Bob Evans is a casual restaurant serving American cuisine.
You can find delicious comfort food like mashed potatoes and gravy along with freshly-salted fries.
Because Bob Evans is a casual restaurant that targets families, you may be in for a bit of a surprise when you look at the menu.
Some of their dishes can be quite expensive.
Considering Bob Evans isn’t too different from their competitors, you may wonder why their prices are so expensive.
Why Is Bob Evans So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of eating at Bob Evans can be as low as $3 for a breakfast platter to as high as $80 for a Farmhouse Feast.
Certain factors like the close association with farm-fresh food, expensive partners, and large portions all contribute to the expensive prices.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. American Values Costs
Bob Evans is aware that prices are surging everywhere.
The chain is also aware that families are struggling to feed themselves.
To make food more affordable, they launched the American Values program.
This program guarantees certain low prices on certain meals.
Some of their breakfast menu items, for example, start at $4.99, and they intend to keep them at that price.
Bob Evans also has several lunch options at low prices that they intend to keep low.
You can even get a 2-Pick Combo to make your lunch cheaper.
Finally, Bob Evans has the Dinner Bell Plate at $7.99 for dinner.
They also intend to keep that price the same.
This means that if you need a cheaper meal available, then Bob Evans has some options.
While these particular dishes are cheap, Bob Evans has to make up for any losses that they’re gaining from those dishes elsewhere.
To do that, their other dishes may be a bit more expensive than they were before.
By having higher prices on their other meals, they can afford to keep certain dishes at low prices consistently.
Bob Evans is expensive because their American Values program requires them to offset costs.
2. Works Directly With American Farmers
One of the things Bob Evans is best known for is their fresh food.
In particular, Bob Evans works with American farmers directly.
They partner with certain farmers throughout the United States to give them fresh food.
They also only work with American foods.
This makes Bob Evans expensive for a few reasons.
The first is that American farmers tend to cost more than foreign farmers.
Farmers in Mexico, for example, can shave down costs.
That allows them to sell their products at lower prices.
Bob Evans could buy those products and thus make their food even cheaper.
However, they don’t because they want to support local farmers.
It’s a value that’s very important to them.
Instead, they take on the expenses of doing business with American farmers.
A lot of American farmers they work with have been farming for years, too.
Some come from a long line of farmers.
Others are relatively new to the industry and are cutting their teeth.
Regardless, they all produce high-quality food that Bob Evans then buys.
American farmers can provide premium ingredients that the restaurant then uses in their kitchens.
Premium ingredients cost a lot of money, too.
The fact that Bob Evans works with American farmers exclusively means that if anything happens to American farmers, it will impact their prices.
Droughts, diseases, and other problems can occur to a farmer’s crops.
When that happens, a shortage occurs.
Bob Evans then has to pay more for those ingredients to get access to them.
As a result, they offset those costs by charging more for their meals.
Bob Evans is expensive because they get ingredients from American farmers.
3. Sustainable Farmers
Sustainability is something that matters to more and more people.
As climate change starts to make itself known in noticeable ways, businesses and consumers are looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions.
The food industry is one place that often struggles with the emissions it produces.
Farmers looking to stay relevant are taking on more sustainable practices.
Bob Evans has also taken sustainability seriously.
One of the standards they hold their partners to is whether they’re using sustainable methods or not.
If they’re not, it’s unlikely that Bob Evans will go through a partnership with them.
They’ll pass them over for a farm that is using sustainable methods.
That’s because their reputation is on the line.
If Bob Evans were to support unsustainable farmers, then eventually, their customers will either boycott the restaurant or just eat somewhere that does partner with sustainable farmers.
Sustainable farming is also another value that Bob Evans shares.
They believe that farmers need to care for the land as much as they take from it.
The problem with sustainable methods is that they tend to be more expensive.
Farmers usually have to use more expensive equipment or materials to ensure they’re not harming the land while farming it.
In regards to meat and eggs, it also means they’re practicing humane sourcing.
Those little details make running a farm more expensive.
Since running the farm is more expensive, the farmers charge more for their products.
Bob Evans then ends up taking on more costs to produce their dishes.
It’s the customer eating at Bob Evans that pays the final cost.
Bob Evans is expensive because they use farmers that practice sustainable farming which makes running the farm a bit more expensive.
4. Premium Ice Cream
While farms get a lot of attention at Bob Evans, they’re not the only business that the restaurant partners with.
Bob Evans knows that dessert is an important part of someone’s experience at a restaurant.
Those who eat dinner at a restaurant usually want a delicious dessert to top it all off.
Some restaurants tend to drop the ball when it comes to dessert.
They might serve lukewarm hotcakes or have cheap ice cream.
That isn’t the case at Bob Evans.
They want to ensure that their customers remember the dessert they had at the restaurant.
To do so, they partner with premium ice cream stores.
One such ice cream company they partner with is Velvet Ice Cream.
This ice cream company has been in business since 1914.
They’re particularly known for producing ice cream that has a unique, velvety, texture to it.
Its texture has become quite popular in the Midwest.
The ice cream parlor, in particular, is in Ohio and not far from the original location of the first Bob Evans restaurant.
It’s also a family-owned restaurant with the fourth generation currently running the business.
With all that history, there’s no question that they make premium quality ice cream.
That sort of ice cream doesn’t come cheap.
Since they ship over 5 million gallons of ice cream to Bob Evans, you can expect that the restaurant pays a lot of money to get the best ice cream possible in their locations.
Bob Evans is expensive because they use premium ice cream which adds to operational costs.
5. Farm-Fresh Focus
One aspect of business where Bob Evans differs from other casual-dining restaurants is their focus on farm-fresh food.
Farm-fresh food means that the ingredients come fresh from local farmers.
It follows the sort of farm-table philosophy of food.
With a farm-table philosophy, there are very few steps between the farm and your plate.
As a result, the food is fresh and tastes delicious.
Because Bob Evans partners with so many different farmers in the country, they have a consistent supply of fresh food.
However, this reliance on fresh food does make it more expensive.
For one, it means their food costs tend to be a bit higher.
It’s a lot easier to buy frozen food in bulk and keep it frozen for a while.
Since it’s frozen, the food lasts for a long time.
The restaurant saves on costs as a result.
The consequence is that the food tends not to taste as good.
Some food also ends up with a lot of preservatives in them to further help prolong the shelf life.
Bob Evans doesn’t want to rely on frozen food.
Instead, they provide fresh food.
Consistently delivering fresh food is also expensive for farmers.
They need to time their harvests to ensure they sell to Bob Evans consistently.
That usually means they have to keep buying fertilizer and other materials to keep their plants growing.
Farms that grow in places that experience cold temperatures may have to face other problems or costs.
For example, they won’t be able to grow outside during the winter.
They might use greenhouses to grow during the winter months.
Greenhouses have their own costs that add to the farmer’s operations.
Overall, farm fresh food is more expensive to source.
Bob Evans is expensive because they use farm fresh food.
6. Grade A Honey
You can usually tell the difference between Grade A honey and lower qualities of honey.
Grade A honey is silky smooth and has incredible flavor.
It’s also the only type of honey that Bob Evans uses.
Honey is an important part of many of their dishes.
They serve biscuits with honey, add it to some meals, and even use it in some desserts.
Because honey is a staple in their restaurants, they need to get it somewhere.
The problem with honey is that’s usually quite expensive to source.
That’s because there are fewer honeybees in the world than there ever have been before.
Since 1962, the honeybee population has declined by 90%.
A combination of pesticides and climate change is to blame.
Before regulations were in place, farmers were able to use pesticides that killed a large number of insects.
They didn’t discriminate between harmful insects and beneficial insects.
As such, when they sprayed their crops with pesticides, honeybees often got in the crosshairs and died.
That, alone, significantly reduced their numbers.
When honeybees would feed on plants, trace remains of the pesticide would also kill them.
Climate change is another big factor pushing the decline of honeybees.
Bees are very vulnerable to changes in their environment.
The colder or warmer temperatures impact their livelihood.
Since there are fewer honeybees in the world, it means producing honey is almost more of a luxury these days.
Companies charge more for their jars of honey since there are fewer people providing honey.
Bob Evans then pays higher prices on honey to serve customers.
Bob Evans is expensive because of honey prices.
7. Grade A Eggs
Another food cost that is behind some of the higher prices at Bob Evans is eggs.
Eggs have become more expensive over the years.
A large part of that is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When restaurants closed due to the lockdown, chicken farmers found themselves with a ton of eggs and no one to sell them to.
They were losing money.
As such, some farmers had to cull their coops to keep from losing their business.
When lockdowns ended and restaurants opened back up, the demand for eggs skyrocketed.
Farmers then found themselves needing more hens to lay eggs.
The problem with that is that it takes time before hens reach the right age to start laying eggs.
This created a shortage of eggs that some farmers are still struggling with.
That then impacts the price of eggs because there are fewer eggs on the market.
Bob Evans doesn’t use just any type of egg either.
They only use Grade A eggs.
These are premium eggs.
They look the best, taste the best, and tend to provide a heartier meal.
Other factors, like chicken feed and water, also impact the cost of raising chickens.
Since farmers are experiencing higher costs, they’re also selling their eggs at higher prices.
Grade A eggs are already on the expensive side of the spectrum.
When farmers increase their prices, it means Bob Evans has to increase their prices, too, to offset their own costs.
Bob Evans is expensive because of the price of Grade A eggs.
8. Slow-Roasted Turkey
One of the best dishes Bob Evans has a reputation for is their slow-roasted turkey.
It’s one of the reasons why a lot of families end up going to Bob Evans for Thanksgiving.
One of the reasons their turkey is so good is that they slow-roast it for six hours.
That sort of attention makes Bob Evans expensive for a few reasons.
For one, it means they’re only able to cook a certain number of turkeys each day.
They won’t serve the turkey unless it’s sat in the oven for six hours.
Otherwise, their reputation gets stained.
That means there’s a shortage of turkeys that people can order.
If everyone who came into a Bob Evans restaurant ordered turkey, there’s a chance that there will not be enough for everyone.
Since there’s only so much it allows Bob Evans to put a higher price on their turkey.
In addition, their turkey slices are quite large.
You’re paying for a lot of meat.
Bob Evans is expensive because of how they cook their turkey dishes.
9. Large Portions
One of the biggest reasons Bob Evans is expensive is their portions.
In most cases, when you order something from Bob Evans, you can expect a plate full of food.
Bob Evans doesn’t shy away with their portions.
The meat is thick, the salad is large, and the fries come in big cuts.
That’s a lot of food you’re essentially paying for.
Since they give you so much food, their food costs are quite high.
As a result, they need to sell their dishes at high prices to make up for their losses.
Bob Evans is expensive because they sell large portions of food.
10. Labor Costs
A final reason why Bob Evans is expensive is because of labor costs.
Bob Evans doesn’t rely on tip culture as much as other restaurants.
Some of their locations pay their servers minimum wage, if not more.
Because they pay their workers higher wages than other restaurants, they have higher costs of operation.
Some Bob Evans restaurants also provide certain benefits like health benefits.
Those also add to their costs.
Since their costs are higher, they offset them with high prices on their menus.
Bob Evans is a casual-dining restaurant that serves farm fresh food.
Because of their focus on fresh food and large portions, their operational costs are high driving higher prices.