El Pollo Loco, Inc. announced the appointment of Jennifer Jaffe as Senior Vice President and the company’s first-ever Chief People Officer. Jaffe brings years of proven leadership and experience leading HR and talent management functions to this newly created role.
Jaffe comes to El Pollo Loco from Estée Lauder, where she led the human resources function for Too Faced Cosmetics and oversaw the company’s acquisition by Estée Lauder in 2016. Prior to Estée Lauder, Jaffe was Vice President of Human Resources at AT&T, where she served on an HR leadership team to support more than 13,000 employees. Before that, she was the Vice President of Talent Development at DIRECTV prior to its merger with AT&T, where she led the end-to-end talent management strategy for the entire corporation, including the creation and execution of the talent review process for more than 3,000 leaders and oversaw the company’s leadership development and learning programs.
“We could not be more thrilled to have Jennifer join the El Pollo Loco team to spearhead this important leadership role within the company,” says Bernard Acoca, president and Chief Executive Officer at El Pollo Loco. “Our people, from the restaurants to the Support Center to the franchisees, are our greatest asset. Jennifer brings the visionary and authentic leadership needed to help us create a truly amazing culture for our people, who in turn will continue to give our customers the best food and the best experience possible.”
In her role as Chief People Officer, Jaffe will be responsible for overseeing all of the company’s HR functions and working with management to transform and accelerate the company’s focus on developing a people-first culture for El Pollo Loco’s Support Center and more than 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants.
“I’m excited to join El Pollo Loco at a time when the company is so clearly focused on renewing its commitment to creating an authentic, transparent and people-first culture,” Jaffe says. “El Pollo Loco’s mission is centered on the idea of putting its people’s needs and considerations first in everything the company does, and I look forward to playing a role in fostering that very important mission.”
El Pollo Loco’s commitment to a people-first culture includes the recent launch of an extensive training program called Heart-Centered Leadership based on inspiring its workforce to lead with authenticity, humility and transparency. The company has also invested in Workplace by Facebook in all company-owned restaurants, a social media platform designed to help eliminate communications barriers between the support center and restaurant employees, enabling robust operational dialog in real time, while also further building a sense of community.
Jaffe earned a Bachelor of Arts in both International Studies and Sociology from University of California of Irvine and a Master of Science in Human Resources from Chapman University. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Girls, Inc. of Orange County, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring and research-based programming to equip girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.
With more than 480 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Louisiana, El Pollo Loco is expanding its presence in key markets through a combination of company and existing and new franchisee development.