At DRG, we like to celebrate important milestones in our team members’ lives. Join us in congratulating Kelly Hart, a Kansas City team member who recently celebrated her 40th year with the brand. We caught up with Kelly to find out why she loves her job so much and what advice she has to other employees across our markets.
What’s your favorite part about working at Taco Bell?
I think it’s the impact I am allowed to have on so many lives, both guests and my team. I thought growing up I wanted to be a teacher. At Taco Bell, I get to live that dream daily. The impact I get to have on their lives is priceless.
What was the transition to DRG like?
The acquisition did not change our daily routine at all. We still have the same mission daily of filling our guests’ and employees’ lives with Más.
What’s your favorite Taco Bell menu item?
What advice do you have for a team member looking for a long-term career?
We sell tacos and burritos but this is a people business. The key is relationships with your team and guest. If you can manage those things successfully, everything will fall into place. Learn something new and have fun every single day!
After reviewing more than 1,400 applications for the Live Más Scholarship for Restaurant Employees, the Taco Bell Foundation awarded 157 team members nationwide, including 6 team members from DRG. Congrats!
Passion: Health and Fitness
Location: 1284 Warm Springs, Henderson NV 89014
Passion: Fashion Design
Location: 8550 W. Warm Springs, Las Vegas NV 89113
Jan Reece Bautista
Location: 2512 E. Sunset Road, Las Vegas NV 89120
Location: 9301 MO-152, Kansas City, MO64158
Scholarship: $2,500 | Renewal
Location: 525 NE Coronado Dr., Blue Springs, MO64014
Scholarship: $2,500 | Renewal
Location: 8150 Blue Dimond RD, Las Vegas, NV 89178
On Sunday, April 26, Taco Bell hosted a virtual wedding and vow renewal for couples who originally booked their special day at our Taco Bell Cantina Chapel in Las Vegas. The virtual ceremonies were officiated by Victoria Hogan from Flora Pop – she’s also the officiant at the Las Vegas Cantina – and included a full Taco Bell spread and Taco Shop wedding swag as our wedding gift to them.
Since Taco Bell Weddings launched in 2017, over 300 couples have booked their wedding at the Las Vegas Cantina.
When the government deemed our employees as essential workers in March, we knew we had to do something special for our teams. Operating a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic comes with its fair share of challenges, but our teams across the country continue to show resilience, dedication, and loyalty to the communities they are serving.
So, to show appreciation, every DRG team member received a special DRG Heroes Bonus on April 10th and May 1st. Thank you to every team member and leader!
At DRG, we care about the communities we operate in. During this unprecedented time, we’re working to find ways to give back. That’s why during the first week of April, we started a new initiative called Project Karma. Through collaboration with our Area Coaches and restaurant teams across our company, we’ve been busy donating free meals to health care professionals and first responders. We’ve given Arby’s and Taco Bell lunches to hundreds across Nevada, California, Kansas and Missouri. It’s a small way to say Thank You to the men and women risking their health for us each day.
Every year, Taco Bell Corporate recognizes top-performing restaurants throughout the system. To become a “Signature Restaurant,” your location needs to accomplish the following:
- Be within the top 20% of restaurants with the lowest Customer Dissatisfaction
- Strive for a 3 minute SWS average before 5 p.m., 4 minutes after 5 p.m. (drive-thru order to delivery)
- Pass 100% of the CORE food safety audits
- Display positive year-over-year transaction growth
- Show that 90% of your restaurant staff are fully trained in their role
For 2019, we’re proud to announce our Signature Restaurants:
30764 FREEDOM, CA
General Manager: Teresa Marin
Area Coach: Mike Scheidegger
30806 EMERYVILLE, CA
General Manager: Sukinder Kaur
Area Coach: Carlos Portillo
30808 ALAMO, CA
General Manager: Ashley Bautista
Area Coach: Travis Mason
32366 CASTRO VALLEY, CA
General Manager: Maribel Velazquez
Area Coach: Marcus Wong
35243 INDEPENDENCE, MO
General Manager: Kayla Blystone
Area Coach: Layla Awo
32366 LAS VEGAS, NV
General Manager: Darren Espy
Area Coach: Mark Peck
Diversified Restaurant Group, a California-based quick-service restaurant business, acquired 16 Arby’s restaurants at the end of 2019 in the greater Las Vegas area (14), Reno (1), and Barstow (1). DRG is one of the nation’s largest Taco Bell franchisees, operating 215 Taco Bell restaurants in 4 states. The addition of Arby’s marks DRG’s first partnership with another restaurant brand
SG Ellison, President of DRG and franchisee of record, believes their tremendous success with Taco Bell will provide momentum for their Arby’s leaders as they look to grow with Arby’s in 2020 and beyond
“We’ve been able to grow our Taco Bell business by over 50% in four years through significant reinvestments in our people, our structures, and our operations. The addition of 15 Arby’s restaurants in the state of Nevada provides a great opportunity to grow through asset remodels and new builds,” Ellison said.
Most notable in the DRG portfolio is the flagship Taco Bell Cantina on the Las Vegas Strip. The company also recently converted a location on the beach in Pacifica, California into a trademark Taco Bell Cantina. Multiple news outlets have labeled the beachside restaurant as the,
coolest Taco Bell in the world
“We’re known for innovation and progressive thinking,” Ellison said, adding DRG actually helped Taco Bell Corporate coin the phrase “cantina.” We are intent on bringing new excitement to the Arby’s brand in Nevada much like we have been able to do across our Taco Bell portfolio. We are also fortunate to add Jason Dunn to our executive team to help lead our Arby’s operations team. Jason’s experience as an operator in both the Arby’s and Krystal (burger) systems equips him well to help us achieve the big goals we have for the business.
“I am excited to return to the Arby’s brand and even more excited to have joined the DRG team,” Dunn said. “After meeting with my new team and feeling their excitement about the opportunity before us, I’m confident that big things lie ahead for Arby’s.”
Arby’s is an American fast food sandwich restaurant chain. Arby’s Restaurant Group is the franchisor of the brand and is headquartered in Atlanta