Red Robin unit shuttered after hazardous situation with cleaning chemicals

The incident comes days after a Buffalo Wild Wings manager was killed after inhaling a noxious combination of floor cleaning agents.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Just days after an incident with cleaning agents killed a Buffalo Wild Wings manager and sickened more than a dozen others, a Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews unit remains closed after an apparent chemical reaction forced an evacuation Tuesday evening, the chain said.

Like the Buffalo Wild Wings incident, this one also occurred at a restaurant just outside Boston. Following the “apparent chemical reaction involving cleaning materials,” the Red Robin manager on duty evacuated all eight employees and all the restaurant’s guests from the unit, a chain spokesman told Restaurant Business.

The Red Robin in Woburn, Mass., remains closed while the incident is investigated.

“[It] will reopen only after clearance is obtained from the health department and other appropriate authorities,” a spokesman for the casual-dining chain said.

The precise cause of the chemical reaction is unclear.

Earlier this month, a Buffalo Wild Wings manager died and at least 13 people were hospitalized after chemicals used to clean the kitchen’s floor sparked an adverse reaction. Authorities believe an employee poured a bleach-based solution onto the kitchen floor after it had already been treated with an acidic agent, creating noxious fumes. The manager who died had attempted to scrape away the bleach with a squeegee, officials said.



Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


2 more reminders that the restaurant business is risky

The Bottom Line: Franchising is no less risky than opening your own restaurant. Just ask former NFL player David Tyree and the former president of McDonald's Mexico.


There's plenty happening at the high end of the pricing barbell, too

Reality Check: Decadent meal choices are also proliferating, for a lot more than $5.


Reassessing McDonald's tech deals from 2019

The Bottom Line: The fast-food giant’s decision to end its drive-thru AI test with IBM is the latest pullback away from a pair of technology acquisitions it made five years ago.


More from our partners