GREENWOOD VILLAGE Colo. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. said Thursday it plans to serve only cage-free eggs in its more than 300 corporate restaurants by the end of next year, a move that follows others, like Wendy’s, Hardee’s and Burger King, which each have pledged to incorporate animal welfare and environmental policies in egg purchasing.
Red Robin, the owner or franchisor of more than 425 restaurants in the United States and Canada, including its 300 corporate locations, worked with the Humane Society of the United States to develop its cage-free policy. The casual-dining company also is working with pork suppliers to phase in gestation crate-free pork at company locations, according to the Humane Society.
The society has campaigned against confined living spaces for hens and animals, and has criticized restaurant operators for supporting the practice it considers cruel and inhumane.
“The Humane Society of the Untied States applauds Red Robin for joining the national movement away from cruel battery cages,” said Paul Shapiro, senior director of the Humane Society’s factory farming campaign.
Red Robin expects to have approximately one-third of all its eggs purchased from suppliers who do not use battery cages by next month, the company said.
“We recognize that the elimination of battery cages in egg production has become increasingly important in the communities we serve,” said Susan Lintonsmith, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Red Robin.
This spring, Wendy’s, a fast-food chain with more than 6,600 restaurants worldwide, joined other fast feeders in switching to cage-free eggs. Meanwhile McDonald’s Corp., which has about 14,000 restaurants in the United States and more than 32,000 locations worldwide, announced last month, plans to work with animal welfare groups, academics and suppliers to study housing alternatives to hens, including cage-free setups.