Red Robin – Papillion

This is a first for me on this site… a bad review.  Not just a bad review, but a horrible one… one that has me preparing to go back there and speak to their management.

We’ll start at the beginning.  Jess and I had been out all day shopping and were craving a burger.  We happened to be in the vicinity of Red Robin and thought we’d finally give it a try.  We’d seen their commercials and it seemed like it’d be a place we’d like.

Upon entering we noticed that for a Saturday night (7:30ish) it seemed pretty slow.  The dining room was about half full, plenty of staff milling about talking to customers at tables, nothing to complain about.  We were greeted right away and led away to a table and told that our server would be with us shortly.  We ended up waiting over 10 minutes before someone showed up (this isn’t an estimate, I actually timed it on my watch after a couple minutes). The server (Wendpanga) asked what we wanted to drink and then vanished for 5 minutes.  He didn’t bother to ask if we wanted an appetizer or anything else.  When he returned it was only with my drink.  He said he’d be back with Jess’ and again, disappeared.

Finally he came with her drink and we asked for an appetizer, a main course and some water.  The food showed up promptly from the kitchen, though it wasn’t the nicest looking.  We had ordered their nachos and the chips were very soggy were covered with sour cream, guacamole and onions.  Tons of onions.  For something that praised the chili and cheese, there was very little of it. The other issue is that while he gave us plates, he failed to give us silverware or napkins, so we had to wait to eat the food until we could flag him down to get them.  This, unfortunately, was a good 5 minute wait.  By the time we got our napkins and began trying to eat the nachos, our food arrived and instead of trying to help clear the table, our server just set the food on the edge of the table and left, leaving us to work it out.  We ended up moving a bunch of stuff to the empty table next to us to have room to eat, so at least that worked out.  Now, the food…

Jess ordered a Bacon-Cheeseburger, medium rare, with cheddar.  I ordered a new product that I saw called the Chicken Caprese. Sounds good, right?  I love a good Caprese and it looked nice and light.  What I got, was unrecognizable… I took this with my cell phone:

Height of freshness... right.

Height of freshness... yeah, right.

Yeah, that’s in the ballpark, right?  If I bought a car that looked great in a photo and was given a dented up clunker it’s called a bait and switch, what do we call this?  Why do we expect food to not hold up to a standard?  There are even websites with comparisons like this (Fast Food: Ads vs Reality & Advertising vs Reality: A Product Comparison Project), it’s quite sad. This is beside the point.  The point is, my food was very wet, messy, and didn’t taste much like caprese.  Jess, though, was very upset.  While her meat was cooked right (it was pink), the entire sandwich can be described with one word: “Moist.”  The bacon was floppy, the bun was soaked, the entire sandwich was able to be “cut” in half with minimal effort using just her hands.  She simply just tore it in half.  When I tried a bite there was almost literally no resistance. Jess didn’t finish it (which is a first) and we decided it was time to go.

We waited another 10 minutes before seeing our server again, as he seemed to really not enjoy being out and about.  We asked for the check, and based on the food and service, I chose not to leave a tip. Now, I know a lot of you are tippers, as am I.  I just choose not reward bad service.  If I get what I think is “standard” service, I will usually leave around a 15% tip.  As the service gets better, I leave more and as it gets worse, I lower it.  I refuse to tip someone for substandard service, especially if I can’t say something like, “Well, it was a busy night.”  Now, what does this have to do with anything?  Simply, this:


Now I'm not the best at math, but those should be the same...

On the left is my receipt, on the right is my bank account.  Notice anything wrong (besides the “Guests: 3)?  If you guessed “He gave himself a $5 tip,” then you win the prize (updated below).  Now, where I come from, that’s theft.  It also looks like the police agree, as the last time this happened at a Red Robin, the person was arrested.

Police today charged a Red Robin server with theft by deception after they said she altered credit card slips to reflect higher tip amounts than customers intended.

Colonial Regional police filed charges against Deidre Hartley-Jennings, 21, of Easton. Police said she changed about 40 checks between February and April for a total of $346 in thefts at the Red Robin at 3716 Easton-Nazareth Highway (Route 248) in the Northampton Crossings shopping center in Lower Nazareth Township.

She was arraigned before District Judge Joseph Barner and released on $1,000 unsecured bail.

Wonderful.  Perhaps Red Robin should start paying attention to the people they hire, no?

So, I didn’t discover the illegal tip until this morning, as I usually only check my bank accounts on weekdays, so I plan on going over there this afternoon and raising hell.  Expect an update.

So, conclusion (for now):

Red Robin (at least this location) has poor service, sloppy food and employees will possibly steal from you. Honestly, going back to get this taken care of will be the last time I set foot in this place.


Just got back from talking with the manager.  Luckily it seems that I was wrong in assuming someone added their own tip (very glad on this point).  It turns out that Red Robin has an interesting receipt system in which they don’t ring in tips until the end of the night and they manually process them.   What happened is that the person keying them into the system wasn’t paying too close attention and added someone else’s tip to my bill when it was being entered at night.  It’ll be a few days for them to sort it all out, but it looks like I don’t have to worry about theft.  So, I guess the lesson here is almost the same, always pay attention to your receipts and go back if it looks like you paid a tip that you didn’t (or it was more/less than you did). Of course, this still doesn’t help the food quality or service, so it’ll be a long time before I eat there again.

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14 Responses to Red Robin – Papillion

  1. Please let us know how it turns out for you. This is inexcusable.

  2. Jason Kelley Jason says:

    Will do, I’ll be heading there in less than an hour…

  3. Anon Anon says:

    I find it completely unacceptable that the server put in a tip when you didn’t leave it and I agree that is theft. I’m not disagreeing with you there. But I also think it is unacceptable to leave no tip at all. Even though the service was poor, you should have complained to the manager instead of stiffing the server. That server had to pay to wait on you because he/she probably had to tip out at least 5% of your bill regardless of if you tipped to bartenders, bussers, hosts, etc. Also, he/she was probably automatically taxed at least 10% of your bill b/c the IRS assumed you tipped. Plus the shitty food wasn’t the server’s fault.

    I’m not missing your point and I think you’re 100% correct to speak to management about this and/or report it. I just don’t think people in the food service industry should have to pay to wait on customers who don’t tip.

  4. Mike Mike says:

    I’m not saying that RedRobin has the best food in the world (they don’t) but they are better than this. I haven’t been to the Papillion location, but you really should expect better.

    And the server tipping themselves is, of course, unacceptable. Yes, please let us know what the management says about it. That said, the fact of what the server did and that they were empty on a Saturday speaks to management problems at the location anyway.

  5. Renai Renai says:

    I’m both completely surprised, and not at all. My boyfriend worked at RR all through high school, so we go there about once every 6 months (not really our style, but fun sometimes) and we always have fairly decent food and service. We actually were there on Saturday (I read your post when we came home!) and had GREAT service and food. Matt (bf) told us that they are supposed to have really strict guidelines for what comes out of the kitchen. I really do wonder though if it’s more likely to be that way in Seattle, as we have the original RR. I’ve heard bad things about a lot of other locations. I’m really curious to see how this plays out!

  6. milaxx milaxx says:

    wow! That sucks. Only thing is for bad service, and I’ve only had to do this twice, I leave 5 pennies. I want them to get the point that I thought the service was poor, not that I’m too cheap to tip.
    Keep us posted as to the outcome.

  7. Jess Jess says:

    Leaving five pennies is a good idea.

  8. Jason Kelley Jason says:

    Post has been updated. Luckily not theft, just a bad system when it comes to processing tips. In short, I paid someone else’s tip.

    @Milaxx – I love that idea.

    @Anon – I’ve had this discussion before and I still think a tip is just that… a tip. If you do your job, you get a tip. If you do your job horribly, why should I pay you? That just reinforces the bad behavior.

  9. Sue H Sue H says:

    It sucks that you had such a horrible experience and the tip thing is completely inexcusable. That said, I don’t think the rest of the chain is as bad as this location. We’ve been to a few different Red Robins in Arizona and have (usually) been pleased with the food and service.

  10. I happen to have been a waitress at a small cafe at one point and I agree that if you get bad service from the wait staff then no tip should be included. A tip is a little something extra for doing your job correctly or for going above and beyond.

    If it’s the kitchen’s fault though, blame the kitchen and don’t come back but don’t take it out on the server that was trying to do their job.

    As for the penny thing it’s considered an insult. If you want to leave a tip but don’t have the money it’s better to not leave anything at all.

    Also the one time I went to Red Robin I had about the same experience, with bad food, and our server taking forever, thought at least I can say it was packed that night, so they had a bit of an excuse to not be on the ball.

  11. pizzajohn pizzajohn says:

    T.o I.nsure P.roper S.ervice
    Waited tables for many years and you don’t get
    a gratuity for processing a check. Granted it isn’t high end but you expect a little attention be paid to your enjoyment of a meal.
    You should have voiced your dissatisfaction to management but your night sounded like it was bought to you BY bad management(or none at all)

  12. Dino Dino says:

    Same thing happened to my girlfriend.. here is my post.

    I’ll call the manager today to see if it’s theft or human error.


  13. Elizabeth Wylie Elizabeth Wylie says:

    We ate at Red Robins for the first time today. We got the worst table in the place, people were always pushing past us. The waitress was unfriendly and it took us 45 minutes to get our meals. It was the worst burger I have ever had, greasy and bland. My dining companions felt the same way. Two of us were left with a heavy sick feeling in our stomachs, and ended up with horrible diarrhea when we got home. Certainly not worth the $50. I will dis this place to all.

  14. Zach Zach says:

    Red Robin notoriously UNDERcooks their french fries; for that reason alone I will not be back.

    UNlimited UNDERcooked fries is not an inducement to stay.

    The creditcard scam is even worse!

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