Brinker International, Inc. today announced Aaron White has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer, Brinker International. In her new role, White will oversee all aspects of the Team Member experience for Brinker and Chili's® Grill & Bar, including recruitment and retention, talent selection, learning and development, and diversity, equity and inclusion. At an enterprise level, she will also lead key business priorities such as culinary operations, restaurant services, Guest engagement and Team Member relations.
"Given the importance of Team Member and manager retention, we're moving our people function closer to the operation," said Kevin Hochman, President and CEO of Brinker International. "And 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."
Aaron joined Chili's as an hourly Team Member and has devoted her twenty-plus year career serving Chili's restaurant teams and Guests. In her most recent role as Senior Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Chili's, Aaron oversaw operations for more than 500 restaurants to ensure best-in-class operations and deliver excellent Guest and Team Member experiences. Her tenure with the brand has also included roles such as VP, Operations Services; Sr. Director, PeopleWorks; and Area Director. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and business from the University of Tennessee.
"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," said White. "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."
In addition, Wade Allen will return to his role as Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, this time with a focus on growing the company's off-premise business and driving the digital Guest experience online through the Chili's app, To-Go and Delivery.
"Given the $1 billion in annual Chili's sales consumed off-premise, 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 was previously SVP of Innovation with oversight of culinary innovation, engineering, strategic growth, and the development and execution of virtual brands. He has held multiple leadership roles in technology, analytics and digital marketing. He will work with the Chili's CMO, George Felix; CIO, Pankaj Patra; and COO, Doug Comings to identify strategies and plans to accelerate the Chili's off-premise business, most of which is transacted digitally.
"My roots are in technology, data security and analytics, and I'm excited to continue to use technology to transform and improve the off-premise experience for our Guests," said Allen. "Chili's has always been a leader in leveraging tech in the industry, and we will continue to innovate and make strides with ease, personalization and hospitality at the forefront."