Sam’s Tavern opens near the University of Washington. Sam, the owner, is known to sing “When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along)” with his barbershop quartet. He loves the song so much that he changes the name to Sam’s Red Robin.
Sam’s is magically transformed from a tavern into the first Red Robin restaurant, which is perched on a Seattle hilltop in a 1,200-square-foot building. Although no actual magic is involved.
1973 - Jumbo beers, cellophane-wrapped sandwiches and popcorn on the menu are replaced with the Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger, the Bacon Cheeseburger and the Royal Red Robin Burger® (topped with a fried egg) make their first appearance. And the burger world is changed forever.
1979 - Red Robin regulars Mike and Steve Snyder create The Snyder Group Company and become the first franchisees of the brand, opening a Red Robin restaurant in Yakima. This sleepy Washington town will never be the same.
1980 - On its way to becoming “America’s Gourmet Burgers & Spirits,” Red Robin opens its first restaurant outside of Washington in Portland, Oregon. The dot has been officially placed on the map.
1983 - Red Robin hatches their colorful mascot, “Red.” Kids love this enchanting robin, while adults love that their kids love this enchanting robin.
1985 - Canucks rejoice as Red Robin crosses the U.S. border and opens a restaurant in Burnaby, British Columbia. Pretty cool, ’eh?
1985 - Skylark, a food-service operation in Japan, acquires a majority interest in Red Robin. Worldwide, the great taste of burgers trumps sushi every time.
1994 - Bottomless Steak Fries® become the new mainstay of every Red Robin restaurant, giving Guests free refills with their Gourmet Burgers. Idaho potato farmers add a night shift.
1996 - Red Robin cuts ties with Skylark, and the headquarters are relocated from Irvine, CA, to Greenwood Village, CO.
2000 - Red Robin merges with The Snyder Group, its largest franchisee, and in May, celebrates the opening of its 150th restaurant. Nationwide expansion continues since there are still parts of the U.S. that have never experienced Yummm®.
2002 - On July 19, Red Robin rocks NASDAQ. At $12 a share, the chain goes public, selling 4 million out of more than 5 million shares. It also enters into a three-year, $40 million agreement to fund more restaurants in the future, thereby proving that gourmet burgers really pay off.
2003 - Red Robin receives the Denver Business Journal's Dealmakers Award in the Retail and Restaurant category. Team Members’ enthusiasm is a mile high.
2003 - More hot NASDAQ action: 750,000 shares out of 3.4 million sold at a price of $26.50 a share. More money goes toward opening even more Red Robin restaurants. In the U.S., thousands of children are born who will never know a world without gourmet burgers.
2004 - The 250th Red Robin opens its doors. Also, Nation’s Restaurant News and Coca-Cola® present the restaurant with a People and Performance Award at MUFSO for employee recognition programs.
2004 - Red Robin shares skyrocket up to an impressive $32.36. Instead of celebrating with party hats and funny-shaped piñatas, the company uses its NASDAQ success to invest in future restaurants.
2005 - Red Robin receives Restaurant Hospitality’s Chain of the Year award as well as Restaurants & Institution’s Choice in Chains Crystal Award in the Burger category. Hundreds of bottomless Root Beer Float mugs clink in celebration.
2005 - Red Robin’s Unbridled culture is front and center in Times Square with a Freckled Lemonade® stand that gives away free signature beverages and Metro subway cards. We receive applause equivalent to that on Broadway.
2005 - If there’s a word that Red Robin appreciates, it’s “finalist.” Two impressive finalist nods come from the National Restaurant Association for the Restaurant Neighbor Award and ColoradoBiz Magazine’s top Company of the Year award.
2007 - President and COO Eric Houseman receives the Forty Under 40 Award from the Denver Business Journal while Red Robin wins an Excellence in Advertising on Television (EAT) award for their first TV ad campaign, “The Department of Deliciousness.”
2007 - Eleven-year-old Joey Yarwick’s “Au Brie Burger a la Francais” adds European flare to the second annual “The Next Gourmet Burger Kids’ Recipe Contest.” Upon winning, Joey dons a black beret, red neck scarf and simply says, “merci.”
2007 - “The Next Gourmet Burger Kids’ Recipe Contest” is a Gold Pick winner at the Colorado Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) award ceremony.
2008 - Red Robin’s 400th restaurant opens in Covington, Washington, on June 16. The people of King County warmly welcome Red Robin Royalty and sign up for our loyalty program in droves.
2008 - Ohio’s Milford Junior High School receives $20,000 from Red Robin and is named the 2007-2008 U-ACT® Champion School for promoting kindness. Milford students learn an important lesson. That kindness is not only cool, but it can really pay off.
2008 - Parents magazine includes Red Robin on their list of “10 Best Family Restaurants.”
2008 - Seven-year-old Charlie Beckett’s “Holy-Peño Burger” becomes the winner of the third annual “The Next Gourmet Burger Kid’s Recipe Contest.” The young chef promptly adds “dominating burger contests” to his list of hobbies.
2009 - Red Robin snags Best Burger in the Full-Service category of the national Zagat Fast-Food Survey.
2009 - Pittsburgh’s Word of God Catholic School receives $20,000 from Red Robin and is named the 2008-2009 U-ACT® Champion School for promoting kindness. Suddenly, the neighboring city of Philadelphia ranks second as the city of brotherly love.
2009 - Another year, another stack of gleaming awards. Red Robin wins a Gold Award from Restaurants & Institutions magazine for the Consumers' Choice in Chains Award in the Burgers category. And the U-ACT® Program is the Colorado state winner of the "Restaurant Neighbor Award” from the National Restaurant Association.
2009 - The fourth recipient of the newly christened “Kids’ Cook-Off” is nine-year-old Emma Potts. Her “Spicy Honey Glazed Bacon Burger” is so wonderfully sweet that anyone who tastes it can’t stop smiling for up to three hours.
2010 - Red Robin receives three awards from the PRSA Colorado Gold Pick Awards, a second Best Burger Award from Zagat, “Best Limited-Time-Offer” from Nation’s Restaurant News’ MenuMasters for their Southwest Ancho Chicken Salad, and the Restaurant Neighbor Award from the National Restaurant Association. In related news, Red Robin orders another trophy shelf.
2010 - Chief legal officer Annita Menogan is named one of the Lawyers of the Year by Law Week Colorado.
2010 - New York’s Amherst Middle School receives $15,000 from Red Robin and is named the 2009-2010 U-ACT® Champion School for promoting kindness. The roar of Amherst Tiger mascot could be heard for miles.
2010 - Twelve-year-old Donovan Duggins becomes the 2010 “Kids’ Cook-Off” grand prize winner with his “Mt. Vesuvius Burger.” Cheers erupted from the crowd.
2011 - Parents Magazine names Red Robin Gourmet Burgers as one of the “10 Best Restaurant Chains” in America. Red Robin locations nationwide experience a run on boxed crayons and booster seats.
2011 - Red Robin launches its first iPhone® app, where Guests can customize their meals based on personal taste and dietary preference. The secret menu officially begins.
2011 - Red Robin is named the Best Burger in the national Zagat Fast Food Survey’s Full-Service Category for the third year in a row. Can you say “hat trick”?
2011 - Salem Christian School in Crozier, VA, is named the U-ACT Champion School in recognition for their Unbridled Acts. As the Champion School, they received a $15,000 grant. In the true spirit of the contest, the winners waived their bragging rights.
2011 - Red Robin receives two gold awards at the Colorado Public Relations Society of America Gold Pick Awards Ceremony for the Red Robin Kids’ Cook-Off for “Marketing Consumer Products – Restaurants” and “Blogger Campaign.”
2011 - In September, Red Robin opens its very first fast casual Red Robin’s Burger Works® restaurant in Denver, Colorado, in Stapleton.
2012 - Very Important Beverage Executives (VIBE) recognizes Red Robin for the top Alcohol-Free Adult Beverage Program. The award was immediately celebrated with a round of Red Robin’s signature Freckled Lemonade.
2012 - Red Robin introduces Red’s Tavern Double, a fire-grilled double burger topped with American cheese, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato and Red’s Secret Tavern Sauce on a toasted sesame bun, for just $6.99 with Bottomless Steak Fries®. A penny-pincher’s dream.
2012 - Red Robin creates Tavern Styles! Guests can style up the Red’s Tavern Double for just $1 more. The launch of the Fiery Ghost Tavern Style marks the first use of the infamous ghost pepper in a casual dining restaurant chain – and subsequently, the first use of a Freckled Lemonade® as a fire extinguisher.
2012 - Red Robin shakes up Oktoberfest with the Samuel Adams Oktoberfest Milkshake, a blend of soft serve ice cream, Samuel Adams® Oktoberfest draft, vanilla and caramel. A Guest is heard exclaiming “ES IST WUNDERBAR!”
2012 - Red Robin receives Zagat’s Best Burger in the Full Service category for the fourth consecutive year. Our CEO coins the phrase “fourpeat.”
2013 - Technomic debuts its inaugural Chain Restaurant Consumers’ Choice Awards and Red Robin comes out on top as the winner of the Brand Image category for Full Service restaurants. Our ad agency is elated.
2013 - Red Robin is a first time sponsor of the Amstel Light Burger Bash at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Prior to the event, Luciana Page, a student at Florida International University, won Red Robin’s “Savory Scholar Award” earning her a $10,000 scholarship and the opportunity to serve her Korean Kalbi BBQ Burger at the Burger Bash.
2013 - At the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Red Robin awarded LT Burger’s Smashed Smoke Burger with Red Robin’s “Best of the Bash Award” including a $10,000 check and the chance for the burger to be served in Red Robin® restaurants later this year.
2013 - Red Robin is the first kitchen operator to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with a Certificate of Recognition for sharing our story and contributing to a healthier climate by encouraging others to save energy and money with ENERGYSTAR®.
2013 - Red Robin’s Corporate Support Office in Greenwood Village, CO, is named to The Denver Post Top Workplaces list in the Midsized Employers category. The list is comprised of the best places to work in the Denver-metro area based on team member feedback from an employee survey. Happily, there were no incidents of any arm twisting.
2013 - Red Robin begins to transform its restaurant with a newly designed experience and décor
2013 - Burgers and a Movie (BAM) launched with The Wolverine
2014 - Red Robin Celebrates its 500th restaurant opening
2014 - Red Robin’s Finest line is introduced – a super-premium line of truly exceptional burgers. It’s what 45 years of burger expertise has led us to
2014 - Red Robin celebrates its 20th anniversary of going Bottomless (Bottomless Steak Fries, sides and beverages)
2015 - Red Robin kicks off an exciting partnership with the Great American Beer Festival
2016 - Red Robin celebrates its 4th year in a row on the AllergyEats list of most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains
2016 - Let’s Burger campaign launched
2017 - Red Robin launches online ordering and catering
2017 - Named one of Forbes, America’s Best Employers of 2017 - #391
2017 - Named one of NRN’s 2017 Top 100 - #42