Denver’s Red Robin Earns an ‘A’ in PETA’s National Ranking of Burger-Joint Menus

Greenwood Village–Based Chain Earns Top Score, While Its Hometown Rivals, Good Times and Smashburger, Fall Short

For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2016

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382


The demand for healthy and humane plant-based meals—including the ever-popular veggie burger—continues to skyrocket. Now, PETA has released letter grades for burger joints across the country, noting which spots offer delicious vegan entrées and which need to play ketchup—and several Denver-based restaurants are standouts on the list.

Red Robin rocked the rankings with an “A” grade for its vegan Boca patty that can be used for any burger on the menu, while hometown rival Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard floundered with a “D” for offering only egg-containing black bean burgers at limited locations. Another local competitor, Smashburger, received a “C” for offering a black bean burger that can’t be made vegan and for frying everything—even its sides of carrots and green beans—in oil containing beef fat.

“Red Robin’s vegan-friendly menu proves that no animals need to be harmed to make a crowd-pleasing burger,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges Good Times and Smashburger to step up their game and satisfy the nation’s hunger for healthy, cruelty-free cuisine.”

Research from the National Restaurant Association confirms that plant-based meals are vital to an eatery’s success. In its What’s Hot 2016 Culinary Forecast, vegan entrées placed among the top 10 in the “Main Dishes” category and were said to be a “hot trend” or “perennial favorite” among 76 percent of professional chefs surveyed.

Another standout on PETA’s list is White Castle, which earned an “A” for its Veggie Sliders. Among other results, Wendy’s earned a “B” for piloting a black bean burger in a few locations, Burger King and Shake Shack each got a “C” for offering veggie burgers that contain milk and eggs, and Carl’s Jr. and Jack in the Box each received an “F.” Three restaurants earned an “F-“: Checkers, Rally’s, and McDonald’s.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that cows raised for food are crammed together by the thousands in feces-filled lots. These sensitive, gentle animals are castrated and branded, often without pain relief. After being transported to slaughter in all weather extremes, they’re strung up by one leg and their throats are slit, sometimes while they’re still conscious.

In addition, cheap hamburger meat often comes from female cows on dairy farms, who are continually impregnated so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk and whose calves are repeatedly torn away from them within days of birth. Once they’re no longer considered useful for milk production, mother cows are slaughtered for meat.

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