Former Starbucks executive to spearhead growth of True Food Kitchen including hiring top-level talent
Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC) has hired former Starbucks executive Christine Barone as chief executive officer of True Food Kitchen, an innovative restaurant brand founded by hospitality visionary Sam Fox and inspired by the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid. Christine will work closely with Sam in FRC’s home office in Phoenix, Ariz. to transition True Food Kitchen into a stand-alone company under Centerbridge Partners’ majority ownership over the next year.
In her role, Christine will drive True Food Kitchen’s continued growth strategy, while building a world-class leadership team to support the company’s expansion. She will oversee the marketing, operations and expansion of True Food Kitchen and its 13 locations nationwide. True Food Kitchen has already seen considerable growth in 2016 with new restaurants in Austin, Texas and Pasadena, Calif. most recently and Palo Alto, Calif., Walnut Creek, Calif. and Chicago, Ill. later this fall. Additional locations are set to open in 2017 including Naples, Fla., Boca Raton, Fla., Bethesda, Md., King of Prussia, Pa., San Diego, Calif., Plano, Texas and Nashville, Tenn.
“Christine’s knowledge and experience in the food industry is exactly what we’ve been looking for to take True Food Kitchen to the next level and we’re thrilled to have her on board,” said Sam, founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts. “Her passion for building and leading teams, along with her proven track record of operating complex businesses will be instrumental in the transition of True Food Kitchen.”
“This is an exciting time for True Food Kitchen and I am energized by the opportunity to lead the next phase of our growth,” said Christine. “I’m a big fan of True Food Kitchen’s unique approach to thoughtfully crafted, nutrition-focused food and look forward to bringing this concept to more people in new cities across the U.S.”
Prior to joining True Food Kitchen, Christine served as Starbucks’ senior vice president of food, evenings and licensed stores. While at Starbucks, she led the roll-out and launch of La Boulange bakery offerings to over 12,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Christine previously led multiple teams as a management consultant with Bain & Company, where she helped transform several retail and consumer businesses. She began her career as an investment banker.
Christine graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in applied mathematics and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a board member with Ninkasi Brewing Company. Christine is relocating from Sammamish, Wash., to Scottsdale, Ariz., where she will reside with her husband and three children.
Christine’s current True Food Kitchen favorites are the Charred Cauliflower and Pressed Apple Soda.
Fox Restaurant Concepts is a growing restaurant group today encompassing 16 unique concepts and 47 restaurants spanning eight states with more than 4,000 employees. Each concept strives to provide guests with a remarkable dining experience that will leave a lasting impression. Varying from contemporary upscale to fast casual and walkup retail, Fox Restaurant Concepts is dedicated to creating flavorful, fresh and innovative cuisine, and offers gracious service in stylish and comfortable settings. For more information, visit www.foxrc.com.
Entrepreneur and restaurant visionary Sam Fox opened the first True Food Kitchen in Phoenix in 2008. A progressive restaurant concept with a menu rooted in the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, True Food Kitchen emphasizes wholesome, simple ingredients with simple preparations to highlight the natural health benefits and flavors of each ingredient. The innovative menu caters to a variety of preferences and diets and offers an array of delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Today, the restaurant has 13 locations throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and Virginia, with plans for three additional locations in 2016. Each True Food Kitchen is designed to reflect the local character of the region in an upscale and sustainable environment. To learn more, visit www.truefoodkitchen.com.