When it comes to Red Robin, it’s usually the catchy, “Red Robin, yummmmm,” commercial jingle that first pops in one’s mind.
Now the famous burger chain might have reason to change their slogan to, “Red Robin, awwwww.”
The Colorado-based chain of more than 400 restaurants is in the headlines for a good Samaritan act by one of its managers that, it turns out, is not all that unusual.
A manager at the Red Robin in Apex, N.C., paid it forward by comping the dinner of one very pregnant woman dining with her family.
As first reported by Consumerist, the manager joked with the woman, Amie Sivon, a local attorney, about her Red Robin dinner possibly being her last meal before giving birth. When Sivon and her husband, Jason, dining with their 2-year-old son, got the bill, Sivon’s $11.50 meal had been deducted from their total, with nothing more said than a “MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC” note.
“The manager said nothing to us about it,” Jason Sivon told ABCNews.com. “We were already happy with the service so that action really blew us away. I looked at my wife and told her that I guessed we would be coming here more often.”
The now-viral story – told by Sivon to Consumerist only in hopes it would “make businesses see the value of being more personable,” he told ABCNews.com – is nothing out of the ordinary for Red Robin team members.
“These kinds of random acts of kindness in our restaurants are part of our culture,” said Kevin Caulfield, a Red Robin spokesperson.
“Our team members, day in and day out, will bestow these random acts,” he said. “They’re empowered to do special things for our guests to make the experience a great one for our guests.”
Caulfield – who confirmed that this specific random act was carried out by manager Charles Vann, a 7-year Red Robin employee, during a weekend dinner shift – says the tradition goes as far back as the company’s founding in 1969 and is now just part of the culture, not something they specifically demand of their more than 30,000 team members.
“It just evolved as part of the Red Robin culture and brand,” he said. “Any new team member quickly sees that bestowing these acts of kindness is really ingrained in the culture. They see the idea manifest every day and so it becomes part of the way that they serve the guests every day.”
The chain even has a section titled “Unbridled Acts” on its website devoted to the thousands of emails, phone calls, letters and comments they get each year from customers telling the company of their own personal encounter with a Red Robin random act of kindness.
The three featured on the website now – they’re rotated frequently to accommodate all the stories – highlight Red Robin employees who dug through trash to find a forgotten keycard, employees who pooled together $300 to replace money stolen from a left-behind wallet and employees who made a four-year-old girl’s waitress-for-the-day dreams come true.
“I can’t say enough that it’s just part of our culture,” Caulfield said. “Anything we can do to make the guest experience extra special and go the extra mile to make sure the guest experience is as memorable as it can be.”
While “unbridled acts” may be an everyday occurrence for Red Robin employees, the Sivons were so pleased with the restaurant’s generosity that, as predicted, the newly-expanded family returned to say thanks.
“We did go back to that Red Robin about a week ago and took our new daughter there,” Jason Sivon said. “The same manager was on duty, and we made it a point to say thank you to him and introduce him to our new daughter.”