Michael and Cheryl Gardner of The Burger Bus mobile restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA, speak to Parts Town!
What is the most popular item on your menu?
Our most popular burger is the CB&J (cheeseburger & jelly). We start with a 1/3 pound grass-fed, hormone-free patty and add to that grilled onions, pepperjack cheese, and homemade habanero jelly from Mama’s preserves (from the SB Farmer’s Market). Right now we are using an olallieberry habanero. We also have a sweet CB&J featuring a sweet berry jelly.
What is it about your restaurant that keeps customers coming back?
We have a lot of “regulars” that come every week, some even come twice a week! They come for the fresh and delicious food and also the relationship we’ve built with them. We’re nice people, they’re nice people: we’ve become friends with our customers.
What one thing does every restaurant owner need to know to be successful?
Success begins with quality ingredients. Make a great product, and the people will come and eat!
What is the toughest challenge your restaurant has faced?
As a mobile restaurant, our first challenge was finding places to park. When we opened in May 2009, the City of Santa Barbara required us to park on private property. We went around to local businesses (while our vehicle was being retrofitted) and asked if we could park there for lunch service. We got a lot of folks saying “No”, but fortunately there were also some owners who were very excited an answered “Yes!”
What strategies have worked best for you on the Internet?
We do all of our advertising through social media- Facebook and Twitter. Every morning we remind our fans and followers where we will be for the day. We also keep our website and monthly calendar (theburgerbus.com) up to date.
How has your relationship with Parts Town been?
You guys are fantastic! We appreciate being featured on your website and the kindness you showed towards us and our BUSiness! We will most certainly shop with you again.a