The Power List 2018: Denny Marie Post

denny marie post

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The Inked Leader

Denny Marie Post became CEO at Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. in August 2016, after joining the 560-unit casual-dining chain as CMO in 2011. Before that, Post was CMO at T-Mobile USA and worked in leadership at Starbucks,

Burger King and Yum! Brands Inc. She’s treasurer of the Women’s Foodservice Forum board and a member of the Culinary Institute of America Society of Fellows.

Known for: A focus on guests, shareholders and especially team members, even putting her leadership challenges in ink. Last February, Post had a Red Robin burger tattooed on her left arm after surpassing a challenge and more than doubling guest satisfaction scores.

Power move: Post has helped create what she calls “best in class” employee retention in a period of near full employment in the U.S. economy. The company culture has produced a 94-percent

retention rate, strong for the restaurant industry, and managerial turnover of “a remarkably low” 26 percent. Red Robin has eliminated expediting kitchen positions and is in the process of trimming busser positions to reduce labor costs.

What’s next: Post will pause new-unit development after the end of 2018 to refocus the brand on the future, which might offer formats other than casual dining. The company has turned one of its Chicago Express units into a delivery-only location. Further tests of delivery and catering can be expected.

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