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Oprah becomes investor in True Food Kitchen

Media mogul and talk show host Oprah Winfrey has invested in one of Phoenix’s fast-growing restaurant chains.

Winfrey now has an equity stake in healthy-food restaurant True Food Kitchen, the company announced Wednesday. With her investment, True Food plans to double its store growth.

Financial details of Winfrey’s investment were not disclosed.

Winfrey also will join the chain’s board of directors.

Winfrey was first introduced to True Food Kitchen by friend and health expert Bob Greene, according to the announcement.

“I love bringing people together over a good meal,” Winfrey said in a statement. “When I first dined at True Food Kitchen, I was so impressed with the team’s passion for healthy eating and, of course, the delicious food, that I knew I wanted to be part of the company’s future.” 

True Food CEO Christine Barone said she was impressed by Winfrey’s passion for the brand and concept.

“When Ms. Winfrey and I first sat down to discuss her potential investment, I was impressed by her genuine passion for the intention behind True Food,” Barone said in a statement. “My hope is that her passion and investment will continue to develop our growing brand to allow even more guests to experience a better way of eating.”

Founded in 2008 by Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts, True Food Kitchen has grown to become one of the hottest concepts in the country since being spun off from FRC in 2016. At spin-off, the chain had about 12 restaurants. It now has more than 20 with locations spread around several states, including Arizona, California, Texas and Florida.

Earlier this year, Fishbowl ranked True Food Kitchen as one of the top emerging restaurant brands based on an algorithm composed from researching blogs, social posts and media mentions, as well as enthusiasm in posts and mentions. It is a ranking New York-based Shake Shack once topped.

By Tim Gallen  – Digital Editor, Phoenix Business Journal