The deep bench of fast-casual industry leadership at Untamed Brands is expanding with the appointment of Kendra Hovey as the first dedicated Fair Chance Employment Ambassador, helping to expand access to supportive jobs and resources for those who need a fair chance at work. Untamed Brands owns and operates Hot Chicken Takeover in Ohio and taim mediterranean kitchen across the East Coast.
Hot Chicken Takeover launched in 2014 as a Fair Chance employer, providing meaningful benefits including financial stability, cash advancement, counseling, professional development and a flexible career path for individuals who have been unhoused or incarcerated. Several Fair Chance hires have grown within the company to become general managers.
“Building relationships that foster a sense of community is already natural to our model and these relationships are especially important for Fair Chance. I’m eager to expand the program’s reach to provide people in Columbus, Cleveland and beyond earlier with pathways into meaningful careers in foodservice,” says Kendra Hovey. “Reaching young people at the high school level with access to steady pay and resources is an area of opportunity. We also are seeing a significant increase in women within correctional facilities today, and Hot Chicken Takeover has been able to elevate multiple women through the company into key managerial positions.”
Bringing deep field expertise, Hovey spent the past seven years as chief strategist and executive director with Healing Broken Circles in Columbus. The organization provides alternatives to punitive systems of incarceration and deficiency-based social services. Under her leadership, the Healing Broken Circles ran a first-of-its-kind community center within a state prison. The center offered over 30 programs supporting community reintegration, including higher education, workplace readiness, creative expression, wellness, and social and emotional learning. Hovey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles, and a Master’s from The Ohio State University.
Community Partnerships Are Key for New Fair Chance Employment Ambassador
In her role as Fair Chance Employment Ambassador, Hovey will focus on building a network of community partners in regions where Untamed Brands operates so that individuals in those programs have the opportunity to join Hot Chicken Takeover (Ohio) or taim mediterranean kitchen (in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Washington D.C.) as they re-enter their communities.
She will build a suite of resources available to all system employees to address the common challenges many foodservice employees face, such as navigating child care, financial education, and identifying affordable living arrangements. Alongside the People & Culture team, she also will shape internal people development programs focusing on soft skills.
Through Hovey’s local relationships, Hot Chicken Takeover is now partnering with Derrick Russell in Columbus. Russell is a former gang member who now serves as a community reentry specialist with Alvis House, a Youth Advocate with Star House and leader with Listen Good Youth in Columbus.
“Our company mission to provide not just job opportunities but true career opportunities to individuals who are otherwise highly marginalized from finding employment in our society is something we are all very proud of,” says Phil Petrilli, Founder and CEO of Untamed Brands. “We have an incredible opportunity with Kendra to curate and grow a special culture and strong team.”
Untamed Brands CEO Phil Petrilli will soon join Russell and his Listen Good Youth organization on a series of community walks to introduce area teens and young adults to the idea of pursuing a culinary path.
“Our unique employment program builds upon years of relationship-building to establish the right resources, supports, and trust to make Fair Chance a win-win for our brands and communities. Kendra’s deep connections in Ohio will allow us to create more jobs and stronger futures,” adds Petrilli. “We also are beginning the journey of forging strong relationships in New York City and communities throughout New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. to introduce the program to taim mediterranean kitchen.”
Founded by Chipotle veteran Phil Petrilli, Untamed Brands currently operates taim mediterranean kitchen and Hot Chicken Takeover.