By Ny Magee:
Oprah Winfrey is investing in a health-driven restaurant chain that aims to put better-for-you options at your fingertips.
The media mogul has secured stake in True Food Kitchen and her partnership will expand locations in the U.S.; doubling the stores to 46 in the next three years, with focus on the east coast.
The award-winning eatery prides itself on a health-conscious menu, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Winfrey, who launched a cookbook and a line of her own comfort food with a healthy twist, will serve on the True Food Kitchen board of directors as a consultant.
“I love bringing people together over a good meal,” Winfrey said. “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.”
The OWN network CEO learned about True Food Kitchen from friend and health expert Bob Greene, after he invited Winfrey to dine at the company’s Santa Monica location. She was hooked from that moment.
Oprah signed on as an equity investor and will also give insight on the brand’s marketing and expansion plans.
“Ms. Winfrey is such an incredibly accomplished businesswoman,” said True Food Kitchen CEO Christine Barone. “We are lucky to have her as an investor and sit on the board of directors.”
“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 explained.
“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.”
She continued: “Every single one of our restaurants is a bit different and integrates itself into the local community,” Barone explained.
“What was really inspiring was [Winfrey] not only loved the food but felt that sense of community in our restaurant.”
True Food Kitchen plans to expand to New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida and Maryland. Also, two new locations in Jacksonville, Florida, and Nashville are expected to open by the end of the year.
True Food Kitchen was established in 2008 by Dr. Andrew Weil and focuses on an anti-inflammatory diet.