What You Should Know Before Eating At Red Robin Again

What You Should Know Before Eating At Red Robin Again


With its over 560 locations between the U.S.
and Canada, Red Robin is a pretty recognizable establishment, but no matter how many times
you’ve been there, there are plenty of things you probably don’t know. Red Robin’s specialty wasn’t always delicious
burgers, and they weren’t always called Red Robin. The chain was originally named Sam’s Tavern,
after its owner, Sam, whose last name has seemingly been lost to time, when it opened
in the 1940s. According to Red Robin’s history, Sam sang
in a barbershop quartet. He had a particular love for the song “When
the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along).” That song eventually led him to change the
name of the tavern to Sam’s Red Robin. The original location sat close to the University
of Washington campus in Seattle, and it was mostly a college hangout until it was transformed
into the burger-slingin’ restaurant we all know today. A man named Gerry Kingen bought the tavern
in 1969 and a few years later, slowly started adding food to the menu. He completed a remodel and reopened with a
bang. Thanks to all that change, you can’t actually
visit the original location now. It was closed in 2010 after the building was
deemed too much of an investment to get the old structure up to par with other restaurants. In 1979, business was going well for Kingen
and his burger joint as it grew in popularity among University of Washington students. The spot proved to be a popular hangout for
many, including the two customers who launched the company’s first franchise. Red Robin regulars, brothers Mike and Steve
Snyder, loved the restaurant so much they opened the first franchise in Yakima, Washington. The following year, the up-and-coming chain
expanded into Portland, Oregon to open its second location. It just continued to grow from there. In 2000, the Snyder Group merged with Red
Robin, and together they opened the chain’s 150th restaurant, continuing their nationwide
expansion. Red Robin continued to grow, opening another
100 locations in the next four years. “Red Robin!” “YUM!” There’s still an operational Red Robin in
Yakima, but not in its original building. The original franchised location was remodeled
into a shopping plaza, and a new Red Robin building was constructed in 2014 not far from
the original. After the full-service burger joint continued
on its winning growth spree, the management decided to kick it up a notch. Red Robin announced its “fast-casual” model,
introducing the new brand Burger Works in 2011. The model seemed like a great fast food idea. It offered a Build Your Own Burger menu, with
the option of beef or chicken, along with 13 free topping options and 10 “fancy” options
that came at an extra cost. The chain also served fries, as well as beer
and wine. Plus, menu items were offered at a lower price
point than those at big brother Red Robin. The first location opened in Denver, Colorado,
but it didn’t last long. After opening a total of 12 Burger Works locations,
Red Robin decided to call it quits in 2016, closing nine of those locations and re-branding
the remaining three as Red Robin Express. With the focus of gourmet burgers on the menu,
Red Robin has constantly introduced new combos to impress their burger-loving guests. Thanks to frequent additions of something
new and craveable, there are more than two dozen burgers on the menu today. Over the years, Red Robin has taken inspiration
from a number of places, including the minds of young cooks. Red Robin hosted their Kids Cook-Off contest
annually for a few years, with the first competition held in 2006. In 2007, 11-year-old Joey Yarwick won the
prize with his “Au Brie Burger,” featuring melted brie cheese and au gratin potatoes
on a toasted croissant. The burger was put on the menu the following
summer for Red Robin guests to try. The following year, Charlie Beckett, a 7-year-old
from Idaho, made up the “Holy-Peno Burger,” featuring Pepper Jack cheese and jalapenos. That burger isn’t on the menu, but Red Robin
still features a Burnin’ Love Burger with Pepper Jack and fried jalapeno coins. The last mention of the contest in Red Robin’s
history listing the winners was in 2010 when 12-year-old Donovan Duggins won the grand
prize with his “Mt. Vesuvius Burger.” Since then, it appears the Red Robin test
kitchen has taken recipe development into their own hands. The registration website for the contest is
now defunct. If you pay close attention to Red Robin’s
history, you may have noticed that the chain launched a “secret menu” in 2011. And while a secret menu for chains like In-N-Out
means a whole bunch of cult favorites, for Red Robin it really just means ultimate customization. With the launch of the Red Robin iPhone app,
as well as online ordering, guests were given the opportunity to customize pretty much any
burger to their liking. Choosing a bacon cheeseburger through the
menu system, for example, would give you the option to choose from seven different types
of cheese. The options go even further than just cheese
variations, though. A variety of ingredients can be added on as
well, including an extra patty, avocado, sautéed onions, an egg, and much more. While their app is no secret, Red Robin did
try to launch one menu item based on word-of-mouth alone on New Year’s Day in 2015. The “Cure Burger,” named because it was billed
as a hangover cure, was topped with a sunny-side up egg, bacon, and chili. The burger was only mentioned through media
coverage, social media, or word of mouth. Even if you missed out on the Cure Burger
back then, though, you can still make your own version today through the app. One of Red Robin’s most popular claims to
fame is its bottomless fries. And while some may think it was a recent gimmick
to attract more customers, it’s actually been going strong for decades. In 1994 the chain introduced their bottomless
steak fries concept, allowing guests to eat as many fries as they possibly could with
their burger. Some guests take it even further and request
an appetizer of fries to come out first before their main meal. “That’s the joy of bottomless steak fries
at Red Robin.” But bottomless steak fries aren’t the only
thing you can consume absurd amounts of. You can also order bottomless garlic fries
or sweet potato fries for a slightly higher price. Or, if you’re watching your waistline, bottomless
broccoli is an option as well. Burgers aren’t exactly known for their healthy
qualities, but one Red Robin meal turns out to be particularly bad for you. In 2014, a Red Robin dish took the title of
the unhealthiest meal combination in America. The meal essentially combines the most unhealthy
options on the Red Robin menu, including the “Monster” double burger, paired with bottomless
fries and a milkshake. It all adds up to a whopping 3,540 calories. The daily recommended amount of calories is,
on average, 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men. Luckily, there are lighter fare options at
Red Robin, as well as bottomless broccoli as a side. Because if you’re not careful, a meal at Red
Robin could easily set you back almost two days’ worth of calories. That’s probably true of most burger joints,
though, if you’re trying hard enough. There’s something special that makes the Red
Robin bottomless fries so crave-worthy, and it’s not just that they’re unlimited. The secret is actually in Red Robin’s signature
seasoning. Red Robin makes their own signature fry seasoning,
featuring a variety of ingredients. The seasoning combines salt, dried cane syrup,
sea salt, dried garlic, onion and tomato, paprika, yeast extract, and natural smoke
flavor. The ingredients list also mentions “spices”
in the mix, but we’ll never know what that means. It is, after all, a special proprietary blend
only used in Red Robin locations or sold online. And while we don’t know the exact proportions
of the seasoning’s ingredients, we do know there’s a whole lot of salt in the mix. So, be careful as you’re chowing down. Basket after basket of those fries can really
add up with that seasoning. Despite the failure of their Burger Works
fast-casual experiment, Red Robin has had success in introducing to-go options and catering
menus. They didn’t introduce their online ordering
and catering until 2017, but it has continued to grow in popularity ever since. The catering menu features a variety of platters
with wraps and sandwiches, along with salads and sides such as mac and cheese and boneless
wings. But the real winner in the catering category
is the Red Robin Burger Bar, which allows you to pick up a catering package complete
with ten or more burgers. Each burger is made-to-order in terms of the
cheese and the bun, but the Burger Bar package also allows for ultimate party customization. Red Robin packs up all of the toppings for
you, including the typical lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. But to make sure that you can truly create
the Red Robin experience at your party, the package also includes toppings like bacon
and crispy onion straws. There’s also a selection of sauces, including
Chipotle Aioli or Bourbon BBQ sauces, thrown into the mix. Over the years, minimum wage spikes have not
been easy on Red Robin. To fight the increased costs, the chain launched
a slew of rash policy decisions that didn’t always work out. A lawsuit in 2015 eventually ended in a Red
Robin franchise paying out $1.3 million. The franchise named in the suit had allegedly
been requiring servers to share their table tips with employees in the kitchen who assisted
in food prep or expediting of orders. According to reports, the suit claimed Red
Robin paid servers between $2.83 and $3.33 per hour. The company then tried to claim tips would
make up the difference and bring the minimum wage up to $7.25. The kitchen workers were included in this
scheme through the shared tips. The suit was on behalf of the servers, who
were trying to recover their lost tip money from the franchise. But that wasn’t the only policy put in place
to combat the effects of minimum wage hikes. The chain eliminated the busser position from
all of its restaurants in 2018. At the time, it was predicted the change could
potentially save the company $8 million in 2018 alone. Unfortunately, the change resulted in longer
wait times for customers, ultimately dragging down customer satisfaction and numbers of
return customers. It’s no shock that Red Robin embraces the
burger-loving culture. After all, that is what they were built on
and they continued to run with it. But as more and more people are turning toward
plant-based eating, Red Robin took a stab at vegetarians in one of their commercials
that definitely backfired. “They even have a garden burger just in case
your teenage daughter’s going through a phase.” People were outraged. Representatives from the company noted that
Red Robin has had the Gardenburger and the BOCA Vegan burger for years. That didn’t seem to matter once the commercial
launched, though. After it aired, vegetarians everywhere felt
like their lifestyle was being mocked by the company. Vegetarians everywhere flooded Red Robin social
media in protest. Despite Red Robin’s many clever advertising
efforts, sales and guest counts were down after the first quarter of 2019. With both restaurant income and total guest
count going down, it was time for the company to make a tough change. According to a news release, Red Robin decided
to close 10 restaurants in May, 2019, as part of an urgent move to cut losses. The news of restaurant closures came after
the company had already stopped new restaurant growth in 2019. That means plans for growth in the future
are a little murkier, as Red Robin tries to reassess its locations. The company is still working to get back on
track in terms of both guest experience and revenue. Time will tell if it works, or if more closings
will follow. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
restaurants are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

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47 Comments
  1. Mr. King Kitty

    First..

  2. Vaithy M

    Hey mashed

  3. ramen elrayes

    Second

  4. Elephant Trunk

    Did they close some stores already? In dfw they have.

  5. D0MY_ D_SWEAT

    Third

  6. Passion for food

    I read you really don't want the be ROBBIN this place!

  7. sharon eldridge

    Never been as there's no RR in my City 👎🏾 maybe if I see one in my travels I might stop but food looks good

  8. G!

    I’m in Canada and they’re only available on the west coast. I’ve tried them and they are good, however not anything special.

  9. sharon eldridge

    Okay after watching more of this video how unfair they are to the employees who if it wasn't for them how could the business survive oh no won't be going

  10. Sam 93

    Know it’s junk food!!

  11. Cricket IV

    That burger with the egg, and chilli on it.. looks nastyyy

  12. Awoopa_ Paul

    👍

  13. OsamaBinGlockin

    Stop with the tip culture

  14. rrrrr

    Bottomless Broccoli? Who knew? Thanks Mashed. (5:11)

  15. Rory

    if they were a better restaurant they would be able to pay their employees a living wage and not screw over every other aspect.

  16. Blue Part Wolf

    20th!

  17. Keon Hobgood

    Add them to the list of companies that won’t survive this Corona outbreak.

  18. DoverPipes

    "What You Should Know Before Eating At Red Robin Again" What? That their food and service usually sucks?

  19. hayesman76

    I’ll be honest I enjoy eating at Red Robin but — as with a number of other U.S. chain restaurants such as The Olive Garden and Cheesecake Factory, which I also enjoy — I increasingly find their food to be bland, almost tasteless. The funny thing is, I definitely am not even a fan of overly-spicy (especially hot-spicy) food at all. Looks-wise their offerings are fine; unfortunately, though, it’s just soooo bland. Again, I’m finding this more and more with many if not most American chain eateries. For that reason I’m leaning towards focusing on eating at home or else at traditional Mom & Pop restaurants where, hopefully, the food hasn’t been neutered to the point of removing all flavor. Does anyone else think the food at American chain restaurants is getting blander and blander?

  20. badboys239730

    Please do one on Bonefish Grill!!!!!

  21. chip block

    I have eaten there three times over 15 years at three different locations and each time my burger came out way overcooked and dry and the fries barely warm. The last time I tried them was about five years ago.

    I know what the cooks are doing to my burger and any one that has worked in a restaurant and is properly trained would never do. That is, after placing the meat patty in the grill the cook will press the patty down with a spatula and then flip it and press it down again. To speed things up the cook will often place a weight on the patty. What all of this does is squeeze out a lot of the juices that makes the patty more tasteful and juicy. Its not the way one should treat a meat patty!

  22. Roger Holloway

    Attention: I HATE Red Robins fries, that is all.

  23. solodolo.e

    I forgot they existed

  24. Has 92

    I haven’t been there yet, so far what ive seen is that its a good place just sucky owners decisions.

  25. Johnay The Human

    Tbh this news makes me sad because the Burnin' Love burger is one of my all time favorite burgers from anywhere.

  26. Mark Crooks

    I have complete respect for people who choose not to eat meat but everybody is way too sensitive. The daughter going thru a phase commercial was funny. As far as RR goes I've only ate there once. I was not impressed.

  27. Dave Sandler

    Why do I need to know ANY of this (?) before going to Red Robin again ???

  28. phildirt3

    Changed the decor, too noisy, pass!

  29. The Himmler

    Fucking love red robin

  30. Roscommon man

    They are so hit or miss , a few times I went there was pretty good and other times it’s terrible, sometimes the fries are cold and taste rubbery

  31. gillenwat

    It would be nice if the place in pickerington ohio was clean. The bus fall apart. Very messy. Won't go back

  32. Yumeka 'Vadam

    The Red Robin near us was usually really good.. until 2 or three try ears ago. Went there for my birthday. They were out of buns, fries, onion rings and ice cream. Oh, and lettuce!!

  33. Mashed

    What's the go-to at Red Robin for you?

  34. Rachel Kretz

    I find the burgers dull and overpriced for what you get. The fries are o.k. but mostly because nowhere serves steak fry types around here. The restaurants around here are dirty and poorly managed. The last two times I've been in them, over a few years time, they were understaffed, noisy, with dirty tables left for service overturn several times. It's a shame because they have a niche, but they're poorly run.

  35. junior alvarado

    red robbins ok five guys has better burger tbh

  36. B B

    I just drove past a Red Robin in my area on the way to a pharmacy. The restaurant appeared to be shut down because of the virus.

  37. Grady Hall

    I DID’NT NEED A VIDEO TO AVOID RED ROBIN

  38. Craig Mintzlaff

    They need to get back to focus on the family dining…not the bars and alcohol focis…they lost focus on who got them so large. Stock to $2.50 this week

  39. Matthew

    A vegan offended!? why am I not surprised. If they’re not too busy being offended, they’re too busy blabbering on about how their vegan.

  40. Michael Bacon

    The last time I was there I found it overpriced and overrated.

  41. Michael

    Yeast extract. Ha. It is good old MSG.

  42. Micro Tasker

    How many of you like 5 Guys better like I do?

  43. Marky Mark

    All you can eat fries, they always throw 7 fries on your plate being so very skimpy on all you can eat fries and waitresses take forever to come back and get more for you on purpose..I no longer go at them prices and them being soooo skimpy

  44. John Coffey

    10dollars and more menu 10dollars less kid menu

  45. Chaos Gamer

    Please don’t go RR!!! I need your bottomless fries and your Royal Robin Burger 😭😭😭

  46. Blanco

    I’m sad that all you post is trash now:(

  47. Jim G

    Their burgers aren’t necessarily bad, but they try too hard to be creative with their menu. If you are a burger purist, and like Five Guys, In n Out, or Burger Fi, you will probably be disappointed by the vibe at Red Robin.

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