Random acts of kindness… at a burger joint?
Apparently it’s in the recipe at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.
Founded in 1969 with 32,000 “team members” serving “guests” at 450 restaurants, they insist they’re not in the burger business.
They’re in the people business, serving burgers.
But this team takes even that unusual perspective to a whole new level.
Red Robin team members regularly and intentionally bestow random acts of kindness on their guests. They’ve named these above-and-beyond deeds and gestures “Unbridled Acts.”
They’ve even dedicated a section on the company website called “Unbridled Acts” to showcase and spotlight these random acts of kindness, and to gush about how the Red Robin team members make a difference, not just serve burgers.
165 Stories and Counting
Here are just a few of the more than 165 stories spotlighted so far:
- A young boy at the Aurora CO restaurant lost his wallet with the $300 he had been saving for 2 years. When team found the wallet, the money was gone, so they pooled their money together and replaced the money the boy lost.
- A woman dining at the Monroe WA restaurant accidentally threw out an important keycard to her daughter’s daycare. She called later when she realized her mistake and the team dug through all of the bags of garbage to find it for her.
- A manager in a Red Robins uniform from the Indian Lake TN restaurant was in line at Walgreens behind a family that was debating about which items they could afford that night. The manager randomly purchased all the items the family needed, including diapers, formula, food, and medicine.
- A mom called to ask if the team at the Orchard Park NY restaurant would surprise her son with a song that night at dinner before he was deployed to Afghanistan. The team not only sang, they had a specially decorated table, complimentary appetizers, and a huge thank you card signed by the entire team.
Why are hourly employees at Red Robin voluntarily and unabashedly scattering kindness?
Because they can. Because it makes their work matter. And because bosses all the way to the top are applauding them vociferously for doing so.
And why are leaders at Red Robin encouraging this kind of behavior?
Because it makes customers want to come back again and again. Because it makes employees want to keep showing up. And because they get it – we reap the culture we sow.
We can create a culture like Red Robin
Aren’t we all in the people business?
Regardless of what our organization sells, we all serve people. We serve people with our products and with our services. We serve employees with a job. We serve each other
with our leadership and collegiality. We wouldn’t be in business if it weren’t for the people.
And don’t we all reap the culture we sow?
We cultivate the environment that we then have to work in. Like Newton’s 3rd law of motion, what we put out comes back in equal force.
Our culture choice
So like the insightful leaders and the enthusiastic team members at Red Robin, every day we get to choose …
1. create a culture riddled with complacency and mediocrity
2. cultivate one rippling with unbridled acts of generosity and scattered kindness.