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Now that the school year is coming to a close, offers free burgers now to teachers and others who work with students. The free burger deal is for anybody who works for or with a school. Diners must show a sound school ID when ordering. The restaurant chain said the deal includes counselors, administrators, bus drivers as well as other educators employed by any level of school, from nursery school through high school and college. Retired teachers can get the free burgers as well having an ID.

Diners can choose from one of five Tavern Double burgers and bottomless steak fries. Burger options are the Cowboy Ranch Tavern Double and also the Taco Tavern Double. The burgers usually opt for $6.99. Simultaneously, executives detailed initiatives to offset the damage by repricing the burger specialist’s everyday-value menu and pushing for additional catering business.

Chain officials attributed the concept’s weak performance for the quarter ended July 15 to fewer guests dining on-site during peak periods, particularly at restaurants based in departmental stores. “The continued weakness inside our dine-in traffic caught us off guard, while it is impossible to parse just how much is a result of change in guest behavior and what is self-inflicted,” said CEO Denny Marie Post.

Red Robin’s fault is considerable, she indicated. Post explained that shoppers would view a crush of people waiting for tables and leave. Even if they stuck it, she continued, tables were turned slower, cutting into guest counts on weekends. “Seventy-5 percent of the losing of dine-in service came from peak periods,” she told financial analysts, as recorded in a transcript from

The glut, in turn, was the result of operational changes undertaken by Red Robin a couple of years ago, a recast known internally as Maestro, Post said. With installing a new kitchen display system, two bussing positions were eliminated from each store. The purpose of collecting dirty dishes was moved to servers.

“Unfortunately, we failed to execute this well at all. And it impacted us most during peak periods,” she said. “We have experienced both our wait time and the number of people walking away without being seated increase year over year.”

Guest-satisfaction gauges along with a surge in customer complaints pointed to some problem, but “we were lulled into complacency,” because ticket times improved, Post said. Overall, traffic was down .7%.

Upgrading hosts and hostesses.“Today, these hosts are required to do far more as our takeout and third-party delivery businesses grow,” Post said, noting that employees holding the task are usually very junior. “We are moving rapidly forward with required new host training and improved selection criteria.”

Increasing staff levels at peak times “to capture the unmet demand we have seen inside our restaurant lobbies,” Post said. Yet she noted that Red Robin continue to consider ways of reducing labor with the adoption of brand new technology, particularly in five Western states where labor pricing is increasing with a gallop. She did not name the states, but said that Red Robin has a preponderance of stores there.

Bolstering delivery and catering sales at mall units, which account for 16% in the Red Robin chain. Post also mentioned the possibility of trying new signage and location-specific deals to draw more dine-in patrons. In particular, she noted that Red Robin is forming a catering sales team to market the chain’s signature Burger Bar, a mini buffet for ofosii and offices, being a delivery option.

Trying alternative modes of promotion, such as reductions for people in Red Robin’s loyalty program. Post noted that $1.99 kids meals were offered through the quarter one day every week, to great effect.

Red Robin CFO Guy Constant stressed that this chain will not believe dine-in business was cannibalized by takeout and delivery, though he acknowledged, “we have almost no visibility to that as the third-party delivery proprietors don’t share their data.”

Although a lot of Red Robin’s Q2 woes were attributed to the drop-off in on-premise business, Post noted that a 2.6% decline in same-store sales was also a direct result the decline in the average check. At fault, she said, was the prosperity of the chain’s Tavern Double Burgers menu, a selection of burgers priced at the bargain rate of $6.99. The everyday-bargain items currently generate 15% of orders, up from 6% 2 yrs ago, when advertising was put behind the array. The mix was also raised by an increase of the menu during the quarter to five burgers, from your three which were offered during Q1.

Post explained the everyday value afforded from the menu has indeed drawn customers, but they tended to be current guests who traded down, instead of newcomers towards the brand. Responding, Red Robin will be different the costs of the burgers within the line, and will move cautiously on expanding the menu. If a burger is included in the Tavern menu, another will more than likely appear, Post said.