The Red Barn restaurant was a fast-food restaurant chain that was 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 hy a move in August 1964 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the late 1960s, Servomation bought the company followed by Motel 6 in the late 1970s. 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 in Australia.[1]

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 that were available when they were under their Red Barn franchise. There are currently two locations in Bradford, Pennsylvania and Racine, Wisconsin that are serving the same menu items.

Building styleEdit

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, who granted the franchise licenses.[2] Later buildings had the familiar fast-food style mansard roof which allowed them to comply to more local building codes.

Menu itemsEdit

Some of the most popular items on Red Barn's menu were the "Big Barney" (a hamburger similar to a Big Mac) and the "Barnbuster" (similar to a Quarter Pounder or Whopper.)[3]

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 in a 60% vegetable oil, 40% lard mix for extra flavor.

Advertising and promotionsEdit

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.)[4][5]

In Australia, the appearance of 'Big Barney' was common on Cartoon Corner with Daryl Somers. He was an affable clown that gave away prizes and predated Ronald McDonald.

The restaurants had coloring books, crayons, and iron-ons for kids, and they also gave away a free glass with a meal. The food was served in cardboard barn-shaped boxes.


External linksEdit

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