Last Monday, March 29, 2010 marked the 14th Anniversary of my first public appearance as ‘Forrest Gump’ for the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant & Market. On March 29, 1996 we celebrated the grand opening of the first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (BGS) on Cannery Row in Monterey, California.
Can you believe it? … 14 years? … I may not be a smart man but even I know 14 years is a long time!
Today BGS has grown to 22 locations throughout the United States and 11 international locations including Japan, Malaysia and other surprising locales. More are planned for the future, and I look forward to the opportunity to be a part of those openings as well.
Many have asked, ‘What do you do as Forrest Gump for BGS?’ First and foremost I interact with the public as a goodwill ambassador posing for photos and enhancing the customer experience. During grand openings and special events I’ve made TV and radio appearances to announce a new location or new menu items or a special charity events. I also regularly visit hotels and other nearby businesses to promote the family themed restaurant, fun casual atmosphere and delicious menu items with salads, burgers, chicken, ribs, fresh fish and of course … many choices of shrimp.
I have so many great memories and moments from these 14 years, I would like to share with you a few of the highlights, as well as some of my future goals, as ‘Forrest Gump’.
Some of Steve’s highlights as ‘Forrest Gump’ during the past 14 years
- Sitting and posing with more than 3 million individual people at the various BGS restaurants world wide.
- Ten years of appearing every weekend for BGS at Monterey and San Francisco (with exception of openings and special events at other locations)
- Jumping off a shrimp boat in Charleston, SC
- Running on the rim of an active volcano on the Big Island
- International openings in Japan, Philippines, Mexico & Hong Kong
- A feature story in the San Francisco Examiner
- Appearing on Entertainment Tonight, Fox & Friends, and hundreds of local and regional TV and radio broadcasts.
- Transitioning from impersonator to motivational speaker
Some of Steve’s goals as ‘Forrest Gump’ for the future
- Write a book (or two or three)
- Create a premiere Forrest Gump Fan Club & website
- Make ‘Gumption’ a household name and universally accepted business topic
- Help open another 10 or 20 or 50 BGS restaurants worldwide
Fourteen years is a long time. I never imagined that what started as a lark or fun weekend would turn into a career. The feather landed at my foot and I decided to pick it up – just like Forrest Gump did when the feather landed at his foot at the beginning of the movie. I’m humbled and grateful!
Next Blog Title: The Gumption Trap!
Next Blog Date: Thursday, April 8, 2010