Restaurant chain Applebee's International Inc has announced that Stan Sword will be joining the company as chief people officer with effect from 8 August.

In his new role, Sword will lead the company's effort to attract, motivate, reward and retain the best associates, from servers to senior executives, in the restaurant industry, it said.

Sword previously worked for Cerner Corporation, a supplier of healthcare information technology.

"At the centre of our strategic plan is 'noticeably better people,'" said Lloyd Hill, chairman and chief executive officer of Applebee's International, Inc. "That's why the chief people officer position is at the same level as the chief financial officer, the chief marketing officer and the chief operating officer. It speaks to the fact that, at Applebee's, we are not in the food business serving people; we are in the people business serving food."

Sword will replace Lou Kaucic, who is retiring after eight years with Applebee's International.

"Lou has been instrumental in developing the culture and HR policies that have made Applebee's a recognized industry leader," Hill said.