Carrie Luxem is the founder and CEO of Restaurant HR Group, Inc. and Carrie Luxem LLC and she is laser-focused on her mission to create more restaurant and leadership success stories. She is the author of Restaurant Operator’s HR Playbook and will be publishing her second book (a soft skills playbook) in 2021.
With a restaurant industry focused HR career that has spanned over 20 years, Carrie is frequently sought out for her modern, yet simple and effective advice. She has been named as one of the top 50 women innovators in the restaurant industry and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, Restaurant News, Pizza Today and Independent Restaurateur. She has a weekly column with 1851 Franchising, actively posts articles and videos on social media, and has appeared on several radio shows and dozens of restaurant industry and business-focused podcasts.
One of Carrie’s earliest examples of what a passionate and determined work ethic looks like occurred when she was just 10 years old. Around this time, she began helping her father with his small business — a manufacturing facility specializing in tool and die in her hometown of Rockford, Illinois. At that impressionable age, each step of business ownership seemed foreign and yet absolutely thrilling to her. She took in every second and kept a careful eye on her father’s behavior, like the respect with which he treated each customer or the graciousness he wasn’t afraid to verbalize to his employees.
Watching him, she learned the true meaning of entrepreneurship. He ingrained in her the need to demonstrate a dedication to one’s craft, the importance of putting forth your most diligent effort, and the perseverance, honesty, and integrity it takes to own a successful business. From that day on, she just knew that she would follow in his footsteps, forever chasing that euphoric sense of accomplishment, birthing new ideas, and molding them together into flowing processes.
And so it began. At age 15, she took her first paid position working at the local Dairy Queen. Even though the work was often hot, sticky, and just plain messy, it felt like she had found her place. The management team there had a lasting and significant impact on her, and ultimately, the trajectory of her life and career. This is where the seeds of love for the restaurant industry were planted and where she witnessed how being a truly effective leader and a genuine, caring human being can resonate with a team of employees, regardless of their diverse backgrounds.Throughout her teens and early twenties, she continued to work in various restaurants and positions, learning a lot about their inner workings, the business side of things, and loads about how to effectively manage people. In addition to those jobs, she continued to “side hustle” for most of her youth and early adulthood. She began testing the entrepreneurial waters, stretching her wings and forming small business ventures. From cleaning windows for local restaurants to designing balloon arches for Home Depot to coordinating job fair events to opening a flower shop, she had her share of hits and misses.
In 1997, she moved from her little hometown to Chicago. Thankfully, she quickly found her way, landing positions in the city’s bustling restaurants and nightclubs. Within a year, fate intervened when she crossed paths with Bryant Keil, the visionary behind Potbelly Sandwich Works. At that time,Potbelly had three locations, but they had exciting plans for the company’s future. And needless to say, she wanted in. So in June of 1999, she was brought on as Potbelly’s Director of Human Resources.
For more than a decade, she worked in this amazing role, surrounded by talented teammates and doing the work she loved. Through the development and restructuring of Potbelly’s recruiting process and HR functions, those three restaurants bloomed into more than 200 restaurants in ten markets.
But after an incredible career with Potbelly, she had a vision of her own.
In 2010, she founded Restaurant HR Group where they partner with restaurateurs from coast-to-coast and manage their HR, payroll, and benefits administration and compliance.
In 2017, she founded Carrie Luxem, LLC, where she is laser-focused on her mission to create more restaurant and leadership success stories through her keynotes, training, books, and membership platform where they focus on offering support and guidance on HR, culture, recruiting, payroll, benefits, performance management, and leadership. Carrie is the author of Restaurant Operator’s HR Playbook and is working on her second book, a soft skills playbook, and this will be published in 2021.
With a career that has spanned over 20 years, Carrie is frequently sought out for her modern, yet simple and effective advice. She has been named as one of the top 50 women innovators in the restaurant industry and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, Restaurant News, Pizza Today and Independent Restaurateur, she has a weekly column with 1851 Franchising, actively posts articles and videos on social media, and has appeared on several radio shows and dozens of restaurant industry and business-focused podcasts.
Carrie does have life outside of her professional goals and aspirations. She is a mom of two amazing boys and married to an incredible man — who happens to be a fabulous restaurant operator to boot! In her spare time, she loves to travel the world, pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople, and go to as many Pitbull shows as possible. Yep, Carrie Luxem is a total Pitbull fangirl!