Red Robin tests delivery-only concept

Red Robin tests delivery-only concept

Downtown Chicago pilot offers catering as well

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. is testing its first delivery-only restaurant in downtown Chicago, the company said Monday.

The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based casual-dining chain said the new offering, called Red Robin Express, will offer the many signature menu items from the dine-in restaurant and also offer catering options.

The delivery-only restaurant is located at 328 N. Michigan Ave. in one of a dozen of Red Robin’s now-shuttered Burger Works, a five-year-old experiment that was terminated in fall 2016. Nine of the Burger Works units were closed and three were rebranded as Red Robin Express.

“As the demand for non-traditional dining and off-premise services continue to grow, downtown Chicago presented the perfect location for us to test our new delivery-only concept,” said Jason Rusk, Red Robin vice president of business transformation, in a statement.

Red Robin's new test location will offer many signature menu items such as Red’s Tavern Double, Royal Red Robin and Banzai burgers that are available in traditional restaurants. Guests will also be able to order from Red Robin's full catering menu, featuring such newer items as the Gourmet Burger Bar as well as and Pretzel Bites, salads, wraps, sandwiches and desserts.

Red Robin said its staff will deliver online and catering orders from the Chicago pilot location. The location will also offer third-party delivery through options like Amazon and DoorDash, the company said.

The company’s dedicated delivery website, www.redrobin.com/delivery, shows the option is also available at two units in Oregon and three coming soon to the Colorado cities of Broadmoor, Chapel Hills and Powers.

Denny Marie Post, Red Robin CEO and president, said in a Nov. 6 earning analyst earnings call that guest demand was shifting to off-premise, particularly home delivery, more rapidly than anticipated.

“This option blends guest's dining choices between quick-service, fast-casual and full-service restaurant — independent and chain — like never before, without consideration for convenience of location or that perfect corner,” Post said. “We are addressing these forces with creativity and urgency.”

Carin Stutz, Red Robin chief operating officer, said 191 Red Robin locations now offer delivery through a combination of third-party delivery companies.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 1, which included an income-tax benefit, Red Robin swung to a profit of $2.7 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.3 million, or 10 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenue in the quarter rose 2.3 percent to $304.2 million from $297.3 million in the same quarter last year.

As of Oct. 1, Red Robin had 565 restaurants. Of those, 479 were company-owned and the remaining 86 were franchised.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Operations
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