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