Brinker International Inc., parent to the Chili’s Grill & Bar casual-dining brand, has promoted Aaron White to chief people officer and returned Wade Allen to chief digital officer, the company said Tuesday.
The Dallas-based company, which also owns Maggiano’s Little Italy casual-dining and the It’s Just Wings virtual brands, said the leadership structure now aligns to Brinker’s new strategy.
Promoted from co-chief operating officer of Chili’s, White will oversee recruitment and retention, talent selection, learning and development, and diversity, equity and inclusion for Brinker.
“Given the importance of team member and manager retention, we’re moving our people function closer to the operation,” said Kevin Hochman, Brinker president and CEO, of the human resources move. “With previous leadership roles in PeopleWorks – our HR department – and extensive operations experience, Aaron was the perfect candidate to help us achieve our hiring and retention goals and make our positions in the field easier, more fun and more rewarding.”
While has worked with Chili’s for more than 20 years, starting as an hourly team member. She most recently oversaw operations for more than 500 restaurants.
“I’ve had a passion for this industry since I started working in restaurants in high school, and I’ve always been motivated by supporting the growth and development of team members throughout their careers,” White said in a statement. “I’m honored to take on this role and am ready to tackle our retention goals and redefine our labor model to better support our operators and team members.”
Most recently serving as senior vice president for innovation, Allen will return to his role as chief digital officer, focusing on growth of the company’s off-premises business.
“Given the $1 billion in annual Chili’s sales consumed off-premises, it’s clear that guests now view Chili’s as a delicious home-meal replacement,” Hochman said. “I’m pleased that Wade has jumped into the opportunity to explore and determine how we might remove friction from the team member and the guest experience to continue to drive this important part of our business.”
Allen joined Brinker in 2014 and has held multiple leadership roles in technology, analytics and digital marketing.
“My roots are in technology, data security and analytics, and I’m excited to continue to use technology to transform and improve the off-premises experience for our guests,” Allen said.
For the fourth quarter ended June 29, Brinker’s net income was $40.2 million, or 90 cents a share, down from $75 million, or $1.58 a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenue was $1.021.5 billion compared to $1.008.6 billion in the same quarter last year.
Brinker International owns, operates and franchised more than 1,600 restaurants in 29 countries and two U.S. territories. It also owns the Maggiano's Italian Classics virtual brand.
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