Rose Zhou / Lantern reporter
Red Robin is known best for its traditional, full-service Gourmet Burgers restaurants found nationwide. But with the beginning of a second chain, Red Robin’s Burger Works, it is aiming to establish itself within the quick-service restaurant industry.
College students are frequent customers of quick-service restaurants. This prompted Red Robin to open the second location of its new chain in the heart of Ohio State’s University District. The first location opened last year in Denver.
Burger Works opened in Columbus at 11 a.m. Monday at 1708 North High Street, across from the Ohio Union.
Monday’s grand opening of the restaurant featured no ribbon cutting or confetti. The company felt confident that its marketing approaches, which provided sneak peaks to prospective customers last week, would bring in business from Day 1. Between Thursday and Saturday, customers who signed up for the sneak peak received a free meal with an entree, side and a drink.
Nicole Dawning, a store manager at Burger Works reflected the store’s confidence in reaching its target audience.
“(They) are expecting to be pretty busy,” she said.
Burger Works features many of the classic burgers found at traditional Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurants, but features many new menu additions as well, including a build-your-own burger, chicken tenders, salads and milkshakes. Additionally, the Burger Works store features a Coca-Cola Freestyle dispenser, which gives customers the option of more than 100 soft drink choices.
“This place is a lot faster. Everything you’re going to get should be out within four to five minutes,” Dawning said.
When the clock struck 11 a.m., there were no customers inside or waiting outside of the store, but customers started arriving within the first half-hour. Many of those customers were OSU students, including a large group of about 20 first-year law students.
Nick Uzl, one of the law school students, said the fare was “really good quality for a cheap price.” The average check will be about $8.50, said Cassie LaBonte, associate marketing manager for Red Robin, in a Feb. 10 article in The Lantern.
Uzl said he liked that the restaurant “has a fast-food feel, but it is also more like a dine-in experience with them bringing the food to you and taking the dishes away.”
Burger Works is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.