You Cheddar Believe it: The Cost Behind Bob’s Burgers’ Well-Done Puns

Woman holding a book and writing
"The Bob's Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers," features all the real recipes for the joke burgers. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder


In a TV market saturated with award-winning dramas like “Orange Is The New Black” and epic fantasies like “Game of Thrones,” there is truly one show that stands above the rest.

I’m talking about Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers,” of course, which, for a half hour every Sunday night, takes us behind the scenes of the world’s unluckiest restaurant, run by the world’s most endearing family, the Belchers.

One of the hallmarks of this masterful comedy, which is now in its eighth season, is the pun-filled burgers Bob creates, such as the “Bruschetta Bout It Burger,” “The Six Scallion Dollar Man Burger” and “Sweet Home Avocado Burger.” These creations have become so popular with viewers that the creators of the show actually published a cookbook dedicated to them, called “The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers.”

woman holding burger book
Mouthwatering and cheeky illustrations grace the pages of The Bob's Burgers Burger Book. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

As the proud owner of this cookbook, I have tried a wide range of its recipes. After recently spending no small amount of money to acquire the ingredients for the Winter Muensterland Burger, I began to wonder, “How much have I actually been spending to make some of Bob’s burgers? And does Bob, who charges $5.95 per burger, actually make a large enough profit to run his business and support his family?”

The answer to the second question, as evidenced by the show, seems to be “no.” Bob, after all, is always behind on rent, and any money he does make is somehow squandered away on something ridiculous — like a mannequin lover for a stranger who thinks he used to be a mannequin himself, or $500 for a new couch the Belchers end up donating to the Couch Burners in favor of their old broken couch.

But the anecdotal evidence from the show was not enough for me, so I decided to price out the ingredients of three popular burgers myself and determine what kind of profit Bob would make. Of course, Bob likely earns discounts for buying in bulk directly from vendors like his meat guy, Demetri, but he also pays for high-quality ingredients (and sometimes accidentally horse meat). Therefore, I used the prices of lower-quality ingredients I found at Kroger and called it square.

New Bacon-ings Burger

open burger book
The new Bacon-ings Burger is an easy build. Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Page: 11

Episode: “Human Flesh” (Season 1, Episode 1)

The burger from the pilot episode heralds a new era for Bob’s restaurant: It is the grand re-re-reopening of Bob’s Burgers, so it should have been very important for Bob to turn a profit.

And it looks like, for this burger, he might have: $2.87 per burger. But after labor costs — and considering his rent, according to Movoto.com, is likely nearly $4,000 a month — I’m not so sure it would be enough.

The Recipe:

Makes four burgers.

Ingredients

1 pound bacon: $4.50

1 pound ground beef: $5

1 cup whole milk: 12 cents

1 large egg: 13 cents

4 buns: 63 cents

Green leaf lettuce: 50 cents

1 large tomato, sliced: 95 cents

1 red onion: 50 cents

Total Cost: $12.33 for four burgers

Bob’s Price: $23.80 for four burgers ($5.95 each)

Bob’s Profit Margin: $2.87 per burger

Louise Belcher, pictured above, is the youngest member of the Belcher family. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Don’t You Four Cheddar ’Bout Me Burger

Page: 97

Episode: “Linda-pendent Woman” (Season 3, Episode 13)

As a diehard “Breakfast Club” fan, the Don’t You Four Cheddar ’Bout Me Burger was the first I tried to make when I brought the cookbook home. It’s also been the most challenging, as tracking down white mild horseradish cheddar proved more difficult than beating the high score on Burgerboss. I ended up having to buy a block of Boar’s Head at Publix and slice it up myself.

Bob’s profit dips to just $1.92 per burger for this masterpiece.

The Recipe:

Makes four burgers.

Ingredients

1 pound bacon: $4.50

1 pound ground beef: $5

4 slices white sharp cheddar: 67 cents

4 slices yellow sharp cheddar: 67 cents

4 slices white mild horseradish cheddar: $2.75

4 slices yellow mild cheddar: 67 cents

4 buns: 63 cents

Green leaf lettuce: 50 cents

1 medium white onion, sliced: 75 cents

Total Cost: $16.14 for four burgers

Bob’s Price: $23.80 for four burgers ($5.95 each)

Bob’s Profit Margin: $1.92 per burger

Baby You Can Chive My Car Burger

Page: 108

Episode: “Father of the Bob” (Season 5, Episode 6)

One of the most popular burgers to date (it is pictured on the back of the cookbook, after all), the Baby You Can Chive My Car Burger, is an important one, as it marks the day Bob realized he had big ideas and wanted to start his own restaurant.

The only problem? At $5.95 a burger, it’s not really lucrative. Bob’s per-burger profit is just $1.67 for this one.

The Recipe:

Makes four burgers.

Ingredients

½ cup all-purpose flour: 9 cents

2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning: 63 cents

1 teaspoon salt: 2 cents

1 12-ounce jar dill pickle chips: $1.40

1 egg: 13 cents

½ cup milk: 6 cents

Canola oil, for frying: 2 cents

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled: $2.79

1 pound ground beef: $5

½ cup sour cream: 55 cents

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard: 22 cents

½ cup finely chopped chives: $5.58

4 buns: 63 cents

Total Cost: $17.12 for four burgers

Bob’s Price: $23.80 for four burgers ($5.95 each)

Bob’s Profit Margin: $1.67 per burger

So what did my research teach me? I learned that Bob, as the show suggests, is in fact a terrible businessman, but he is also an incredible chef: Each burger tastes delicious and is so unique (plus, the puns are well done).

The puns and illustrations make this book hard to put down. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

I also learned that making Bob’s burgers might have been costing me more than I imagined, but if I can whip up four delicious burgers for under $20 for my family, that’s still a much better deal than heading to a burger joint like Five Guys.

And most importantly, I learned I have way too much time on my hands — time that would probably be better spent writing freaky friend fiction. But, in the words of Tina Belcher, “c’est la vie.”

Timothy Moore is an editor and freelance writer who lives in Nashville. His favorite shows include “The Office,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Big Brother,” because everybody needs a guilty pleasure.

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