When I think of the restaurant name, Red Robin, my mind immediately goes to their catchy jingle, “Red Robin, Yummm!” But as a food allergy mom my subconscious forces me to stop replaying the jingle and focus on the question, “what can my child safely eat at Red Robin?”
I quickly pull up Red Robin’s Allergen Menu the second we get to the restaurant. And before I can even look up from the allergen menu you better believe that my youngest son has somehow obtained several of Red Robin’s free red balloons from the hostess.
Pushing the balloons aside I continue to dive into Red Robin’s Allergen Menu. This food allergy mom who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian and The Food Allergy Advisor™ can’t be distracted by catchy jingles or fun red balloons walloped in my face.
I developed The Food Allergy Advisor™ Ranking System to help individuals with food allergies take a glance at how their particular food allergy ranks at popular restaurants. Here we’ll discuss how Red Robin addresses food allergies, including specific food allergens.
Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. For further information please see full Disclaimer.
Table of Contents
The Food Allergy Advisor™Ranking System is Based on Four Major Criteria:
- The Top 9 food allergies friendliness – Does the restaurant provide several options accommodating the Top 9 food allergies?
- The overall confidence ranking for food allergy diners
- The completeness of the food allergy menu
- The intuitiveness of the food allergy menu
Each category is ranked on a scale of zero to five stars. Together, these categories are combined to provide a single overall score.
Top 9 Food Allergies Friendliness
To rank high in this category there should be a variety of selections across the Top 9 food allergens (tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, egg, milk, shellfish, fish, and sesame). This should be across the menu board, from appetizers to desserts.
Red Robin’s online allergen menu first asks you for your location. This is an extra safety protocol that Red Robin has put in place as menu offerings, ingredients, and cooking protocols which may differ by location.
For my review I entered my location. However, your location may have different offerings.
There are several options for milk free burgers and sandwiches. You do have to be mindful of what toppings go on the burger as not all the toppings are milk free. Obviously, no cheese – but be mindful of other toppings that may contain milk.
Those with a milk allergy cannot have the sauteed mushrooms, sauteed portobello mushrooms, fried eggs, caramelized grilled onions, onion straws, bacon strips of different varieties (black pepper, candied, etc.), whole fried jalapenos, or the jalapeno coins on your burger or sandwich.
The online allergen menu allows you to easily view which toppings contain milk so that you may omit those items while placing your order. It also allows you, in some cases, to make substitutions or swaps for the ingredient containing the allergen.
For example, the jalapeno coins and whole fried jalapenos, which contain milk, can be substituted for fresh jalapeno slices which are milk free. Onion straws can be substituted with raw onion.
The ensenada chicken platter is not milk free but could be ordered if the ancho marinade and baja ranch dressing are omitted.
If ordering a salad you should omit any cheese, croutons, ancho marinade, jalapeno coins or baja ranch dressing when ordering.
There are several Kid’s Favorite selections that are milk free. Of course, cheese needs to be omitted from all menu items.
The Cluck-A-Doodles, Corn Doggies, Mac It Yours, and Red’s Turkey burger DO contain milk and are not safe for someone with a milk allergy.
Croissants are not milk allergy friendly and should not be ordered.
Sadly, there are no pizza, dessert or appetizer options for milk allergy diners and for that reason I am ranking Red Robin lower for the milk allergy category.
There are many options for Red Robin burgers, chicken, salad, and pizza menu items with an egg allergy.
You will need to restrict eggs, whole fried jalapenos, jalapeno coins, bacon (any variety), sauteed mushrooms, onion straws, caramelized grilled onions, onion straws, sauteed portobello mushrooms, and cheddar parmesan cheese mix when dining at Red Robin as these items contain egg.
Some sauces/dressing that you need to leave off with an egg allergy at Red Robin are the Grey Poupon bistro sauce, premium mayo, baja ranch dressing, red’s secret tavern sauce, chipotle aioli, roasted garlic aioli, and campfire mayo.
You also can not consume the brioche bun or the gluten free bun with an egg allergy.
The kid’s sundae is the only egg free dessert item.
Overall, this is a lot of choices for someone with a milk allergy.
There is a great selection of soy free menu items at Red Robin for burgers, chicken, salads, and pizza.
Keep in mind that you need to avoid these toppings with a soy allergy when dining at Red Robin: jalapeno coins, whole fried jalapenos, bacon, american cheese, sauteed mushrooms, hot rings, onion straws, cheese sauces, caramelized onion, sauteed portobello mushrooms, and cheddar parmesan cheese mix.
Do not consume the campfire mayo as it contains soy.
If you choose to order pizza you will need to be sure it does not contain the chicken breast slices, onion straws, or Whiskey River BBQ Sauce as these items contain soy.
Red Robin’s croissants are not soy allergy friendly and should not be ordered if you have a soy allergy.
The kid’s sundae is the only soy free dessert item.
Red Robin does disclose under their Terms and Conditions that they use soybean oil. They state: “Several Red Robin menu items contain fully refined soybean oil, which according to the FDA is not an allergen.”
Overall, there are many soy free options available.
There are great options for those with a wheat allergy. Red Robin offers a gluten free bun or a wedgie style burger for those who want a chicken sandwich or burger.
Unfortunately, there are no wheat free appetizers.
Toppings that DO contain wheat are the jalapeno coins, whole fried jalapenos, bacon (all varieties), cheese sauce, campfire mayo, onion straws, and sweet and thick teriyaki sauce.
There are a lot of wheat free sauces and dressing to choose from.
The pizza can be eaten as long as the regular crust is substituted with the gluten free crust or the cauliflower crust.
If ordering the Whiskey River BBQ Pizza you should know that the River BBQ Sauce contains wheat so it will need to be omitted. The Whiskey River BBQ Pizza also has onion straws which should not be added to the pizza due to wheat.
There are many salad choices but you do need to be sure they do not contain croutons.
There is only one wheat free dessert option which is the kids’ sundae.
Tree Nut Allergy
You have a very large selection of choices from all categories except for dessert. The only dessert that is considered tree nut free is the kid’s sundae. Most tree nut allergy families would agree that it’s great that there is even a single dessert option, especially ice cream.
Some safe sundae toppings for those with a tree nut allergy per Red Robin’s allergen menu include whipped cream, maraschino cherries, rainbow sprinkles, and chocolate syrup.
Desserts are the main area of concern when dining at Red Robin. However, there are actually more dessert choices for those with a peanut allergy versus some of the other top 9 food allergies.
Individuals with a peanut allergy can have a kid’s sundae. Of course, you need to pay attention to toppings. Safe toppings for those with a peanut allergy per Red Robin’s allergen menu include whipped cream, maraschino cherries, rainbow sprinkles, and chocolate syrup.
Some other safe peanut free options for dessert include the freckled lemonade cake and the strawberry lemonade cake.
Red Robin’s menu has very little shellfish, however, one with a shellfish allergy might not realize that they do need to make sure not to consume Red Robin’s whole fried jalapenos from their menu selections as Red Robin denotes that it is unsafe for those with a shellfish allergy.
Because of the whole fried jalapenos being inconspicuous to the shellfish allergy diner, I have rated the shellfish allergy category slightly lower.
Those with a fish allergy should know that the wings are not listed as safe within Red Robin’s Allergen menu. The pretzel bites, mozzarella sticks and fried pickles are noted as not safe for fish allergies. This likely has to do with the fryer that is used to fry fish.
Safe appetizers include the signature cheese pizza and the signature pepperoni pizza.
The jalapeno coins, whole fried jalapenos, bacon strips (of any kind), and onion straws should not be part of your order as they are marked as containing fish.
Jalapeno Coins need to be omitted if you order the Southwest Chicken Salad. Caesar salad would not be safe at RedRobin with a fish allergy.
There are many pizza choices but onion straws need to be excluded from the Whiskey River BBQ Pizza if you have a fish allergy.
Sesame was recently added as one of the top nine allergens in the United States and Red Robin isn’t skipping a beat. It clearly lists which foods contain sesame on its allergen menu.
Red Robin does serve buns that contain sesame which include their brioche bun, the tavern bun, and of the classic sesame bun. You can swap these buns for their sesame free choices which include the croissant, wedgie style, or the gluten free bun.
It would be nice if there was a more traditional bun that did not contain sesame.
Red Robin’s Food Allergen Menu Confidence Ranking
Let’s review The Food Allergy Advisor™ Ranking System for Confidence.
Is there Ambiguity?
The Food Allergy Advisor feels there is some slight ambiguity when looking at Red Robin’s food allergen menu. When looking at the allergen menu it uses the words “Allergy-Friendly Menu” at the top of the screen.
It isn’t always clear right from the beginning that “Allergy-Friendly Menu” means they have eliminated menu choices that contain the particular allergen. It would be nice if they put a paragraph under their heading to explain this.
The “Allergy-Friendly Menu” is much more ambiguous for milk allergy diners. If you click on milk allergy you see the heading “Allergy-Friendly Menu” and below it lists several cheeseburgers. This can leave the diner feeling like the allergy menu is not allergy friendly at all.
It would be better if they titled the names of the burgers as “burger” instead of “cheeseburger” for the milk allergy menu. However, the menu items are listed as cheeseburgers on the actual menu (example: Impossible Gourmet Cheeseburger and Monster Cheeseburger).
Is there a Mission Statement?
Red Robin does have what they call “B.U.R.G.E.R. Values” which ties into food allergies. You can read more about their values but they state they have unwavering integrity and relentless focus on improvement with a genuine spirit of service.
I can say that looking at their menu as a dietitian and mom of a child with food allergies that I can see that they take food allergies seriously and appear to care more than most restaurants.
Are there Personal Touches?
There are lots of personal touches throughout Red Robin’s Allergen Menu. Again, it is very clear that they care about food allergies.
When going online, Red Robin’s Allergen Menu will ask for your location before providing you with its allergen menu as ingredients and preparation may vary by location. I think this is very reassuring from a food allergy perspective.
If there is an ingredient that is not safe for your particular allergen they sometimes will suggest a safe swap.
Red Robin also states “Make it official! Build this allergy-friendly recipe today!” when prompting you to start your order. This personalization is nice, but more on the online ordering below.
Although this is not mentioned on their website, Red Robin team members are trained on food allergies. I know that my family has dined at Red Robin and they have brought out a tablet that we can use to review allergy friendly menu choices.
When we dine at Red Robin our server always notifies the chef of the food allergy and the food is brought out with a food-pick placed in the food indicating that they followed allergen procedures when preparing the food.
Has the Menu Been Updated Within Six Months?
The Red Robin menu does not provide a “published” date or “date updated” notification. They do encourage Guests to “visit our website upon each visit for the most current allergen/sensitivity information available”, implying that they update their information regularly or as needed, but this is an assumption.
Are there Clear Cross Contamination Statements
There are very clear cross contamination statements. It is nice because these statements coincide with the menu item that you are reviewing.
For example, there is a statement that grilled burger patties may be cross contaminated during cooking when you are looking at the burger menu.
It appears that they are very cautious with their fryers as noted in many of their contamination statements as well as omission of certain menu items that may be fried in oil with a particular allergen.
Red Robin’s Completeness Ranking
Below is The Food Allergy Advisor™ ranking for Completeness of Red Robin’s allergen menu.
Are All Nine Major Allergens Included?
Red Robin does include all nine of the major allergens. They are sure to go into great detail for each of the allergens. They include all nine major U.S. food allergens: wheat, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, mik, shellfish, fish, and sesame.
Are Full Ingredient Lists Available for Menu Items?
I was unable to find a full ingredient list for each menu item. For example, I could not see what ingredients were in the pizza crust.
This makes things more challenging for any food allergen that is not one of the top 9 food allergens. I did feel, however, that the top 9 food allergens were very clearly identified.
Most ingredients were fairly simple which helps from a non top 9 food allergy perspective. However, this is still a concern. Someone with a mustard allergy may have a hard time deciphering which sauces contain mustard unless they talked to team members in depth.
Is the Nutrition Information Easy to Compare to the Food Allergy Information
You can not compare nutrition information to food allergy information on the same search tab. You must go out of the food allergy menu to find nutrition information.
Is it Easy to Complete an Online Order within the Food Allergy Section of the Menu?
No, not really. This could use a bit of work. The food allergen menu doesn’t seamlessly link to the cart. When you are in the “Allergy Friendly Menu” it will say at the bottom: “Make it official! Build this allergy-friendly recipe today!” with a “start your order” button.
Unfortunately, once you click “start your order” you are out of the “allergy friendly menu.” It will ask you for your location for your order. This is a little discerning as you had entered your location when you pull up the “Allergy Friendly Menu.”
Again, you are taken out of the “Allergy Friendly Menu” and when you do an online order you have to omit the proper ingredients through their customization option.
There is an allergen notice agreement that you can optionally click stating that you have used Red Robin’s Interactive Allergen Menu to modify your menu selection. So this is not intuitive.
Red Robin Food Allergen Menu Intuitiveness Ranking
Below is The Food Allergy Advisor Ranking System for Intuitiveness.
Is the Red Robin Menu Easy to Understand?
I think that the menu is very easy to understand. Red Robin handles food allergies with seriousness. The food allergy menu is designed to build a food allergy friendly plate.
It presents information to the food allergy user as here is what you can have to eat instead of here is what you can’t have to eat.
However, as mentioned above, the online ordering system is not intuitive for the food allergy diner. For this reason, I had to rank this category lower.
Ease of Mobile Access
The mobile Red Robin allergen menu is very mobile friendly.
Is it Easy to Find Allergy Information on Red Robin’s Website?
It is very easy to find the allergen menu from the Red Robin website. It is one simple click on the word “allergens.”
Easy to Sort
Red Robin’s interface is very easy to sort. The interface is very user friendly and you can even search by multiple food allergies, something that you can’t easily do at many restaurants.
Is there an Application for Your Phone?
The Red Robin app has over 9.8 thousand users.
The app is very similar to the user experience on a desktop or tablet.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ Scoring System is for menus in the United States and review is based on the date/time that the food allergy menu was accessed. The Food Allergy Advisor™ will make best efforts to update restaurant scores periodically.
Always check the food allergen menu of the particular restaurant where you will be dining, do not rely on information on this blog post as food menus may change. Check Red Robin’s food allergen menu site for the most updated information.
This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.
Global chain supply issues may affect menu items at restaurants Be sure to read individual statements for all restaurants regarding changes in menus/ingredients and their statements regarding cross contamination.
Ranking a restaurant here and/or including a menu item here does not guarantee that the particular restaurant/menu item is safe for your individual needs.
This Website Does Not Provide Medical Advice
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Overall, The Food Allergy Advisor feels that Red Robin is extraordinary when it comes to dealing with food allergies and wins the Food Allergy Advisor’s Seal of Approval.
That being said, there is still room for improvement. Ideally, some additional menu items could be added to the appetizer and dessert menu that were suited to more allergy diners.
The jalapeno situation is a bit worrisome as there is a difference between the fried jalapeno coins, whole fried jalapenos, and fresh jalapeno slices which could lead to unwanted confusion.
The Food Allergy Advisor feels that a brief explanation under the words “Allergy-Friendly Menu” would go a long way. Making it clear that items listed are menu items that can be made in an allergy friendly way based on the particular allergen would help with overall user experience.
Inclusion of the top 9 food allergens is noteworthy.
The Food Allergy Advisor™ feels that Red Robin is very intuitive with the exception of online ordering. Being able to look at more than one allergy at a time from a what can I eat perspective shows that Red Robin is serious about their genuine spirit of service.
Don’t get left out. Subscribe to my email list to hear more reviews on other restaurants. Hopefully, these blog posts and your comments will lead to positive changes within restaurants and help you dine with food allergies with less worry.
Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Amber DeVore, RD, CSSD, CLT