The Chum Bucket is an unsuccessful fast food restaurant that is located right across the street from the Krusty Krab. It is owned by Sheldon J. and Karen Plankton, where they both reside. It first appears in the episode "Plankton!"
The Chum Bucket is normally unable to compete with the Krusty Krab because it mostly serves awful and foul-tasting foods made from chum, so it rarely gets any customers. A running gag throughout the series is about Plankton's numerous attempts to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula to attract customers to his restaurant, all of which have failed, except in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
Although both Plankton and Karen operate the restaurant, episodes such as "Krabby Road" and "Plankton Gets the Boot" show that Karen is the one in charge of the building. She has used her authority to kick Plankton out of the Chum Bucket on several occasions.
It is located directly across the street from the Krusty Krab, which is far more successful than the Chum Bucket. It is part of "Sheldon Plankton Enterprises, a division of No Fun Incorporated." The Chum Bucket's lack of business is not just because of the good food served at the Krusty Krab, but the result of awful and potentially poisonous food served at the restaurant.
The restaurant looks like a bucket with a giant blue glove holding on to the handle of it. Double doors are placed at the front of the structure. The design of the doors is similar to the way doors in hospitals and intelligence buildings are designed. It also has a drive-thru, as seen in the episode "Komputer Overload."
The Chum Bucket features a cafeteria, where food is ordered and eaten. A door in the cafeteria leads to the lab room in which Plankton has his pet Labrador retriever on a computer screen. From here, the doors lead to the actual laboratory, which is labeled as the "kitchen" from the outside. The laboratory is where Karen's wall form is situated. It is the main living quarters and the most commonly-seen area of the Chum Bucket. It is also where Plankton does his evil experiments and builds his inventions.
In Battle for Bikini Bottom, it is suggested that the Chum Bucket may have a much larger laboratory than what is on the surface. Plankton also has an office, where he sleeps and writes his evil plans to steal the Krabby Patty formula from Mr. Krabs. As revealed in the episode "Evil Spatula," Plankton has a room filled with different spatulas.
In "One Coarse Meal," Plankton sleeps on a block of metal with a blanket. However, Plankton and Karen are later shown to have an entire bedroom in "Bottle Burglars" and "Gary & Spot." They sleep in two matching twin beds with purple blankets on them. There are photos of ballet dancers on the wall behind them.
In "Komputer Overload," the Chum Bucket is revealed to have a hallway with a door on the right side and a water fountain on the left side.
In a deleted scene of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, the Chum Bucket's living room was going to be revealed. It features the same metallic walls as the rest of the restaurant, but Karen designed it to be much homier and welcoming. It has floral curtains on the windows, a purple plush carpet, a coffee table with a vase of flowers on top, and a comfy green couch. There are also framed photos of Karen and Plankton. The room did not end up appearing, but its design was recycled into their bedroom.
Plankton opened up the Chum Bucket the same day Mr. Krabs opened the Krusty Krab. It is not known why he opened his restaurant following these significant events, however, judging by his evil ways, it is presumed that Plankton wanted to rule the world and wanted to do this by stealing and selling the Krabby Patties, therefore bringing lots of people into the restaurant and ultimately ruling the world, as depicted in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
When the Krusty Krab first came into being, the Chum Bucket was somehow built and opened by Plankton, so that he could start stealing the secret formula and soon start an ever-lasting rivalry between the two restaurants.
A more plausible explanation of the simultaneous opening of both the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket was revealed in "Friend or Foe" where it is explained that as school pals, Krabs and Plankton were picked on by the "cool kids." Their only refuge is behind the popular local burger joint.
They must sit in the back so the cool kids still want to eat there. After being shut down, Krabs and Plankton buy the space. Then both Mr. Krabs and Plankton tell their versions of why they parted ways until Plankton's computer wife tells the real story. The burgers they were making were lousy and each blamed the other. They begin to fight over the recipe they have and who can improve it. The recipe rips in half sending Krabs flying into the shelf full of spices, which all fall in his patty mix.
Plankton storms out telling Krabs he would show him one day. This is how the secret recipe was born and the reasoning behind the bitter rivalry.
The Chum Bucket has been destroyed on numerous occasions.
"Imitation Krabs:" After the self-destruction system is activated, Plankton screams as he wheels back to the Chum Bucket but explodes when he gets inside.
"Spy Buddies:" Plankton invites SpongeBob and Patrick into the Chum Bucket building, but Patrick's laser pants become so destructible that it starts carving holes everywhere and destroys the Chum Bucket. Later, the floor opens up, and a blimp emerges with Plankton controlling it from the inside.
"Bucket Sweet Bucket:" The Chum Bucket was merely replaced with the Krusty Krab, and parts of it were used as decorations for the Krusty Krab. Near the episode's end, it is proven that the Chum Bucket was indeed destroyed: the Krusty Krab is fixed up to look fancy, and the fountain was sculpted from the material of the Chum Bucket's foundation. The swords and shields on the walls were made from the walls of the Chum Bucket.
"Spongicus:" Plankton destroyed it with a wrecking ball and replaced with a colosseum. Later, when trying to get away from the lion, he runs outside, but the lion punches a hole through it and creates a larger hole.
"Slide Whistle Stooges:" As Squidward is addicted to the slide whistling he gets behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and runs straight through the Chum Bucket, and afterward Squidward also ran into the Krusty Krab.
"Chum Fricassee:" Gets burned down by the angry customers when they learned Squidward was feeding them, undercooked chum.
"Move It or Lose It:" Gets destroyed after the bureaucrat fish accidentally hits "Reverse" on his bulldozer.
"Evil Spatula:" It gets destroyed after Plankton was fooled by Mr. Krabs into mixing a bunch of items that caused a major explosion.
"Shopping List:" Similarly to "Evil Spatula," it gets destroyed after Mr. Krabs fools Plankton into mixing the fake ingredients that end up making an explosion.
"Plankton Paranoia:" It gets destroyed in the end when Mr. Krabs placed a stick of dynamite in the bottle where the secret formula is.
"Karen's Virus:" Karen's virus causes her to destroy the Chum Bucket.
"King Plankton:" When sea chimps began invading the Chum Bucket, Plankton was forced to throw his restaurant far out in the distance to get rid of them.
In "The Krabby Kronicle," Health Inspector Andy Yellowtail arrives at the Chum Bucket to officially close it down because of what the Krabby Kronicle says in this front-page article: "Plankton's Chum Made of Your Chums!!! The Chum Bucket serves your friends in more ways than one!" Plankton and Karen are forced to watch as Inspector Yellowtail places the whole restaurant under lock and chains. It is later revealed that Krabs made this story up to sell his newspaper and Plankton lost the Chum Bucket in the process.
In "New Leaf," Plankton changes the Chum Bucket from a restaurant to a gift shop. He sold snow globes, stuffed toys, lava lamps, T-shirts, guitars, masks, mugs, lanterns, dolls, nets, plastic toys, and many other knick-knacks and gifts.
There have been several employees who have worked for the Chum Bucket.
Plankton (co-owner and founder) - He founded, owns, and runs the restaurant.
Karen Plankton (co-owner, manager, busser) - Alongside Plankton, she helps manage the establishment. Episodes such as "Krabby Road" and "Plankton Gets the Boot" show that Karen is the one in charge of the building. She has used her authority to kick Plankton out of the Chum Bucket on several occasions.
After Mr. Krabs lost a card game to Plankton in "Welcome to the Chum Bucket," he was forced to work for Plankton, who wants nothing less than a Krabby Patty. SpongeBob was later sold to the rival restaurant along with $50 after SpongeBob became too much of a nuisance for Plankton.
He was hired by Plankton five minutes before the Fry Cook Games after a dispute with SpongeBob. He abandoned the job at the end of the event after SpongeBob and Patrick both found out that they cared about each other.
Most recently in "Chum Bucket Supreme," Patrick worked as an advertiser for Plankton until quitting or retiring, according to Patrick.
Stanley S. SquarePants (presumably fry cook) - Mr. Krabs sent him to work there because he breaks everything he touches in the eponymous episode. Plankton, at first, thinks he is just as good as SpongeBob, but he winds up destroying the Chum Bucket.
Robot Patrick (invention) - On SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: Ride, Plankton creates a Patrick robot that steals a pickle from the Krusty Krab to get the recipe. However, the robot gets unplugged by the real Patrick.
Squidward Tentacles (painter and head chef) - Worked to design better of the Chum Bucket in "Bucket Sweet Bucket." He also worked there in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie under mind control. In "Chum Fricassee," Squidward quits the Krusty Krab and then works at the Chum Bucket selling the eponymous food item to customers. This plan falls through when Squidward learns that Plankton did not cook the food for exactly 24 hours which, in turn, according to Grandma Tentacles, will give customers "severe tummy aches."
Mr. Krabs Robot (invention) - The robot who looks like Mr. Krabs to help support the Chum Bucket.
Plankton's relatives - Assistants to steal the Krabby Patty formula.
Bikini Bottomites (mind-controlled minions) - in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Plankton controlled everybody in Bikini Bottom with evil bucket-control helmets.
Cave dwellers - In the episode "Chum Caverns," the Cave Dwellers were hired by Plankton to sell his chum in the beautiful caverns. One of them eventually worked for the Krusty Krab at the end of the episode.
In "CopyBob DittoPants," Plankton hires numerous SpongeBob SquarePants clones in order to get the secret formula. However, they forget the plan after they encounter the original SpongeBob. Plankton used cheap toner, which causes the SpongeBob copies to disappear, causing his plan to fail.
The Chum Bucket usually barely has any customers due to Plankton's poor-quality food and because the Krusty Krab is much better than his failing restaurant.
At the beginning of the episode "Enemy In-Law," a giant Plankton-shaped robot named Chum-Bot kidnaps citizens of Bikini Bottom and deposits them into the Chum Bucket so that Plankton can sell them his food.
In the episode "New Leaf," Plankton says that the only customer was a rat that died when it ate Plankton's food even though rats cannot survive underwater since it would be impossible for a land animal to survive underwater.
However, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was the only time that the Chum Bucket was highly popular. A series of incidents planned and caused by Plankton led to the near-execution of Mr. Krabs by King Neptune. This left Plankton to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and sell Krabby Patties, therefore filling the void left by the Krusty Krab. Plankton even sold bucket helmets, only to turn the wearers into his robot slaves as soon as Squidward Tentacles threatened to expose his evil plans.
Plankton also lured customers in by hypnotizing Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and making them say they prefer the Chum Bucket in front of the Krusty Krab clientèle in "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob." In this episode, Plankton claims this is the first time he's had to serve food in the Chum Bucket to customers.
In "Greasy Buffoons", Plankton got customers that actually liked his food after soaking them in grease, resulting in a duel with Mr. Krabs over the grease until everyone got sick from eating so much greasy chum and Krabby Patties.
In the episode "Plankton's Regular," it seemed as if Plankton had a "regular" customer, Peterson Nat Tucker, who liked his Chum on a Stick. However, it was later revealed that Karen paid him to eat the chum so that Plankton would stop complaining about his business being unsuccessful. Nat gives Karen back the cash and then gets carried out of the Chum Bucket to get his stomach pumped.
In the episode "Chum Caverns," Plankton opened an underground restaurant which was also highly popular. The scheme operated on the fact that the customers were so taken by the scenery that they paid no mind to the food.
Sometimes in episodes like "Your Shoe's Untied," when something bad happens, a customer shouts that they will eat at the Chum Bucket. Whether they do or not is unknown.
In the episode "Chum Fricassee" Squidward quits his job at the Krusty Krab and goes to work for Plankton. He then uses his grandmother's recipe to make chum taste good which nearly causes Mr. Krabs to go out of business. Though this could count as karmic punishment due to Krabs' poor treatment of his workers.
Plankton has various ways to advertise the Chum Bucket. Like the Krusty Krab, many billboards are advertising the Chum Bucket on Sand Mountain. It is revealed in the episode "Enemy In-Law" that Plankton has a telephone directory ad in the Bikini Bottom Yellow Pages. The restaurant's slogan is Eat or Die! He paid a lot of money for that ad. In "SpongeBob's Last Stand" there's a billboard that says the Chum Bucket's past logo Chum is Fum. Also in "Gary's New Toy," there's a bench with the Plankton on the Chum Bucket's phone number. Chum Bucket's phone number is 1-800-EAT-CHUM(1-800-328-2486). The bench is by the bus stop. In "Plankton Paranoia," he is shown to have a commercial on TV.
When Karen suggested advertisement, Plankton had "came up" with the idea and made a sign on his restaurant that read "CHUM IS METABOLIC FUEL." It gained no attention from any customers but customers came when Patrick changed the sign to Chum is Fum. When the success started with a batch of customers, Plankton hired Patrick to create slogans and was Plankton's entire "marketing department." Later on, the second slogan was so successful that the billboards began to advertise the Chum Bucket. One day customers got tired of saying 'Chum is Fum.' Plankton tells Patrick the Chum Bucket needs a new slogan. After three days Patrick thinks of the slogan 'Fum is Chum,' which customers also liked. Then, Patrick resigned and an angered Plankton started revealing his true hatred on his customers which made him lose his customers, thus undoing what his slogans created. Strangely, one billboard with the slogan was present in "SpongeBob's Last Stand."
All of the food served at the Chum Bucket begins with the word "Chum" (except for Raspberry Tea, Bran Muffin, and Prune Danish), where the name of the restaurant comes from. Only after King Neptune accused and froze Mr. Krabs for stealing his crown when it was Plankton's fault, did he start selling the delicious Krabby Patties here... but only briefly. Plankton has absolutely no talent in cooking whatsoever, with whatever he cooks being foul-tasting at best and coming to life at worst (in two episodes, however, Plankton succeeds in getting customers, in which eat the chum on their own). Of course, Plankton is completely oblivious to this and considers whatever he makes to be good, such as calling a dish that melted the cooking pot and the floor "delectable". It is revealed in the episode "Spongicus" that Chum is made out of jellyfish squeezings, whale blubber, seahorse snout, and a sprinkle of anchor rust. Also, under the large version of the menu in the cafeteria is a sign that says, "WARNING."
In the episode "Chum Bucket Supreme," it is revealed that the chum is so foul that even Plankton himself won't eat it (he fakes eating it by making a chewing motion while moving the Chum behind his head, thus, giving the poor illusion it is shrinking as he eats it, and Karen is ridiculed). In "Free Samples," it is revealed that Patrick Star is the only one who can eat chum compare to anyone else who eats it. In "Chum Caverns," Patrick ate a lot of Plankton's Chum which means he is the only one who loves eating chum, though he does not know his chum is located in the Chum Bucket.
Chumburger - the chum burger was invented by Plankton after he split away from Mr. Krabs. This was the very first item. The first customer to try was one of Plankton's classmates, Big Johnny.
The Analyzer: An hour-glass shaped device that will determine the composition of an object placed inside it and show the results on Karen's screen. It was seen in Plankton!, where it analyzed seaweed (50% Sea, 50% Weed) and Plankton (1% evil, 99% hot gas). It also made an appearance in "One Coarse Meal" but was renamed the "TransMutator."
Plankton Robot: A giant robot used to steal Mama Krabs and also snatch people and place them in the Robot.
Robot Krabs: A Mr. Krabs-shaped robot built by Plankton in Imitation Krabs to obtain the Krabby Patty formula. It was subsequently destroyed due to its coin-operated self-destruct feature. It was also seen briefly in New Leaf and Spy Buddies.
Switch Lives Just to Know What It's Like-O-Mogrifier: An invention that will let Plankton switch with a dolphin, mermaid, jellyfish, or a crab as seen in the episode: The Algae's Always Greener.
Sandy Robot Exoskeleton: A crude robot made by Plankton in "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy." It was made using Sandy's stolen fur pelt as its skin. Plankton attempted to use it to steal the Krabby Patty recipe but was stopped by a furious, hairless Sandy, who then took back her fur pelt. Its fate remains unknown.
Eye Scanner: Briefly mentioned in a Nick Magazine comic, this security scans all visitors to see if they are one-eyed, like Plankton. It has not appeared since.
Plankton's Death Robot: A robot that was seen in "Eek, An Urchin!" Plankton used this robot to try and destroy the sea urchin but ends up wrecking the Krusty Krab instead. The Death Robot was destroyed by Mr. Krabs after it attempted to destroy his cash register.
Majestic Sizzlemaster: A special type of spatula that was seen in the episode "Evil Spatula." Plankton used this spatula to try and get the secret formula out of SpongeBob. The plan was foiled by Mr. Krabs, however.
In the Brazilian dubbing of the series, Chum Bucket has three names: "Balde Camarada" (Chum Bucket) "Balde de Lixo" (Garbage Bucket), and "Cesto de Lixo" (Garbage Basket). However, the name Balde de Lixo is used in almost the whole series, while Balde Camarada is heard a few times, and "Cesto de Lixo" was only used in "F.U.N."
The Portuguese "Balde Camarada" literally translates "chum" as "friend" ("camarada," as in "comrade"), rather than the usage of chum originally intended by the English name. This could explain its infrequent usage.
The Chum Bucket is deemed the worst restaurant in Bikini Bottom.
It is also the filthiest restaurant in Bikini Bottom.
In "Free Samples," it is revealed that Patrick is the only one who can eat chum compared to anyone else who eats it. And in "Chum Caverns," Patrick ate a lot of Plankton's chum which means he is the only one who loves eating chum, though he does not know his chum is located in the Chum Bucket.