Red Robin Begins Search for Creative Partners

LOS ANGELES Approximately six months after naming Dwayne Chambers vice president of marketing, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is searching for agencies to handle print and radio creative projects, Chambers said.

The Greenwood, Colo.-based casual dining chain ended its relationship several months ago with its advertising agency of six years, McClain Finlon. Recent work from the independent shop in Denver centered around the theme of “Burger love.”

Since joining Red Robin from Sonic Drive Ins, where he was vice president of marketing, Chambers said his marketing department has doubled from six to 12 employees and is functioning much like an in-house agency. “We don’t want to rely on that,” said Chambers. “We want to look at other resources. We’re looking on an individual project basis for best-of-class providers.”

Red Robin has not set a budget or time frame for awarding projects, said Chambers, adding that since he joined the company, he has received calls from at least 200 agencies.

“The people we do business with have to be centered around our company’s values,” said Chambers, who added that the company wants to share with an agency “the desire to have integrity and honesty and seek knowledge and have fun.” Red Robin is also looking to work with shops that have experience working with casual dining chains, he said.

With 215 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, Red Robin spent nearly $2 million on ads in 2002 and less than $1 million through September 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Red Robin also works with Summus in New York, which handles research, Medina in Denver for media planning and buying, Xylem in Denver and New York for Web assignments, Fishbowl in Alexandria, Va., for e-marketing and Linhart McClain Finlon in Denver for public relations, said Chambers.