For more than 50 years, Red Robin is been recognized as the go-to destination to get gourmet burgers. Red Robin pairs casual-dining with quality burgers, craft beers, and uniquely seasoned French fries. They’re a well-known dining spot for families and friends. So if you’re looking for a gourmet burger place to franchise, set your sights on a Red Robin as a business opportunity.

How much does it cost to open a Red Robin? To franchise Red Robin, you’ll need a liquid capital of $750,000 and a net worth of $1.75 million. Expect the investment for this food chain to be around $1,865,000 to $4,115,000 that includes a franchise fee of $35,000.

Are you still interested in opening a Red Robin? Continue reading below for more information on this gourmet burger place that’s been around since the 1970s. Take our 7-minute franchise quiz to find out if this burger joint is right for your portfolio. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

Fees / Expenses Financial Amount
Liquid Capital $750,000
Net Worth $1.75 Million
Total Investment $1,865,000 to $4,115,000
Franchise Fee $35,000

Red Robin has not made their franchise financial requirements made known to the public so the fees mentioned are unofficial. But it is worth noting that total investments could reach millions based on our research. Expect royalty fees to range from 4% to 5%.

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

Red Robin’s sales reached billions in 2021. According to Macro Trends, Red Robin’s revenue for the year 2021 is $1.162 billion. This is considered an increase from their revenue in 2020 which was $869 million.

Red Robin Franchise Facts

Total Units 546
Incorporated Name Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc.
Franchising Since 1979
Industry Casual Dining Restaurant
Subsector Food and Beverage

Red Robin’s beginnings started in a small tavern located in Seattle, Washington. The owner, Sam, was known to be in a barbershop quartet where he apparently loved the song “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along” that he changed the name of the tavern from Sam’s Tavern to Sam’s Red Robin.

In 1969, Gerry Kingen bought Sam’s Red Robin and started putting food on the menu and calling the place a “Grownup’s McDonalds”. Unfortunately, the original location doesn’t exist now as it was closed down in 2010.

But business boomed for Gerry Kingen considering that he was near the University of Washington where students would frequent the establishment. Eventually, brothers Mike and Steve Snyder who were considered regulars of Red Robin, opened up the first franchise located in Yakima, Washington. Many more locations started opening up right after that. At present, Red Robin has over 546 locations all over the United States and in British Columbia, Canada with 81% of those are company-owned and 19% franchised.

Red Robin is known for their gourmet burgers made with all-natural, 100% fresh, USDA-inspected, and never frozen Angus beef. Some of the most popular burgers on the menu include Royal Red Robin Burger which has bacon and eggs, the Banzai Burger which has a teriyaki-glazed patty and grilled pineapple (a personal favorite of mine), and the Whiskey River BBQ Burger which has their Whiskey River BBQ Sauce and crispy onion straws.

Red Robin... Yum!

Red Robin… Yum!

Other burgers on the menu also include chicken burgers that are all natural, cage-free and hormone-free. They also have a salmon burger, veggie burgers, and a Wedgie Burger wherein the buns are replaced with lettuce for those who are looking for a low-carb and healthy option.

Burgers aren’t the only thing on Red Robin’s menu. Their appetizers such as the Towering Onions Rings are popular with the crowd and they also serve fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches, and entrées. Beverages also include root beer floats, cream sodas, lemonade, and more. But the next most popular item on the menu aside from the burgers are their bottomless drinks and sides such as the fries that come in regular potato or sweet potato ones, salads, and even steamed broccoli.

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Red Robin also offers catering services for office meetings or events at home. Their services cover Buffet-Style Catering, Box Lunch Catering or Full-Service Catering. The menu isn’t limited to burgers only. You can also have their wraps and salads catered. You can also have a Red Robin food truck at your event. So if you’re thinking of having Red Robin over to feed your friends, you can definitely book them.

To franchise Red Robin, the first step is to complete a franchise application form here. Details such as your personal information are needed as well as your top 3 market locations on where you plan to open a Red Robin. You’ll be asked if you meet their financial requirements such as liquid capital and net worth. You’ll also be asked if you’ll be working with a partner and if you have at least 5 years of multi-unit restaurant operations and ownership experience.

You might also be wondering how much does a Red Robin franchise owner make on average. According to The Grub Wire, a Red Robin restaurant generates about $3 million in sales on average. That’s around 16% in EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) on average as well. With these numbers, a Red Robin franchise owner makes about $480,000 a year before paying debt interest or taxes or paying administrative staff. This is impressive profit for a burger restaurant.

Red Robin is a public company since July 19, 2002. Their vision is to be the restaurant brand communities trust most. They’re also headed by Paul Murphy III who is the President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Red Robin. Their headquarters is located at Greenwood Village, Colorado.

How Much Does Red Robin Make in Profit?

Macro Trends reports Red Robin’s annual gross profit is $187 million in 2021. This is considered an increase in their profit in 2020 which was $73 million but they did not surpass their numbers in 2019 which was $257 million.

Advantages of a Red Robin Franchise

Almost sold on franchising Red Robin and their delicious gourmet burgers? Well, here are a few more reasons to look forward to opening a Red Robin in your area.

Burger Selections

Yes, the gourmet burgers are part of the big reason why Red Robin is a hit. But it’s their vast selection of burger items on their menu that makes them a go-to place for burger enthusiasts. They have the classic burgers such as your regular cheeseburger. But they also have specialty ones such as their Sautéed ‘Shroom Burger with lots of garlic-and-parmesan sautéed mushrooms or their Burnin’ Love Burger with their fried jalapeño coins, house-made salsa, and chipotle aioli.

And if you’re not up for burgers, they have wraps and salads too as well as fish options if your customers are looking for a lighter meal. The choices are plenty that your customers are surely going to keep on coming back to try every item on the menu.

Bottomless Sides

Sides are very important when it comes to having a burger meal and Red Robin takes their sides seriously by making it bottomless. This means unlimited free refills of steak fries, Yukon chips, steamed broccoli or side salad when you order a meal. For an additional price, you can also choose bottomless sweet potato fries or garlic fries as well.

So when your customers dine at Red Robin, you’re sure they’re not leaving hungry because they not only have a hearty burger meal but they’ll be filled up with lots of sides too.


Red Robin has over 546 locations in the United States and British Columbia, Canada. And if you check their specific locations on Red Robin’s website for the United States, they almost have all states covered. This is a big advantage to you if you decide to franchise Red Robin because everyone already knows who you are so you don’t have to worry about reeling in customers.


Vegetarians can also come and enjoy Red Robin burgers because there are veggie burgers available. Their Impossible Cheeseburger makes use of a plant-based patty while their Veggie Burger is made with ancient-grain-and-quinoa veggie patty. Their bottomless sides also consist of steamed broccoli for that extra helping of vegetables customers are looking for.

Challenges of a Red Robin Franchise

Red Robin’s business continues to thrive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. Here are a few you can expect to prepare yourself.

Unhealthy Selections

Be prepared to tackle unhealthy menu discussions with your customers. It’s not a secret that Red Robin has options that go beyond the daily recommended amount of calories. Their Monster Style add-on allows customers to add an extra patty and cheese to their gourmet burgers. So coupled with a drink like a milkshake perhaps and even bottomless sides, you’ll definitely reach more than your daily recommended calories.

You could also point out that there are healthier options such as salads or wraps which hopefully your customers would be fine with just those selections.

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Red Robin has been embroiled in several lawsuits through the years. In 2015, a Red Robin franchise in Lower Macungie Township paid $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed that Red Robin required their server staff to share their tips with kitchen workers that were underpaid to “satisfy minimum wage obligations”. In recent news, an assistant manager from Red Robin sued the company for unpaid overtime work and breaks.

These lawsuits may not happen regularly, but these things can be mentioned over time. It also may not happen in your location but it can give the entire Red Robin name a bad reputation.

No International Locations

It’s true that Red Robin is well known throughout the United States. With over 546 locations, it would be hard to miss them. But for a business that’s been around for 50 years, they still haven’t expanded worldwide. Their only international location is in Canada.

Red Robin has the potential in going global. We’re not sure what’s stopping them from doing so or maybe they already have these expansion plans in place for the near future. But going global could definitely help boost Red Robin’s name even further.

Is the Red Robin Franchise Right For You?

Red Robin looks like it could be the franchise for you. But the financial requirements are a little steep compared to other restaurants. Still, the investment could be worth it considering the revenue numbers. But do remember to have a legal advisor check through all the fine print in the Franchise Disclosure Document that will provided to you once you meet up with the franchise development team of Red Robin.

What is an alternative Red Robin franchise?

If it’s a burger place you’re looking for, check out Five Guys. They’re known to be in the top burger scene in the United States and compete alongside famous burger places like Shake Shack and In-N-Out. Their burger selection may not be extensive as that of Red Robin’s. But they’re very well-known for it that it’s worth giving Five Guys a try.

To franchise Five Guys, you’ll need a liquid capital of $ 150,000 and a net worth of $ 500,000. The franchising start-up fee is at $25,000. To know more about franchising Five Guys, check out our guide here.

What sets gourmet burgers apart from regular burgers? It’s the freshness and quality of ingredients used. You could get a regular and classic old burger at fast food places just fine. But if you really want the thickest and juiciest patties along with freshly baked buns and a burger that contains fresh vegetables with a homemade sauce, it’s the gourmet burger places you should be looking for.

Are you ready to franchise a Red Robin near you? We hope this guide was able to help bring you closer to serving gourmet burgers and bottomless sides in your area.