Do restaurants and other outlets owe their customers anything beyond a product? Bob’s Burgers questions the grey area between ethical production and irresponsible consumption. “Friends with Burger-fits” begins with Bob’s most loyal customer summarizing his most recent trip to the doctor. “Blah, blah, cholesterol through the roof, heart attack, blah…cheeseburger and fries please!” Teddy eats at Bob’s Burgers every day, and suddenly Bob feels responsible for his poor health. He even has nightmares where he is holding Teddy’s heart and pouring French fry grease directly into it. Bob tries to sneak a veggie burger into Teddy’s diet (he notices), and exercising with Teddy. The plotline follows their relationship on a professional and personal level – what happens when that line blurs? Does Bob have a responsibility to his customers’ health or because of Teddy’s friendship?
The message of this episode reflects an interesting conundrum in capitalism. If customers are willing to pay, what obligation does a profit-based business have to care about the health of its patrons? Resources on losing weight generally recommend eating at restaurants as little as possible because their obligation is to make the food taste as good as possible (so, BUTTER and cream), but not healthy. But is it an overstep, for example, when the New York government banned extremely large soda cups because it encourages soda consumption? What about the restaurant in Vegas that lets people who weigh more than 350 pounds eat free? I think food sales have the obligation to educate the consumer, the way corporate restaurants like McDonalds are now required to post calorie information on the menu. However, people are drastically uninformed when it comes to nutrition science, and calorie estimates are found to be mostly inaccurate and under the actual calorie content of most menu items. People need more easily available and clear information about nutrition in order to make the most informed decisions, even if they are unhealthy ones.