Based out of our Home Office in Greenwood Village, CO The Culinary Optimization & Beverage Innovation Lead develops on-trend, creative, brand-fitting promotional beverage and culinary items to continually enhance Red Robin's positioning through innovation as well as optimizes the current menu through simplification and improvement. A high level of creativity, relationship building, financial acumen, and alignment with Red Robin's promotion innovation strategy combined with an understanding of our operations team, Guest, and overall brand will allow for successful beverage innovation and optimization.
The primary functions of this position are to lead beverage innovation efforts and culinary optimization efforts to include cost initiatives, labor optimization and SKU efficiencies while collaborating with the culinary, food ops, commercialization, marketing, consumer insights, and supply chain team members to maintain our menu and new product promotional pipeline, ensuring that new beverage product launches are a brand fit, operationally executable and maintain Red Robin as an on-trend leader in casual dining.
• Collaborate on the culinary optimization of promotional and permanent menu items in partnership with the Food Ops Team
• Identify menu optimization opportunities to ease operational execution and simplify the menu offerings
• Show understanding of menu strategy, testing, and process in order to effectively meet timelines and successfully roll out menu/promo items
• Manage and prioritize self and team activities including projects/categories, monitoring of progress and results, while exhibiting priority flexibility as dictated by business needs
• Show understanding of issues relevant to the broad organization and business, keeping that
knowledge up to date and cross-functional
Beverage Innovation - Ideation, Concept, & Development
• Partner with marketing and consumer insights teams to plan informal brainstorming and formal ideation sessions designed to deliver the conceptual needs of the business.
• Ensure concept items strike appropriate balance given business priorities (marketability, margin versus value financials, newsworthiness, operational feasibility, PR leverage, trend/first to casual dining)
• Provide expertise and support of Innovation Summits resulting in guided, validated additions to the innovation pipeline
• Monitor outside/competitive developments and incorporate into Red Robin's promotional development as appropriate
• Support promotional product showings for internal showings, executive showings/Gate approval meetings, and Board of Director showings
• Liaise with Supply Chain and Commercialization teams in identifying vendors for supply of promotional ingredients
• Maintain appropriate workflows and documentation to ensure a successful transition from promotional item innovation to the Food Ops, Commercialization, and Supply Chain teams
• Work in partnership with Commercialization and Food Ops to refine product specifications that deliver executional consistency and viability
• Work with Marketing Team and outside partners to consult on/attend/manage product photo and commercial shoots.
• YU kitchen and innovation center management
• Representing Red Robin at events - both public and private
• Support sensory testing
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
• Must possess a strong level of experience with the innovation/product development in a restaurant or restaurant-supporting setting, operational execution, financial acumen, and logistical parameters of a large, varied menu
*Must be familiar and comfortable with the level of operational talent and capabilities within casual dining
• Creative beverage innovation role with national restaurant chain or intimately supporting a national restaurant chain, encompassing brainstorming through development and full deployment
*Ability to create an innovative prototype solely from an idea
*Well-developed experience in F&B costing and operational recipe writing
*Ability to collaborate with and understand consumer insights coming from Sensory evaluation, concept testing, and TURF analysis
• Ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects under tight deadlines, complete multiple projects
efficiently and work with minimal supervision
• Able to communicate in both written and verbal form with credibility, adapting
message to suit level of audience. Communicates with poise, polish and professionalism and
remains calm in stressful situations.
• Embraces consumer, supervisor, and Team Member feedback as key milestones in process
• Ability to identify problems and create new, innovative solutions
• Ability to reverse engineer a finished product back to its source ingredients
• Well developed sense of taste, aesthetics and value drivers in food. Experience and knowledge of
burgers is required.
• Ability to sample various foods by sight, taste, smell, and feel and provide feedback
• High level of integrity and highly developed work ethic
• Comfort level with challenging the status quo, championing change, acting as a catalyst for change
and stimulating others to embrace changes
• College education beyond culinary training preferred
Red Robin is an Equal Opportunity & E-Verify Employer