of the customer base as they can.
Maybe if Plankton served better food, he could acquire about half of the Bikini Bottom food business. But his menu is far from appetizing, at least to me.
Rent Is Expensive
In the real world, rent is quite expensive, especially for a large restaurant. Since Plankton doesn’t have a ton of business coming in, I imagine he’d want to save money.
He lives in part of the Chum Bucket and uses the rest for his business. I’ve heard of business owners living above their shops, so it’s not that surprising.
But even if Plankton had the money, it makes sense to live where he works. He’s so small that any commute would be significantly larger for him than other characters.
FAQs About the Chum Bucket Guide
Answer: The Chum Bucket isn’t successful because Plankton serves food that tastes and smells bad. He’s also rude to people when he’s out and about, so he’s probably not a great person to support financially.
It doesn’t help that his business is across the street from the Krusty Krab, which has a much better reputation.
Answer: Plankton sells chum because he wants to get back at the fish in Bikini Bottom for belittling him. Chum refers to pieces of fish meat and fish bone.
Answer: Patrick likes some of the items from the Chum Bucket. No one else seems to like the food, probably because it would make most of the characters cannibals.
Answer: Plankton is obsessed with the formula because it’s a big reason why his business failed. Most of the characters love the Krabby Patty, so if Plankton got his hands on the recipe, he could make some good money from it.
Final Not on the Chum Bucket Guide
If you’ve watched much of SpongeBob SquarePants, you’ve probably met Plankton. But his restaurant is still a bit of a mystery, so it helps to go through a Chum Bucket guide.
I know I learned a few fun facts while researching the details to write this. Keep this guide in mind the next time you see the Chum Bucket on screen and have questions about it.
Then, you’ll know what to refer to, and you can share some of what you learned with your friends.
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