Red Robin Gourmet Burgers adding more tents for outdoor dining even as indoor dining resumes at most restaurants

All-weather tents and booth partitions will be installed in fourth quarter as casual-dining chain shows improvements in same-store sales, according to a mid-quarter business update


Nancy Luna, Nation's Restaurant News 

Sep 10, 2020


Understanding the importance and popularity of outdoor dining during the COVID-19 crisis, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers said it plans to add tents to restaurants even as indoor dining resumes at most restaurants.


The company plans to outfit restaurants with “all-weather tents and booth partitions” in the early part of the fourth quarter.  That along with indoor dining restarting in California, a core market, should help the company keep its momentum.


Red Robin provided investors with a mid-quarter business update on Thursday. Preliminary figures show that the brand is seeing sequential same-store sales improvements, especially at restaurants open for on-premise dining. Restaurants where outdoor seating has expanded are also seeing improved sales results.


For the week ended Sept. 6, company-operated restaurants reported a 21.9% drop in same-store sales. However, restaurants with limited indoor dining saw comps decline by 16.1%.


That’s a huge swing when compared to a 41.4% plunge in same-stores sales for the second quarter.


“We are encouraged by our improving comparable sales trend over the past several weeks as we continue to expand our seating capacity primarily through outdoor dining,” CEO Paul Murphy said in a statement.


Murphy said off-premise sales...