Leiala Dentino

Leiala Dentino

Vice President of Training & Development,
Kei Concepts

In August 2023, Leiala Dentino joined Kei Concepts as the Vice President of Training and Development. Her role with this young, innovative, and dynamic collection of 8 different concepts is focused on growth acceleration across all brands by developing scalable training processes. She has been in the hospitality industry for over 40 years and has been fortunate in her career to become a well-rounded restaurant industry professional with a diverse skill set and a comprehensive understanding of different operational models within the service sector.

Prior to joining Kei Concepts, Dentino was the Vice President of Training and Development at El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. From April 2018 to March 2023, she spearheaded training initiatives and programs for a vast network of company-owned and franchise restaurants, totaling 492 establishments, alongside the corporate support center. Her leadership was characterized by a commitment to fostering a Heart-Centered Leadership style, prioritizing capability building, coaching mindsets, and cultivating a people-first culture. At El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., she created a crew and customer-centric training program that set a new standard for excellence within the organization. Within a short span of six months, Dentino established Certified Training Restaurants across all operational areas, while also developing robust managerial training programs to enhance operational consistency and uphold company standards. Through rigorous data analysis and targeted interventions, she addressed collective and individual needs, delivering measurable solutions that drove business performance and employee development.

Before her time at El Pollo Loco, Dentino held the position of Vice President of Training & Development at Benihana Inc., overseeing the training and R&D departments for three different brands across 133 restaurants generating $500 million in sales. Leading a dynamic team of 9 hospitality professionals, she championed a guest-centric, high-performance training culture and elevated the food and beverage programs focused on driving top-line sales with calculated cost measures.

Her overarching philosophy centers on nurturing individuals, fostering their growth both professionally and personally, and crafting solutions that enhance team efficiency and satisfaction. She is deeply committed to instilling a culture that fosters self-belief among individuals and contributes to the overall success of the organization. As a member of the board of The Collins College of Hospitality Management, Dentino is eager to leverage her expertise to shape the future of the industry and empower the next generation of hospitality professionals.