Fox Restaurant Concepts 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 to transition True Food Kitchen into a stand-alone company under Centerbridge Partners' majority ownership over the next year.
In her role, Barone 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, California, most recently and Palo Alto, California, Walnut Creek, California, and Chicago later this fall. Additional locations are set to open in 2017 including Naples, Florida, Boca Raton, Florida, Bethesda, Maryland, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, San Diego, California, Plano, Texas, and Nashville.
"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," says Fox, 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," Barone says. "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."
Before joining True Food Kitchen, Barone served as Starbucks' senior vice president of food, evenings and licensed stores. While at Starbucks, she led the rollout and launch of La Boulange bakery offerings to over 12,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Barone 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.
Barone 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, Washington, to Scottsdale, Arizona, where she will reside with her husband and three children.