Red Barn (restaurant)
The Red Barn restaurant was a fast-food restaurant chain founded in 1961 in Springfield, Ohio, by Don Six, Martin Levine, and Jim Kirsch. In 1963, the small chain was purchased by Richard O. Kearns, and the offices moved briefly to Dayton, Ohio, followed by a move in August 1964 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the late 1960s, Servomation bought the company. The new parent company itself was bought by Motel 6 in the late 1970s. Only interested in the core business of Servomation, the new owners ceased advertising for the chain and the franchise leases were allowed to expire, with the last of the leases expiring around 1986. At its peak, Red Barn had 300-400 restaurants in 19 states, as well as outlets in southern Ontario, elsewhere in Canada, and Australia.
Following the shutdown of operations, most of the Red Barn buildings were converted for other uses. A few of the chain restaurants were renamed "The Farm" in various states and continued serving the same menu items available when they were under their Red Barn franchise. There were two locations under "The Farm" name in Racine, Wisconsin (still open as of January 2016), and Bradford, Pennsylvania (Closed in December 2015) that were serving the same menu items.
Originally, the Red Barn restaurants were in the shape of barns with a glass front and limited seating. The design of the building was patented in 1962 by Red Barn Systems, Incorporated of Springfield, Ohio, which granted the franchise licenses. Later buildings had the familiar fast-food style mansard roof which allowed them to comply to more local building codes.
The chain was quite forward-looking with their food choices: the Big Barney predated the Big Mac by a few years, and it was the first chain to have self-service salad bars. Chicken and fish were fried in pure vegetable oil (in dedicated fryers); fries and rings were fried in a 60% vegetable oil, 40% lard mix for extra flavor.
Advertising and promotions
The restaurant chain had a TV commercial jingle whose lyrics were: "When the hungries hit / When the hungries hit / Hit the Red Barn." Three mascots were used in the franchise's commercials: "Hamburger Hungry" (a humanoid figure with a hamburger in bun for a head); "Fried Chicken Hungry" (a chicken leg); and "Big Fish Hungry" (a blue fish.)
In Canada, Red Barney the clown opened all new franchises in southern Ontario. He did commercials, went on children's shows, visited sick children in hospitals and even served as guest ringmaster for Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus in a Detroit show.
- Rich Perrott (September 2, 2010). "barnbuster".
- "Being Spotless and cleaning up". The Age. 30 September 2006. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- "Publication Number: D0192414". United States Patent and Trademark Office. March 20, 1962. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- Dyer, Stan (Nov 20, 2008). "Memory Lane: the Red Barn". ezineseeker.com. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
- Cheney, Jill (15 December 1972), "Red Barn Wins Battle Against 'Hungries'", The Ledger, retrieved 31 October 2009
- "Red Barn". Marlow Heights 60s and 70s. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- Red Barn Memories from the 60s and 70s at MarlowHeights60sand70s.com
- The Farm in Bradford Pennsylvania
- The Farm in Racine Wisconsin
- Facebook Group "I Remember the Red Barn Restaurants"