Red Robin

Last Updated on May 5, 2020

May 3, 2020


Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews has a very simple slogan: YUM! Their mission is also simple: Make it fresh. Make it fun. Make it memorable. And above all, make ’em smile

So, how did a burgers and brew restaurant with a simple slogan and an equally simple mission get started. Well, let’s go all the way back to 1940.

Red Robin’s 541 US Restaurant Locations

In 1940, in Seattle, at the southern end of the University Bridge, there was a place called Sam’s Tavern. The owner, Sam, could frequently be heard singing his favourite song, When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along. This song was one that he sang in his barbershop quartet. He liked the song so much that he changed the name of his tavern to Sam’s Red Robin.

In the 1940s, Sam’s Red Robin was a
favourite hang-out of the University of Washington students.

In 1969, Sam sold Sam’s Red Robin to local Seattle entrepreneur, Gerry Kingen. Kingen dropped the “Sam’s” and the tavern became known as Red Robin. He continued to operate the business as a tavern for the first few years, but then added 28 different burgers to the menu. Not surprisingly, sales increased.

In 1979, regulars at the restaurant, Mike and Steve Snyder created The Snyder Group Company and become the first franchisees, opening a restaurant in Yakima, Washington.

In 1983, Red Robin adopted a mascot named Red.

By 1985, Red Robin had a chain of 175 restaurants. In that same year, the corporate headquarters was moved from Seattle to Irvine, California after CEO Kingen sold a controlling interest in Red Robin Corp. to Skylark Corporation of Japan. The headquarters was moved to the Denver Tech Center.

Canada gets a Red Robin in
Burnaby, British Columbia in 1985.

In 2000, Red Robin merged with the Snyder Group, and Snyder became president, chairman and CEO of the merged company. Snyder took the company public in 2002.

Sadly, the original Red Robin location closed on March 21, 2010, due to the high cost of maintaining the old building. It was demolished on August 28, 2014.

By 2015, the company had 538 restaurants with a revenue of US$1.25 billion.

And now, for the children: Red Robin added a line of fast service restaurants called Red Robin’s Burger Works, with locations in Washington, D.C., Illinois, Ohio, and Colorado.

October 3, 2019, Paul J.B. Murphy III was appointed as President, Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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