Red Robin jumped on the cupcake bandwagon!

Last month on a last minute dinner out with my family, I was sitting at Red Robin when my husband freaked out and pointed to the table top display at our table.  

Cupcakes!!!! Red Robin now serves cupcakes!  I think I about sh*t my pants too when I saw this.  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Seriously?  They jumped on THAT bandwagon? Cupcakes? At Red Robin?  So… I asked my server how long they had been serving them and she said only about 3 weeks.  No wonder why I hadn’t heard about them from any of my favorite cupcake blogs yet!

So… dinner is done and OF COURSE I’m ordering these cupcakes.  “One of each.”  I tell my server.  Now, from the picture on the table top display, I’m not really expecting much from these cupcakes.  They’re simple in design but, I’m hoping their flavor is amazing!

They arrive at our table and the first thing I notice is the shiny color of the frosting…. something tells me this isn’t buttercream.  I also notice they look very moist, almost wet… which tells me they might actually be cold.

I was right.  They were cold.  While talking to the waitress about them, she mentioned that they come to her frozen.  Really?  You’re serving me FROZEN cupcakes?  Alright… well, that aside, I decide to taste them.

First up is the vanilla on vanilla.  It’s a vanilla cupcake, filled with a vanilla creme and topped with vanilla frosting.

First reaction.  Gross.  It tastes like tires.  It was NOT GOOD.  It had ZERO vanilla flavor.  My 10 year old daughter wouldn’t even finish it.  Moving on.

Next we tried the chocolate on chocolate.  A chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate cream topped with chocolate frosting.  Ok so this cupcake, not too bad.  It’s definitely got good chocolate flavor… no hint of tire in this one.  It’s not the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had… but it wasn’t horrible.  If you were really in the mood for chocolate cake and you didn’t want to order the monster piece of cake they serve at Red Robin… this might be a nice alternative.

Finally we have the Freckled Lemonade cupcake.  It’s a lemon cupcake filled with strawberry topped with strawberry frosting.  To my surprise… this cupcake was VERY YUMMY!!  It tasted just like their strawberry lemonade drink they serve.  It was moist and the filling was really quite good!  I actually took more than one bite of this one!!  Now… I’m not saying I’d pay money for them and order them again… but if someone else at my table did, I wouldn’t say no to a bite!!!

I called the manager of the local Red Robin I went to and asked about the cupcakes.  He said they ordered them from a company in Denver who makes them specifically for Red Robin.  I asked about getting them frozen and he reiterated what our waitress had said, that yes, they come to them frozen but are made fresh at the factory in Denver.

My initial reaction to Red Robin having cupcakes was, “Uh, really?  Seriously?  They jumped on THAT bandwagon?  Isn’t it a little late to be joining that parade?”  And to be honest… I’m pretty sure I’m dead on with that assumption.  Red Robin is way late getting on this trend and they have fallen short.  If you’re going to add cupcakes to your menu and you are a huge, established restaurant… you better produce amazing cupcakes.  These cupcakes are not amazing.  They are boring and forgettable.  And to be honest, I forgot to write this blog… because I actually tasted these cupcakes back in December.

The frosting was definitely a shortening based frosting.  It tasted like it had a ton of Crisco in it with a grainy like texture.  I felt like I was eating pure fat and lard when I put it in my mouth.  The cake was hit or miss.  The vanilla was dry, cold and still partly frozen but the chocolate and lemon were moist and had fairly good flavor.  The fillings were ehhh, just so-so with the strawberry being the best of the three if I had to choose.  The embellishment dot on the top instantly reminded me of the dot on the cupcakes at Sprinkles, which they are famous for… not too creative on the part of Red Robin.

If I were in charge of cupcakes at Red Robin, I might have tried to pair my restaurants with local cupcake shops to produce their line of cupcakes… thus producing a fresh, locally made product.  Not a mass produced, frozen and cold, tastes like tire cupcake like I got.  Red Robin needs to do a bit more research, take some time into planning these cupcakes… they could be a great addition to the menu.  Not something they just slapped together for the sake of hopping on the cupcake bandwagon.

My final thoughts on the Red Robin cupcakes:  Forgettable.  Don’t waste your money.

6 thoughts on “Red Robin jumped on the cupcake bandwagon!

  1. I went to Red Robin the other day… and I saw they had cupcakes.. remembered you had something about a post coming.. since I had not heard you raving about how wonderful they were… and from the pictures they did not look all that special… I skipped them….glad I did!

    as for ordering them locally vs mass produced.. I think that would be good.. but.. one thing about Red Robin.. is that everything is mass produced.. no matter what one you go to.. everything is the same… which is something I like about it.. I always know what I am getting.

    I do think it is a good thing for them to have cupcakes… it is a nice smaller portion of dessert… some of the stuff there is so huge that even splitting it is too much.. unless you skip the meal and just go for dessert.

    Thanks for the review! Glad I waited to hear how they were.

  2. I worked for Sysco Foodservice for 5 years. All the major corporate restaurants and many mom & pop’s serve food that came to them frozen including dessert. For the most part it makes sense for them. Each store would cook them differently and they would probably throw a bunch away at the end of the day. This way they thaw what the plan to sell. It keeps their costs down. Things are consistent (hopefully) at your Red Robin and mine here in TN. Did you know that your soups at those restaurants comes frozen in bags?

    I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying that’s the case in most restaurants. Still good to know not to order them. My brother is a manager at a local Red Robin. I can’t wait to ask him what he thinks about them and how they are selling here.

  3. I feel like some things should be sacred…burgers joints should stick to burgers. Do you see your local cupcakery serving burgers? No, it would be atrocious. They DO look pretty-ish though. But, pig with lipstick.

    Kudos for braving it though =D

  4. Yikes. I am not surprised by your review.

    I think Red Robin food is terrible and flavorless. Bottom line- they are about money, if a few cupcakes will bring in extra $$, of course they will sell it!

  5. i too was surprised to try then and silly me sent the guest i was with home with a dozen of them, i was not impressed by any of them, you were right if to eat any of them the lemon/straw was the better, i thought they were dry also….

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