New year, new goals! We are thrilled to provide you with a comprehensive guide outlining qualifications to earn a spot in the most prestigious club in our organization – The DRG Champions’ Club. DRG’s best of the best top performers are inducted into this exclusive group that includes several membership benefits. To get your golden ticket to Champions’ Club, you must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Top 20% in 5 STAR/Scorecard: Champions’ Club eligibility begins with being among the top 20% in our 5 STAR and Scorecard performance evaluation. Consistent, exceptional performance in your role is a key criterion for consideration.
- Supported/Nominated by Immediate Supervisor: You need the endorsement and support of your immediate supervisor who believes in your excellence and contributions. Their nomination is a testament to your outstanding performance and leadership qualities.
- Personal Results: Champions’ Club members are known for their impressive personal results, often exceeding performance targets and delivering outstanding outcomes. Your track record of excellence is a major factor.
- DRG Contributions/Living Out the DRG Values and Mission: Show your dedication to Commitment to advancing our shared goals is a distinguishing feature of a Champions’ Club member. Champions uphold and exemplify in all they do.
- Leadership Behaviors: True champions exhibit exemplary leadership behaviors. Your ability to guide, inspire and empower others is a vital component of Champions’ Club consideration.
Exclusive Benefits of Champions’ Club Membership
In addition to the honor of membership, the club offers these exclusive benefits:
- Leadership Summit Recognition: Your award will be presented at the annual Leadership Summit, providing you with an opportunity to interact with our organization’s top leaders and executives.
- Champs Club Recognition Trip: The year you win an “of the year” award will include a memorable adventure with a ticket to the Champs Club Recognition Trip, often held in Cabo, Mexico. Past winners can attend the trip more than once if they receive another award within different year. Champions get to bring a guest on the trip. *Guests cannot be a DRG employee and must be over 16 years of age.
- Annual Exclusive Gathering: As a Champions’ Club member, you’ll receive an exclusive invitation to a Champions’ Club event every year. This is a chance to reconnect with fellow club members, share experiences, and celebrate ongoing success.
We believe in recognizing and rewarding excellence consistently, and we encourage you to aim for the Champions’ Club every year. Don’t let this unique opportunity pass you by! To get inspired, This is your time to shine, and we look forward to celebrating your remarkable achievements!
General Manager Darren Espy is truly in the prime of his career. Most recently, he:
- made status for the fifth time,
- landed on Nation’s Restaurant News’
- led our through all of 2023 with a 5-star rating, and
- celebrated a “first” he’s longed for, winning the coveted .
Now he gets to join the nation’s top 100 Taco Bell Managers and Area Coaches on a trip to Hawaii. Taco ‘bout some awesome news!
Darren is a Manager Supreme, overseeing one of the busiest Taco Bells in the world. Whether playing host to a pack of hungry tourists or serving up Taco Bell faves at and (like DRG’s), the Vegas Cantina is a popular hotspot.
At the time of our interview, Darren and his team were gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday on the Strip!
The Gold Standard
So what’s the big deal about this latest accolade?
Golden Bell metrics are based on the number of customer complaints, CORE audits, and star ratings.
“We came out on top,” Darren shares proudly. “It’s truly exciting to achieve that goal.” But, “one and done” is not his plan here — Darren’s already planning what’s needed to keep the Cantina’s spot on top.
“What do I do to maintain that standard?” he’s been asking himself.
But this is a guy who’s spent his entire career in Quick Service Restaurants (20 years with KFC!). If anyone can figure out a recipe for success, it’s Darren.
Darren’s motto: Work smarter, not harder.
His other nuggets of wisdom:
- Surround yourself with great people.
- Continue to be the best you can be.
- Respect the people around you.
- Equip your team with the tools they need to be successful.
STAYING IN THE PRESENT
For now, Darren appreciates the uniqueness of his job as manager of a Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas.
“When you’ve been in the business this long, you can get bored,” he says. But according to Darren, the Cantina setting is so different — especially in Sin City — that it keeps things new and exciting.
“It’s fun to come to work,” he says. “I enjoy what I do.” Read more about why .
“If I can retire doing what I’m doing, I will.” – Darren Espy, RGM
In the meantime, he’s got a trip to look forward to! This isn’t Darren’s first chance to see Hawaii — he once graciously gifted his parents a trip that he’d won while being a top performer at KFC. But finally it’s his turn!
In 2021, Corinne Canavan traveled to Las Vegas, NV from Detroit, MI on vacation. Nothing unusual.
“I realized that I love the weather and also, I noticed that the service industry was kind of struggling,” she recalls. “To me, that looked like an opportunity with my background.”
She simply for a job with DRG and was hired — on her birthday — over Zoom. The rest, as they say, is history.
Opportunity After Opportunity
Corinne’s story with Arby’s actually starts farther back, though. She first started working for the brand during high school, long before joining the DRG family. She began as a cashier and found herself steadily working her way up to management, taking on “ Arby’s has to offer.” And doing it well! She was among our last fall!
“I was an assistant six months before taking over my first location,” she says. Today, Corinne has managed seven restaurants so far and certified three. She says she likes the fast-paced environment. Her home base is our Durango Arby’s in North Las Vegas.
According to Corinne, DRG offers endless opportunity and “opens up the spectrum of where my career could go.”
“I need things to be new and exciting,” she continues. “DRG is really good at keeping it that way.”
Corinne says no matter where the career path takes her, she sees options at DRG: open a new restaurant, move up, check out another path within DRG. That’s what she’d share with prospects — DRG is a place where personal and professional development is happening all the time. And we have !
“I just, I see so many different opportunities,” she says.
Today, Corinne holds two important roles for us — Certified Training Manager (CTM) for DRG Meats and manager of her Arby’s location.
“My team at 7781 … they get the job done for me,” she gushes. “My assistant is definitely my better half. Every single person on my management team … plays an individualized role in running the store. And they all do such a great job.”
“I’ve never, ever worked with a more inclusive group of people.”
In her day to day, sometimes Corinne is the mentor and sometimes she’s the student, she admits. She sees value in learning from diverse people from so many different walks of life.
Much as she enjoyed her all-expenses paid trip to Mexico as a newly inducted member (and Arby’s General Manager of the Year), it’s what she said in that shows her commitment to making an impact: “My favorite thing is training and development … I think it’s my job to bring someone else here next year,” she said about developing others to compete for a spot on our beloved reward trip.
“I love the constant flow of mentorship … it’s always going in and going out, whether I’m the mentor or the student.” – Corrine Canavan, Training Manager
But you can’t earn a spot if you’re not a part of the team. “It’s a very easy, fast-paced, fun job to have,” Corinne would tell you with enthusiasm!
Innovation is the name of the game at DRG. We are proud to expand on the and create spaces where people love to gather and host ! Where else can you get all your favorite Taco Bell menu items, in addition to the alcoholic beverage of your choice? From boozy Baja Blasts to beer or a glass of wine, the options are endless!
No matter the occasion, we have a cantina for you! Every location has its own unique personality and theme. Want a beautiful beach backdrop for your next event? Check out our , ranked one of the So beautiful, in fact, it played host to the first reception.
Las Vegas, NV
Speaking of getting hitched, is home to its very own ! If we had to rank the most romantic of all our Cantinas, this one would take the cake. Outside of exchanging vows, our Vegas cantina, located right on the Strip, opts for faster–paced action in the form of to raise money for a good cause.
San Jose, CA
We are immensely proud of our newly opened To have the support of our partners like the to welcome us to the community is unmatched! It’s the perfect place to book your private event – you and your guests can feast on Taco Bell classics and Twisted Freezes while hanging out on the heather outdoor patio.
Kansas City, MO
with a plethora of large screen TVs, remains the place to be for all your game-day viewing needs. Situated perfectly on the corner of Westport Rd. and Broadway Blvd., this Cantina is the ideal spot to grab a drink with friends or stop by for a quick bite. Relax in one of our comfy booths or get in on the action at the bar – there is something for everyone!
San Francisco, CA
Our location is currently wrapping up a refresh that will leave guests feeling golden. Through the space is small, it sure is mighty! New upgrades will enhance the customer experience by allowing for faster service and a fresh new feel. The team is looking forward to more space and an optimized line to get our famous food out quicker to our guests.
San Ramon, CA
If gaming is your style, you won’t want to miss the . It is the only Taco Bell in the world boasting a gaming theater with 6 Xbox consoles. Whether you want to level up your next birthday party, have a fun night with friends, or just try something new, we know you’ll have a blast at this game-themed Cantina.
What’s better than sunshine, palm trees, and the California coast? How about all of that plus Taco Bell! At our Newport Cantina you can find good food, good drinks, and good vibes. Take a beach-day break and grab a classic menu item and a refreshing Twisted Freeze. With just a short walk from the sand, bring your appetite and we’ll supply the Taco Bell you crave!
Last, but certainly not least, is the family-friendly . Focused on fresh air and fun, this Cantina has everything from lawn games and fire pits, to TV’s and an outdoor bar. The heated patio can be enjoyed year-round, making every hour feel like happy hour. Rent the whole space for an indoor-outdoor party or reserve one space for a private event you won’t forget!
Inspired? Visit the to book your next party today!
Marco Ramirez is Restaurant General Manager (RGM) of DRG’s newest Taco Bell Cantina in San Jose, CA, which . He and his team just pushed through their first holiday season at Westfield Oakridge Mall, where the cantina is a mere elevator ride away from the movie theater (and hungry moviegoers).
According to Marco, while the mall offers plenty of dining competition, he believes the care his team has for the guests and DRG’s focus on safe, high-quality fare combined with speedy service is what sets his Taco Bell apart.
Marco wants his cantina known as a clean, friendly place where guests can enjoy everything “their way.”
Cantinas Got Good Vibes
Hey, the can’t hurt! DRG’s San Jose Cantina boasts a retro look with a vintage movie theater display case, TVs, music, a “well-equipped” patio with comfy seating and a fireplace — a definite step up for fast foodies. Check out the pretty pink order pickup room donned with neon electric lights and taco designs throughout. When “Barbie” was on the big screen, it was coined the “Barbie Room.”
Like , San Jose has proven a great — NHL Sharks events are “full of fun,” according to Marco ().
Marco hasn’t spent much time in a traditional Taco Bell — he bounced around from cantina to cantina for training — but he claims cantinas have a completely different vibe.
“We have fun every time we have a shift,” he says. “Guests come [in] more relaxed, looking to try new mixes with our freezes and stuff like that … we still run Taco Bell requirements in food but in a more fun way.”
Dine in, pick up, sit on the patio — there are lots of options! And like the rest of our cantinas, this location serves alcohol, perfect for spicing up any of our nine flavors.
More About Marco
Marco joined DRG in June 2022 after opening a non-Taco Bell Mexican food restaurant with his family (they own two restaurants and three taco trucks). Once their newest location — in Turlock, CA — started taking off and seemed adequately staffed, he moved back to the Bay Area. That’s when he heard from another Taco Bell franchisee about an Area Coach (AC) position. Marco remembers filling out several job applications at once; one happened to be for DRG.
He decided to accept an Assistant General Manager (AGM) role with DRG, with full intention to move up , and became RGM in March 2023. He was handpicked for the cantina from the start: interviewing, hiring and training a new team for the much anticipated San Jose location.
Marco finished up training while the new cantina was being built.
“It was hard work but very motivational,” he says of the onboarding process. He says his AC James Aman involved him in all aspects of preparation, even construction. He thinks that’s why he’s so attached to his cantina and employees.
Marco really believes that DRG is a people-focused company. “They care about you as a person, treat you well,” he says. “When I need support I have it. It’s a great company with competitive salaries and
He continues, “There is a person in charge for each department, rules are very clear and training is important here.” Yes, at DRG, we believe in from the start.
We’re always looking for fun, reliable people. !
Freddy Lopez has been with DRG Meats for less than a year and already, this ambitious General Manager says he wouldn’t trade his team at the Aliante Parkway Arby’s in Las Vegas for any other.
“They are like a family,” he says. “They are committed, they’re loyal and [they are] great ambassadors.”
Freddy joined us after jumpstarting his career with a couple of other well-known QSR brands first. He says he wanted to work at Arby’s because he was attracted to our commitment to delivering the best tasting, high quality food.
Maybe he’s here because of the , too? He gushes about his favorite menu item: “It’s the Cheddar sauce and the Red Ranch mixed together that makes the sandwich taste fantastic.”
The Sky’s the Limit
Let’s get real, Freddy’s actually here because he sees a viable future and is confident he can . And that’s important! We want to develop people like Freddy to their full potential as we did with and , for example. We must be doing something right if our newest hires see the promise of opportunity as they enter the door.
“DRG offers opportunities for growth, learning, and advancements in the organization, and I love that about them,” he says.
”DRG has been one of the best companies I’ve worked for.” -Freddy Lopez, RGM
Beyond professional opportunity, Freddy shares that he’s found a greater purpose in the restaurant scene. One of Arby’s is to make a difference.
For Freddy, this is an easy value to live out. He says, “I find satisfaction in knowing my job has a positive impact on others, whether it’s helping guests, fixing a problem, making a difference in the area, or going and helping other stores out.”
So what would Freddy say to someone considering a role with DRG? “Take the job right away. You have a work-life balance here!”
Don’t take his word for it. Check out at Arby’s in Alaska, California and Nevada today!
It was an exciting year end for us in Sin City! In tandem with the debut of a Formula 1 event zooming through the streets of The Strip, DRG’s flagship revved up, too, to host its hoppin’ , boasting live views of the race at Turn 14 and TVs broadcasting all the action.
While we set out to show guests a great time, the event’s real purpose was to support a cause that’s dear to the DRG family and our world-class brand. All ticket proceeds benefitted the and its incredible educational grants and scholarships. Between ticket sales and donations, we raised $75,000!
You could say this was fast and furious fundraising!
A big thanks to Restaurant General Manager (RGM) Darren Espy and his team for helping to execute a successful event while navigating all of the event’s first-year kinks (the big race is set to recur in Las Vegas per a ).
At DRG, we love our Vegas presence — with the , our Vegas cantina and the one-of-a-kind , the November fundraiser and watch party just made us feel even more a part of the community.
Still curious about the party? Take a look at what fun we had:
DRG’s has only been open a few months, but one team member is already making a name for himself. Sadrac Zuniga joined DRG as a Team Member at the Story Road Taco Bell location (also in San Jose, CA) in June 2023. After four months on the job, he moved to our newest and has been there ever since.
Sadrac’s motto is, “be the change you wish to see in the world” and so far, he’s off to a good start! One guest left a glowing review after a recent visit to his cantina, sharing, “From the moment we walked up to the restaurant, we were greeted with a warm and friendly welcome by Sadrac. Sadrac went above and beyond to make our visit enjoyable.”
“Seeing people smile honestly makes my day better.” – Sadrac, Team Member
Positive feedback fuels Sadrac’s drive to be the best. He says, “[It] makes me feel great, makes me go and want to do more, go beyond my work performance and change the world a bit.”
Who does he credit? His mom, a single mother to two kids who inspired his strong work ethic.
As for the best part of the job, Sadrac appreciates that every day is different; he thrives on meeting all of the new faces that visit his restaurant each day.
“Meeting new people and creating a small impression on them totally makes the job fun!” he says.
“DRG is evolving and I want to be part of it and grow.” – Sadrac, Team Member
With the many available at DRG, Sadrac has his sights set on one day becoming a Restaurant General Manager (RGM). We have no doubt that he will succeed in whatever he puts his mind to!
If you want to experience Sadrac’s top–notch customer service firsthand, consider at our San Jose Cantina today!
Can’t stop, won’t stop! We boldly proclaimed our mission of “racing to the top” this year with and at the forefront. At 350-plus restaurants, there’s no slow down in sight! Join us as we zoom through the year in review highlighting all of the success we experienced in 2023. And don’t forget to follow along on our social channels , , and for a firsthand look at the fun!
It’s totally a numbers game. And DRG came out on top in 2023, reaching (and quickly surpassing) the — ten times that of our founding acquisition of 29 restaurants in 2014!
Not just new places, but also new faces! DRG welcomed a new into the executive suite.
A goal for growth means more new store openings! DRG saw plenty of ribbon cutting in 2023. Most notably:
Can We Talk Cantinas?
DRG continues to invest in innovation via the Taco Bell Cantina concept. Doubling as social experiences and , our most recent cantina opened in just in time for our 2023-2024 ! This partnership allows us to create impactful experiences in the community for hockey and Taco Bell fans alike.
Doling Out Dollars For Scholars
We were thrilled to surprise our 2023 winners at wide receiver in Las Vegas. Each year, the generously awards scholarships toward higher education to ambitious youth and Taco Bell team members all over the country. This year, the Foundation awarded $2.5 million to Taco Bell‘s own alone. Additionally, DRG is proud to have awarded $100,000 directly to our employees.
Celebrating Success in Cabo
Each year we welcome a new group of top performers into DRG’s and reward them with a special retreat away from the restaurant scene. We can’t be No. 1 without our people. And high performers need a little recharge before the next victory lap!
Inclusive Culture Initiatives
We proudly announced a to empower more DRG women to sit at the head table. Our Women in Leadership (WIL) Initiative aims to change the perception of women’s roles throughout DRG. Annually, DRG will invite a new class of female stars to join the WIL group, which will include a mix of office and restaurant leaders.
Reaching the Summit
We celebrated a year full of victories at the in Las Vegas! Inspired by the fast and furious world of racing, DRG restaurant leaders from each market gathered to recognize the world class team members who are helping us speed to the top of the quick service race.
On Friday, December 8th, we opened our first Ghost Kitchen within Cloud Kitchens’ Charter Oak Food Pickup — a Bay Area ghost kitchen that specializes in delivery service. This is the only ghost kitchen location within the Taco Bell brand’s portfolio.
Guests can order delivery via the Taco Bell App or on their favorite delivery platform – DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, or Postmates.
“We’re excited to open the first Ghost Kitchen Taco Bell within Charter Oak Food Pickup and continue our commitment to finding innovative solutions for delivery,” said SG Ellison, CEO & President of Diversified Restaurant Group. “This is a great way for us to reach more customers in the Bayshore, Bernal Heights, West Portal, and Sunset District Neighborhoods. We especially like that this model is a vehicle to help us serve communities where real estate is tough to secure.”
Cloud Kitchen facilities are built for delivery as there is no storefront or dining area. They are designed for speed, quality, and scale. The Charter Oak Ghost Kitchen utilizes state-of-the-art Cloud Kitchens technology to efficiently fulfill delivery orders, providing an even more convenient solution to customers on the go.
Taco Bell at Charter Oak Food Pickup will be open every day from 10 am to 3 am.
To place your order at the new ghost kitchen Taco Bell, download the Taco Bell App or use your favorite food delivery provider from the App Store or Google Play.