Red Robin’s Science-y Kids’ Menu

Today’s post is by Jeff Huber, C&EN assistant editor and connoisseur of fast-food kids’ meals.

What’s cookin'?: Red flaunts proper lab attire. Credit: Red Robin

Albert Einstein had his theory of relativity. Charles Darwin had his theory of evolution. And now Red, the avian mascot of Red Robin restaurants, has his own theory: the theory of yummm, in which “U + RR [i.e., Red Robin] x F(un) = yuM3.” It’s a controversial postulate sure to be met with skepticism from the scientific community. Scientists hoping to poke holes in Red’s theory, however, won’t be able to look inside an academic journal to study the logic behind Red’s assertion. Instead, they’ll have to look at the back of a Red Robin kids’ menu. There, under a banner proclaiming his theory, Red appeared last fall alongside a variety of science-related games, including a maze through a twisty test tube and a matching exercise in which children were asked to identify the chemical element that most closely aligns with such everyday items as a soda can and milk (answers: aluminum and calcium, respectively). “The games on the kids’ menu provide a great avenue for parents and kids to interact while they are dining at Red Robin,” says communications manager Jamie Winter, who explains that the science-centric kids’ menu was released in an effort to coincide with the start of a new school year. “It made sense to create a menu that was focused on a school subject,” she says.

Menu with answers filled in. Credit: Red Robin

To further promote science education, the kids’ menu asks young patrons to also visit the Red Robin website, where Red’s Science Fair Fun Lab provides instructions for a number of kid-friendly science experiments including recipes for rock candy and slime. Newscripts is all for encouraging children to discuss science over the dinner table, but we do have one minor quibble. At the conclusion of the menu’s word jumble, it is revealed that Red’s favorite science subject is biology, not chemistry! How could Red make such an egregious snub? “There is no rhyme or reason to why Red’s favorite science subject is biology versus another science discipline,” reassures Winter. “The menu is just meant to be fun and engaging.” Alright. But, for a minute there, Red had us seeing red. NOTE: Hat tip to @rachelpep and her kids for bringing the Red Robin menu to the Newscripts desk.

Author: Lauren Wolf

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  1. Uranium-Fluorine chemistry sounds dangerous to me.

  2. Like putting the peas under the mashed potatoes, this is a great way to sneak in science at the dinner table!!

  3. But of course Red’s favorite subject is biology. He’s a bird.

  4. Red could’ve had the courage to break from stereotype … I’m named after a bird and my favorite science is chemistry.

  5. i think it would be fun for kids this type of menu, it’s something new and interesting.

  6. What a great design job! Very clever and well thought-through!
    Red’s got some great people!

  7. Uranium-Fluorine chemistry sounds verryyyyy dangerous to me 🙂

  8. I was just at Red Robin and I didn’t see these, either way, it’s a good idea to have kids do some activities with science.

  9. By the time my kids are done with their food, there will be a chemistry experiment all over the table.