Red Robin Gourmet Burgers pushes ahead with its ongoing brand transformation this week with the systemwide introduction of the first of the premium-price burgers the chain has been testing for the past year.
Red Robin is calling these new burgers its Finest line. The first to move onto the menu is the Finest Smoke & Pepper Signature Burger. Like all the premium burgers the chain has tested, this begins with a half-pound Black Angus beef patty that it seasons with alderwood-smoked sea salt. Toppings are black-peppered bacon, extra sharp Cheddar and new house-made Smoke & Pepper ketchup. A buttered, toasted ciabatta bun completes the build.
The chain had told BurgerBusiness.com in June that it was testing Black Angus beef and a variety of house-made sauces and aïolis. It said then that the premium burgers would be menu priced from $12.99 to $14.29. Most burgers on its standard menu are priced from about $9 to $10.50. The new Finest Smoke & Pepper Burger is priced at $13.49 (served with Red Robin’s signature Bottomless Steak Fries).
The inspiration for the Smoke & Pepper burger was Chef Laurent Tourondel’s Smashed Smoke Burger that won the Red Robin-sponsored Best of the Bash Award at this year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash. Tourondel’s burger was topped with black-peppered bacon, New York State Cheddar, Spanish onion and sweet ketchup.
The Finest line of premium burgers provides a counter to the low-end, $6.99 Tavern Double introduced last year. “What we really have now is with the advent of the finest burger and the first one, which is sneaking this week and launching next week fully, is a range of opportunities, from Tavern Double through our gourmet burgers to our Finest line to work a range of pricing and opportunity,” Red Robin SVP-CMO said at last week’s Q3 earnings call with analysts. “I think it’s going to give us a lot more flexibility, and we have some very distinctive and differentiated propositions to deliver to the guest.”