That brand turnaround didn't come fast enough to satisfy company stakeholders.
— Erika Adams
Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post has announced her retirement and will leave her position effective immediately, the company announced today. Board chair Pattye Moore will be stepping in as interim CEO while Red Robin conducts its search for a replacement.
Post has served in various executive roles at Red Robin for the past eight years. She is stepping down in the middle of executing a brand turnaround at Red Robin, as the chain has struggled to keep up with the industry’s shifting, increasingly digital landscape in recent years.
“The board intends to move quickly on the search process as the Company continues to execute our turnaround plan in this challenging and rapidly evolving casual dining landscape,” Moore said in a statement. “Our search effort will focus on identifying an external candidate who recognizes the urgency of strengthening and stabilizing our dine-in business as well as the importance of continuing our evolution to an omni-channel brand that can provide customers with exceptional experiences and our craveable food where, when and how they want it.”
Whoever lands the role will have a lot of work to do. Red Robin’s sales have been down across the board: Comparable store sales were down by 2.6 percent in 2018, compared to the year prior. Overall revenue was down by 3.5 percent in the same period, and guest counts were down by 1.5 percent. Off-premise sales were up by 31.5 percent in 2018, comprising 9.9 percent of total sales.
“2018 was, in sum, a very disappointing year for us,” Post told analysts in February. “It brought a lot of hard-earned learning, which we are using to urgently set new plans to turn our performance around.”
Post will act as an advisor to the search committee tasked with finding her successor.