- Brinker International announced Monday that Wade Allen, who previously served as SVP of innovation for two years, returned to his role as SVP and chief digital officer.
- Allen will focus on the company’s off-premise business and shaping the digital guest experience through to-go and delivery service and Chili’s mobile app.
- Brinker also promoted Aaron White to EVP and chief people officer. She will oversee all aspects of the employee experience for Brinker and Chili’s.
Allen’s return to the chief digital officer role comes as Chili’s off-premise sales have reached $1 billion, Brinker CEO Kevin Hochman said in the press release. Allen has been with Brinker since 2014, and has held multiple leadership roles. As CDO, he will work with Chili’s CMO George Felix, CIO Pankaj Patra and COO Doug Comings to build strategies and plans to accelerate Chili’s off-premise business, most of which comes from digital transactions, the press release said.
This could include overseeing improvements to Chili’s virtual brands. During its Q4 2020, the company announced it was hiking its virtual brand prices and trimming menus to rightsize them — particularly at Maggiano’s Italian Classics, which had 26 unique SKUs that accounted for about 2% of the band’s business. The company planned to cut Maggiano’s menu by roughly half.
As Allen works to improve the digital guest experience, White will work to improve recruitment and retention, talent selection, learning and development and diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the press release. She will also oversee culinary operations, restaurant services, guest engagement and employee relations. White, who has been with Chili’s for over 20 years, originally joined Chili’s as an hourly worker. She most recently served as SVP and co-chief operating officer at Chili’s, where she oversaw over 500 restaurants. Her previous roles include VP of operations service, senior director of PeopleWorks and area director, according to the release.