Following the great day at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Robert Shadbolt’s birthday, our group decided on dinner at Anaheim’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. The chain of Bubba Gump restaurants takes it’s name and inspiration from the 1994 Forrest Gump film originally directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. As a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump offers a seafood dining menu in addition to a themed gift shop and effectively offering a unique way to keep the spirit of Forrest Gump alive and well in the mind of consumers long after the original theatrical run of the film.
According to the press kit, Paramount Pictures originally approached Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. about extending the brand of Forrest Gump into the realm of casual family dining. And by 1996, the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company themed restaurant opened it’s doors in Montery, California. The company specifically targets tourist destinations for their restaurants, such as the Anaheim location which is a couple of blocks away from Disneyland, and other locations including Universal’s City Walk in both Hollywood and Orlando, Times Square in New York, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bubba Gump is Paramount’s most successful foray into themed restaurant licensing, but wasn’t the first.