DRG Newsletter: Summer 2023



DRG Adds 23 Restaurants to its Portfolio!

Give a warm welcome to our new employees in the San Diego and Riverside Counties!

We are excited to share Diversified Restaurant Group acquired 23 restaurants in the San Diego and Riverside counties, positioning us as the highest grossing Taco Bell franchise in the U.S.!! We are thrilled to welcome new employees to our Southern California market and the DRG family. This milestone is a testament to our collective dedication and hard work. Our unwavering commitment and exceptional service have played a pivotal role in this accomplishment, and we are immensely proud of the strides we continue to make together. Let’s celebrate this achievement and work together to drive further growth and success!

Hear from our CEO and President and So. California Sr. VP of Ops about the evolution of the acquisition and their hopes for the growing market!

We’re heading into the Fall with so many exciting things! Hear from COO Todd Kelly about what to expect!

Our Executive Team is Growing!

Welcome Ben Marmor!
New Chief Financial and Strategy Officer

Welcome Deb Wendorf!
New Sr. VP of Human Resources

Welcome Kara Ramirez!
New VP of Operations, DRG Kansas City

Store Openings

We’re excited to announce the opening of our 8th Taco Bell Cantina in San Jose, CA!
A grand opening so exciting, Nations Restaurant News wrote about it!
DRG celebrated the grand opening of our 325th Taco Bell location and 8th cantina, located next to the Century Theatre in the San Jose Westfield Oakridge Mall. This newest cantina boasts a retro look with a vintage movie theater display case and features three ordering kiosks, a pickup window, and patio seating that can accommodate up to 24 guests. The San Jose cantina also serves alcoholic beverages, including liquor, beer and wine. Customers can grab their Taco Bell favorites and a drink before shopping or heading to the movies! This is another example of why we hold the title of “Driver in the Cantina Space.” Congrats, team!

Upcoming Restaurant Openings

1313 W. Avenue K
Lancaster, CA
Opening: 9/13/23
West 75th
Overland Park, KS
Opening: 9/16/23
910 E Vista Way,
Vista, CA
Opening: 10/15/23
90 Charter Oak
San Fransisco, CA
Opening: 11/1/23
14083 Limonite Ave
Eastvale, CA
Opening: 11/17/23
15498 State Ave
Basehor, KS
Opening: 11/21/23
3026 Van Brunt Blvd
Kansas City, MO
Opening: 12/14/23

Making A Difference

Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area Match Picnic

We were thrilled to join hands with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area for a heartwarming event that left smiles on the faces of both kids and volunteers alike. DRG distributed backpacks filled with supplies to the “bigs” and “littles,” and provided Taco Bell lunch. This partnership exemplified the power of community coming together to make a positive impact. Thank you to James Aman, and all of the Area Coaches and General Managers that made this possible. This was the second year of doing this event and we look forward to many more!

Top Round Up Stores

Shout out to the TOP TEN DRG Restaurants that earned the highest Round Up total donations
during the E7 experience!

MarketArea CoachGeneral ManagerRestaurantRound-up $Daily Avg.
GGBDolores GonzalesMindy Augustus030941-DEER VALLEY RD$2432$69
SSBCesar LoyaSheeren Katsura031897-E. HORIZON X COLL$2231$64
ACBJesus GarciaGloria Felix039846-RIVERSIDE – ARLINGTON$1962$56
SSBAli OrdunoRosa Lopez031915-W. FRIAS X DECATUR$1935$55
ACBJesus VargasJuan Garcia039795-PICO CANYON$1889$54
GGBAlicia PerezJuana Adame030933-FARMERS LN$1886$54
GGBDiana FloresQuamrul Mullah030750-UNION CITY$1851$53
GGBDiana FloresConcepcion Avina Lopez030795-HAYWARD$1844$53
RCBAlbert GreenHolly Sartin034402-SANTA FE ST$1819$52
SSBMonica Lopez031869-N. HIGHWAY 395$1765$50

As a reminder, our goal is to average $25/day in donations. You can easily reach that by asking every customer to round up at the register and educating customers on how the money is used. The money goes towards youth-serving nonprofit organizations and Live Más Scholarships that help the youth in our communities advance their education.

Why is Round Up Important?

Taco Bell and Arby’s Community Grants

We recently handed out checks to our community partners Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern NV and the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada! In total, DRG donated nearly $2 million in grants this year to organizations that support education and youth development. And it’s all thanks to you — rounding up at the register and fundraising all year long to grow the Arby’s Make a Difference Foundation and the Taco Bell Foundation.

Recognition Shout Out

Employee Recognized: Peter Babalola, Food Champion, #036251
Submitter: Wyatt Keener, Assistant General Manager

Peter deserves recognition due to his relentless work ethic and commitment to serving the Kansas City community the best possible food. Peter started with the company on April 5th and has since improved daily, and continues to come to work with a positive energy that improves the work space for all employees and customers. Peter has blossomed in the last few months by graduating high school all while continuing to work and volunteer. He volunteers at a food pantry monthly and says it’s his “favorite space to give back to people who truly deserve help.” Peter continues to choose a better path for himself and his peers around him. By being a leader in his social life as well as at work, he continues to push the envelope on his bright future ahead. These are just a few reasons why Peter deserves to be recognized. 

Employee Recognized: Sunshine Tiu, Shift Lead, #31531
Submitter: Giovanni Saligan, General Manager

We have an amazing supervisor who always makes sure our people are taken care of. She always makes sure the next shift is set up for success. Sunshine always finds a way to lighten the mood and motivate our crew members on her shift. She always makes sure her cashiers are consistently using the script. Everyone gets excited when Sunshine brings treats to share at lunch. I can’t say enough good things about Sunshine, other than she always goes above and beyond and for that, we thank you!

Employee Recognized: Chester Reyes, Maintenance Technician
Submitter: Mike Smith, DO of Maintenance

Chester has demonstrated exceptional work ethic and technical ability. He has been instrumental in keeping things moving in ACB and is a great asset to the company. Thanks, Chester!

Employees Recognized: Claudio Velazquez, Food Champion, and Angel Torres, Service Champion, #041599
Submitter: Laura Pitiquen, General Manager

These employees always have a great attitude and big smiles on their faces!

Employee Recognized: Jaidyn Blankenship, Team Trainer, #6668
Submitter: Persephone Beamer, General Manager

Jaidyn always strives to lead and push the team to their full potential. She is certified in every position and can tell you how to use every piece of equipment (including the slicer) and how to clean and maintain them, despite not being able to actually use them herself at only 17! She always has a positive attitude and strives to make sure everyone else does as well. She feels that if we all put our best foot forward then we will succeed as a team. She has already taken the initiative to start manager training for when she turns 18 in a few months, and has a goal to become an Assistant Manager in a year or less!

Employee Recognized: Steve VanNatta, SSB Maintenance Reno
Submitter: Eric Curfman, Field Maintenance Coach

Steve saved $15,000 and a 6-week repair delay. A vendor had given us an estimate of over $15,000 to replace refrigeration equipment on a freezer. The only option given was to replace the equipment and the lead time was over six weeks due to supply chain shortages. We were going to be left with a broken freezer while waiting for the new equipment. Steve stepped into action and looked at the equipment to give us a second opinion, and determined he could make the repairs. Steve successfully made the repairs, performed a very detailed leak test, and was able to the get the freezer operating and down to the correct temperature to store food in in just a few hours. That was four months ago, and we haven’t had a single service call on this piece of equipment since his repairs. Great job, Steve!

Employee Recognized: Sam Roberts, Assistant General Manager, #40324
Submitter: Lynn Turner, General Manager

Sam is always there for our employees and our customers. She has been exceptional at helping me run the store, keeping everyone on track for cleaning. She is always working on ways to improve the quality of our service. One day, she will be a successful GM of her own store!

Employee Recognized: Emiliano Fierro, Service Champion, #41601 
Submitter: Edgar Jimenez, General Manager

Emiliano is an excellent employee! I want to recognize him for his schedule availability, ability to multitask, how fast and efficient he is on the line and in the drive-thru, and his great attitude. Not to mention, I’m very appreciative that he puts the McLane deliveries away.

Employee Recognized: Kayla Rodriguez, Market Training Manager, #35238 
Submitter: Hayley O’Connor, Field Trainer

Kayla has been with us for 12 years and worked in several different locations. She became GM of the 24 highway location two years ago and earned her training certification in December 2022. Kayla has done an amazing job training future GMs, AGMs and ARLs, all while keeping a great attitude and operations tight. In Kayla’s free time, she loves to travel with her two children. We are so lucky to have Kayla — she trains with attention to detail and we appreciate her dedication to excellent training.

Employee Recognized: Jarrod Zapata, Service Champion, #030776 
Submitter: Luz Ramirez, General Manager

Jarrod is always willing to come in to work if we ask him or need him. When he does come, he is amazing with the customers. Not only is he nice to the customers, he also still follows the Taco Bell procedures. He always asks them if they want to “round up” their totals. Every time the customers want to compliment someone’s service, it’s always him. They tell us he’s the nicest person they’ve ever met and that he makes their experience at Taco Bell better. On top of that, he never says “no” when we tell him to do something. For these reasons, he is the employee we are recognizing.

Employee Recognized: Pedro Favela, General Manager, San Ramon and Danville Cantinas 
Submitter: James Aman, Area Coach

Pedro has successfully managed both the San Ramon and Danville cantinas and has maintained 5-star, VOC, as well as financial goals. Not to mention, he is in charge of setting up all private parties, ensuring they are executed successfully. Pedro has helped out when McLane trucks are delayed, driving product to Pacifica and San Francisco, as well as offered his management and team to support Pacifica on busy summer Saturdays. Pedro makes himself available any day, any time and has been a valuable asset to DRG. In addition to the cantinas he manages, he looks after all of the Bay Area cantinas and always takes on other responsibilities I give him. I truly appreciate his commitment to DRG and to Taco Bell cantinas! 

Employee Recognized: Michael Clowers, Food Champion, #35230
Submitter: Reanna Lucas, General Manager

I’d love to recognize one of my team members, Michael Clowers. Michael has stepped up so much in just a short couple of months. He will be turning 18 soon and has been working so hard to get the promotion to Shift Lead. He comes in early and leaves late whenever it’s needed. He is such a strong asset to my team. Michael is Food Champion and soon-to-be Shift Leader.

Employee Recognized: Angelica Chavez, Area Coach, Napa Market 
Submitter: Gursimran Ghumman, Director of Operations, No. Cal and Kansas City

She has been leading the team with such a positive attitude and has made a huge impact on her team in such a short time frame. She is a great culture driver. She definitely lives the CORE values of DRG.

Employee Recognized: Holly Sartin, General Manager, #34402
Submitter: Levi Gentry, Shift Leader

I would love to recognize my General Manager Holly Sartin at the store 034402 in Olathe, Kansas. She is [an] amazing person; she goes over and beyond to make sure everyone is trained successfully, and is doing good, and listens to them if they ever have any issues at home or at work. She also helps other stores when needed.

Employee Recognized: Joseph Mercill, Team Member, #6759
Submitter: Nick Mastrokostas, General Manager 

The name of this gentleman is Joseph Mercill and yesterday was the last day at work due to him going back to school. This was the first job for Joseph and from the beginning, he showed everyone that he would be a super star. He work[ed] so professionally like he’s been doing the job for months or years. He never comes late, he’s always available to help, and always follows the instructions from the beginning. If DRG Meats had sports drafts, he would be my No. 1 rookie in the draft! Everybody loves him and we will definitely miss him. I can’t wait to see him next year. Thank you for also giving me the opportunity to say that my team is the best team I have ever worked with. They have my total respect for what we they did as a team this year … they are CHAMPIONS in my heart. 

Employees Recognized: Leaders that helped with the acquisition
Submitter: Shane Grant, So. California DO

I had a lot of help here (boots on the ground operators) for the San Diego acquisition. They were key in our success during the onboarding days and the transition night/day in the stores. I also had a lot of help at the RSC behind the scenes, so a general call out to all of the RSC employees that supported San Diego – their long days and nights were so much appreciated!

I could not have done it without this awesome team!

  • Junior Bolanos, Human Resources
  • Alexys Andaya, Human Resources
  • Benjamin Gonzalez, Area Coach
  • Jasmine Lucero, General Manager
  • Jesus Garcia, Area Coach
  • Darius Green, General Manager
  • Maria Villicano, Area Coach
  • Estefania Ortiz, General Manager
  • Andrea Vasquez, General Manager
  • Edgar Perez, Area Coach
  • Patty Alvarez, Area Coach
  • Stephanie Juarez, Area Coach
  • Isaiah Ritchie, Director of Operations
  • Amy Loya, Human Resources
  • Jon Castro, IT
  • Bob Schalow, Vice President
  • Mike Smith, Director of Operations, Maintenance
  • Lorenzo Ogas, Maintenance Training Manager

GM and AM promotions

Alfredo Lugo Lopez, #30761, AM
Alondra Martinez, #30785, AM
Amaya Hernandez, #37462, AM
Angeles Rodriguez, #30752, AM
Araceli Zurita Melchor, #30794, AM
Arcadia Mariles, #30775, GM
Arlin Najera Ortega, #39786, GM
Ashley Langston, #39839, GM
Aspen Paine, #34397, AM
Aylin Lopez, #30742, GM
Berenice Armenta, #39798, GM
Bradford Worsham, #34403, AM
Brandon Rivera, #39835,GM
Brittany Pixley, 34388, GM
Carmela Mcneal, #39828, GM
Chad Fanning, #37174, GM
Chantal Childress, #35239, GM
Christina Pridemore, #31888, GM
Crystal Guzman, #39821, AM
Daniel House, #31876, AM
Daniel Johns, #31861, GM
Danny Ceballos, #39830, GM
David Cortez, #39857, AM
Dennis Rhodes, #34407, AM
Eddie Baron, #36242, GM

Edwin Lal, #30808, AM
Eli Ramirez, #30765, AM
Elias Roblero Gonzalez, #31918, GM
Elijeo Ojeda, #39804, GM
Erika Osorio, #30771, AM
Fernando Beltran, #39795, AM
Francisca Martinez, #30780, GM
Frankie Hernandez, #39845, AM
Gerardo Morales, #39807, GM
Giovanni Saligan-Munoz , #31531, GM
Guadalupe Serrato, #41607, GM
Guillermina Hernandez, #34019, GM
Hailey Johnny-Callens, #31908, AM
Isela Castro, #39841, GM
Janette Hightower, #36456, AM
Jazmin Vega Arevalo, #39799, AM
Jennifer Alba, #31888, AM
Jesus Blesa, #39846, AM
Jonathon Porter , #37172, AM
Jorge Rangel, #30766, AM
Julie Stepps, #32295, AM
Justin Sykes, #35240, AM
Karla Pitts, #39841, AM
Kayla Holt, #35243, GM
Kristin Harston, #39850, AM
Kristine Gonzales, #41597, GM

Lashantay Roberts, #34417, G
Leona Guerrero, #34380, GM
Levelle Gonzalez, #31868, GM
Linda Oneal, #35241, AM
Luis Diaz, #30786, AM
Marco Ramirez, #30799, GM
Marcos Salazar, #39804, AM
Maria Arteaga, #39849, AM
Maria Del Rosario Ramirez, #39855, AM
Markisha Rimmer, #34379, AM
Mary Joy Barrera, #31685, AM
Matthew Nzueni, #35239, AM
Meghan Parker, #35240, AM
Michael Kallenbach, #35245, GM
Nadia Orozco, #39806, AM
Nereo Alvarez, #39842, GM
Orville Hemady, #31900, GM
Ramon Rivera, #38783, AM
Ricardo Lumbreras, #32295, GM
Robin Mcginnis, #40343, AM
Samantha Gonzales, #38730, AM
Sierra Wyatt, #34388, AM
Tejinder Kaur, #30811, GM
Tiffany Mcbride, #31899, GM
Tiffany Nevels, #34405, GM
Tristan Montiel, #39789, AM


4 Made Supreme Teams that Leveled Up

Top 10 Stores YTD:

Top 10 Most Improved Stores P1 to P8:

What’s the Latest with DRG Meats?
Hear from Principal Operator for Arby’s, Jason Dunn!