How Red Robin Bought Priceless PR for $11.50

Secret recipe: 'MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC'

It doesn't cost much for a brand to polish its image and generate lots of positive media attention. In fact, $11.50 will get you a ton of it. That's the amount Charles, the manager of a Red Robin restaurant in Apex, N.C., recently comped a very pregnant customer (she was actually overdue) when she stopped in for a meal with her husband and 2-year-old son. Charles deducted that amount and added the note "MOM 2 BEE GOOD LUC" to the bill. The atrocious grammar and spelling just enhance the "Awww" factor. Charles tells Consumerist that the way to make customers happy is to "listen to them, and make sure they leave feeling appreciated and valued. If our guests know we welcome their feedback, I think they'll talk with us and speak up … to say they had a positive and satisfying experience with us, and hopefully also to say they'll be back again soon." All the attention seems a bit overdone, but in these cynical times, when restaurant workers most often generate headlines for defiling salads and sandwiches, Charles's tale resonates, especially since it was a genuinely kind act, not some rah-rah commercial. Maybe the woman will name the kid "Robin." Works for a girl or boy. Bet she'd have a few more free meals coming her way.

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.