Red Robin’s Effective Supply Chain Management

mariaenache    June 28, 2016

Social media does not connect just family and friends anymore, but it allows organizations to connect to their customers. It is still a fairly new phenomenon to supply chain management, however companies are starting to learn to adapt it into this part of their business. Many organizations have successfully integrated social media into their supply chain management, creating an efficient and stable supply chain which results in greater customer satisfaction. Social networking can improve the supply chain management of an organization by creating visibility, improving communication, increasing control and reducing operational and labor costs. It is allowing companies to communicate faster and more effectively with their customers. 

One company who has found a creative way of incorporating social media into their supply chain management is Red Robin. Red Robin is a 44 year old firm which operates 339 restaurants and employs about 25,000 associates. In the past, the company used to rely on PowerPoint presentations and emails to interact with employees. To improve their communication strategies and to better connect with their millennial employees, which make up 87% of the company’s workforce, Red Robin used Trace3 to create a program used for information sharing, skill building and general awareness. More than 1,700 Apple iPads are available in restaurants for employees to use the two social networks created for them. “Yammer” is used for managers and corporate team members and “YammerVersity” is used as a training platform for everyone else. A great aspect of YammerVersity is that it has a very close resemblance to Facebook, making it very easy for employees to learn how to use and also making the experience more fun. These social media networks allow employees to interact and exchange information and to better communicate between restaurants.  

This program proved to be extremely successful in Red Robin’s process for menu changes. In order to release a new product for sale, the process used to take 12-18 months full of deep analysis of sales data, focus groups and a lot of customer feedback. Now, they are able to get a new product into restaurants is as little as four weeks, due to the near real-time feedback from restaurants and the rapid product development process which comes from it. CIO Chris Laping explains how the company is focused on digital transformation and states “Social business tools help us drive the changes necessary to support our initiatives and provide a better guest experience. They help us move faster and communicate better.”  

Modern technology, such as social media can help large chains share ideas between employees at different locations and it helps everyone stay connected. When it comes to new products, employees’ insight is very helpful because they see first hand what customers do and do not like. They know what dishes are popular and which aspects of certain meals work best.  

Lessons for Others

Social networking provides a great platform for organizations to keep connected throughout the supply chain management process and it is important for potential business development opportunities. It can be a helpful tool to better manage the supply chain and gain a competitive advantage by decreasing time for production. It efficiently delivers information, maximizes customer value and helps employees keep on top of trends by encouraging broader participation from people not only within the company but also across the supply chain network. 

Organization: Red Robin
Industry: Hospitality
Name of Organization Contact: Stephen Carley, CEO

Authored by: Maria Enache

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.



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