Red Robin to stop using MrBeast Burger, other virtual brands

The chain is turning its focus inward as part of a turnaround effort, said CEO GJ Hart. It's one of MrBeast Burger's largest fulfillment partners.
Red Robin sign
Red Robin wants to focus more on Red Robin and less on secondary concepts. | Photo: Shutterstock

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is getting out of the virtual brand business.

The 500-unit chain will no longer use delivery-only add-ons like MrBeast Burger in its restaurants as it focuses more on its own concept.

“We’re gonna be focused on the Red Robin brand,” CEO GJ Hart said in an interview this week. “We are exiting all the virtual brands.”

That includes MrBeast Burger as well as three brands Red Robin created: Chicken Sammy’s, The Wing Dept. and Fresh Set.

But the move will primarily affect MrBeast Burger, the large, delivery-only burger brand tied to famous YouTuber MrBeast. Many of Red Robin’s restaurants used the brand as a supplementary revenue stream, making it a key partner for the roughly 2,000-unit MrBeast Burger.

It’s the latest setback for MrBeast Burger, which is also facing a crisis of confidence from MrBeast himself. In now-deleted tweets last month, MrBeast criticized the brand for a lack of quality control and said he was “moving on” from it.

Despite that issue, MrBeast Burger has continued to perform well for Red Robin, Hart said. But it has taken away some focus from the core brand.

“MrBeast has not fallen off,” he said. “It’s all about Red Robin and being the best it could be and bringing it to relevancy.”

However, the burger chain is maintaining its co-branding collaboration with Donatos Pizza, selling pies for both on and off-premise consumption.

Red Robin joins a number of other chains that are shelving virtual brands in an effort to simplify operations. Chili’s, for instance, has de-emphasized its It’s Just Wings brand and is phasing out a second one, Maggiano’s Italian Classics, altogether. Applebee’s is also moving away from its Cosmic Wings brand. 

Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin is in the midst of a turnaround effort under Hart, who has revamped the chain’s C-suite and made major changes to its labor model and menu—including reformulated burgers cooked on flat-top grills.

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