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True Food Kitchen taps former Shake Shack exec to lead Human Resources

Peggy Rubenzer’s career in hospitality cultures spans three decades

True Food Kitchen named Peggy Rubenzer chief people officer. This follows the appointment of Shannon Keller to the chief marketing officer role earlier this year. The Phoenix, Ariz.-based chain hired Rubenzer to oversee True Food Kitchen’s Human Resources and Training functions. The True Food Kitchen chief people officer will report to Christine Barone, its chief executive, said the announcement.

Rubenzer worked at two other high-profile restaurant chains, becoming an experienced, human resources executive with deep restaurant industry expertise Most recently, she worked at Shake Shack. There, she served as senior vice president of people resources. In her eight-year tenure, she supported Shake Shack’s growth from nine stores to 200. Rubenzer’s leadership in HR strategy helped boost a culture of service and hospitality.

Additionally, she held executive roles at P.F. Chang’s, working her way up from vice president of people services to vice president of training and development for the chain by 2007.

True Food Kitchen chief people officer to support culture, brand

Rubenzer’s career began at Southwest Airlines, where she selected, developed and trained service and corporate personnel. As chief people officer at True Food Kitchen, she will help build the talent pipeline by overseeing HR efforts and developing systems to reward and recognize staff. Also, through the chain’s people initiatives, Rubenzer will help further the culture and brand identity as the healthy-food-oriented, casual-dining chain grows.

“Her impressive background of driving organizational change and leading restaurant brands through hypergrowth make her exactly the right people leader to help scale and fulfill our mission to bring delicious, healthy food to more people,” said Barone of Rubenzer.

True Food Kitchen started in 2008 and developed a menu of food and beverages inspired by the anti-inflammatory food pyramid of Dr. Andrew Weil. In 2018, to further its growth, the chain received an investment from Oprah Winfrey, a top celebrity, media executive, investor and entrepreneur,

Photo credit: True Food Kitchen

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