In a new commercial advertising its latest menu options, restaurant chain Red Robin poked fun at vegetarian customers, causing uproar among those of the non-meat-eating variety.
In the 15-second ad, part of the chain's “24 burgers, a million reasons” campaign, several burger options are shown before a close-up of the Gardenburger: “Red Robin caters to a lot of different tastes. They even have a garden burger, just in case your teenage daughter's going through a phase,” says the voiceover.
In response to negative backlash, Red Robin’s senior director of communications, Kevin Caulfield, confirmed to the Huffington Post Monday that the commercial is being removed from airwaves. “We created a number of ads and we have a rotation schedule that is intended to keep the campaign fresh,” said Caulfield. “This particular ad is planned to be out of rotation and no longer on the air very soon.”
The ad, which featured one of the two meatless products offered by Red Robin, the Gardenburger and the BOCA Original Vegan Burger, was reportedly included in an effort to promote the establishment’s vegetarian-friendly options, not criticize its customers. “The intent of the ad was to remind our guests again that Red Robin serves meatless options, too,” said Caulfield.
Red Robin’s Facebook page contained a wide variety of those opposed to the restaurant pulling the ad, others condemning the business for its lack of consideration for its wide range of customers Wednesday. “The commercial was tasteless and thoughtless,” said commenter and N.C. resident Karen Himmelman Misconis. “Some people say coexist, some say practice tolerance, I say be thoughtful to everyone. Learn to advertise without offending.”
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Others shared their opinions on the controversial ad, some calling it “humorous” and “silly." "Certainly there are many more worthwhile causes to take up than to cast aspersions from your superior patronizing fingers,” said commenter Richard Lynch. Florida resident Rich Oliver claimed he is planning a road trip to visit the establishment in the near future following the release of the ad. “My family and I will be driving 50 miles to support your company this week... I used to be a vegetarian and have a nephew who is a die-hard veggie, but the ad was funny and obviously meant to be,” he said.