Rockin Robin.

Last Friday night, Nancy and I went out for supper. Hope was coming back from a choir trip, Andrew was working at the soccer field and so we decided that something good and simple was appropriate.

So we went to Red Robin.

If you’ve looked at my flickr account, you’ve see pictures of our family celebrating birthdays at Red Robin. They have a birthday club, where you get a free burger. Because Nancy and I can often split one, that ends up being a pretty cheep cheap family meal.

This time, we decided to just go, no coupons.

What happened next is probably best taken from the message I sent on their customer comment site:

Kyle was great. He was the host and then turned into our server. However. my wife’s schroom burger, ordered without the bun, also came without the shrooms. (They also seemed to be canned and too briefly sauteed.) Kyle took it back and got the shrooms. My banzai burger, ordered with no pink, came with plenty of pink. We got kyle (who was carrying supplies to the front) who took it back to get a new burger. He checked with us to see if it had arrived (after my wife had finished her burger) It hadn’t arrived so Kyle went back and brought it out. He did great, and was very gracious. However, whatever was happening that was both keeping him that busy AND messing up both of our orders isn’t great. We end up there maybe half a dozen times a year (including birthdays). You usually do great. I wanted to let you know about this one. thanks.

As you can tell, I’m not a very good complainer. Too nice. However, the messed up burgers were making the server look bad.

I sent the message Friday night and got back the automated reply.

Monday morning I got an email back.

Hi Jon,

Thank you for stopping by our website and taking time to comment. We appreciate your feedback. At Red Robin we try to exceed every guest’s expectations by providing a great dining experience and unfortunately, it looks like we very much let you down.

We will do whatever it takes to make your experience right and we will learn from our mistakes… Your email has been forwarded to the General Manager and the Regional Operations Director for this Red Robin restaurant and they should be contacting you shortly.

Then Nancy got a call from the manager who was very apologetic.

On Tuesday morning, we received by overnight delivery, a gift card for more than twice our order and an apology and the general manager’s business card and cell phone number. The letter said to ask for the manager when we came in.

On Tuesday night we went back, but there was no way we were going to announce that we were the complainers.

Our order was taken…and read back to us.

There was an error on one of the meals, noticed and immediately fixed.

And the giftcard covered everything, including the tip.

Living out what they believe

On their website, Red Robin has a clear statement of who they want to be:

About Us
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., was founded on four core values: Honor, Integrity, Continually Seeking Knowledge and Having Fun. These core values are the foundation for every Red Robin decision from creating its mouthwatering gourmet burgers to hiring energetic Team Members and even to deciding new restaurant locations. They also are the foundation for how the company treats its Team Members, Guests and communities. Red Robin’s core values can be found embroidered on the sleeve of every Team Member’s uniform, which serves as a constant reminder of what makes the company unique and special.
The only way those values can have any significance is if they come off the page–or off the sleeve–and end up translating to service. In our experience, here’s how they do that:
1. Free burgers.
2. They sing for birthdays–but they are very happy to NOT have to sing, to just celebrate quietly.
3. They consistently relate well as servers, not overly bubbly, but friendly.
4. When they have this kind of critical comment, they respond in an over-the-top way, by management. Email, phone call, letter, gift card–that for me is amazing.
5. The interface between corporate and local works. I commented to corporate and got a local response, two miles from our house.
I can handle mistakes–when the process of fixing them works. So thanks for the dinner, Red Robin. We may come back for full price.

3 responses to “Rockin Robin.

  1. I’m sure the fact that you complained nicely helped make it easy for them to follow through on what they believe.

    This makes me think of a prayer that Joel DeSelm prayed one time that has stuck in my mind: “God, help the way I live make it easy for my kids to believe.”

  2. Thanks for the great story. You are fortunate to have such a nice restaurant so close to your house.