Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant in the Tucson Mall will close at 6 p.m. July 4 after 30 years in business.
A note posted on the restaurant’s door last weekend notified customers of the move, which came after Red Robin corporate did not renew the restaurant’s franchise agreement, said Tucson operations director Bob Wolff.
The Tucson Mall location, 4500 N. Oracle Road, was the national burger chain’s only local outpost.
Red Robin corporate officials could not be reached to comment on Monday and did not return repeated calls.
Red Robin granted franchisees Dan and Anne Barnes a 30-year lease through their Tucson Robin Hood Inc. parent company. Wolff said the franchise agreement was for 30 years; that expired this year and no reason was given for not renewing it, he said.
“This is a profitable, successful store. We’re busy all the time and packed on weekends,” Wolff said. “We just surpassed $3 million in annual sales.”
Tucson Robin Hood operates a second Red Robin location in Tempe; that restaurant will remain open and the 75 employees at the Tucson location have been invited to transfer or commute to that restaurant, Wolff said.
“We’re doing everything in our power to get them placed,” he said.
The Barneses opened Red Robin at Tucson Mall in 1987 and it quickly became a popular Tucson destination in large part because of the couple, who worked in the restaurant. Dan was not a stranger to washing dishes and Anne would work the line in the kitchen to keep things moving along, Wolff said.
After Dan died in October 2015 of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Anne continued running the restaurant.
“This is a loss to Anne just the same. This is her family. She built this restaurant,” Wolff said, vowing that Tucson Robin Hood would be back in the Tucson market at some point. He said “the sky’s the limit” as to what the company will do here.
Meanwhile, Wolff said he has heard that Red Robin is planning to open a restaurant on Tucson’s south side, in the growing Interstate 19-West Irvington Road commercial corridor. No lease has been signed.
From now through closing the Tucson Mall restaurant will donate 20 percent of the proceeds from sales of desserts, appetizers and freckled lemonade drinks to the ALS Association of Tucson in memory of Dan Barnes.