Steve Mizer is one of a lucky few at DRG to have experience with both of our brands, Taco Bell and Arby’s. He’s also had the pleasure of living and working in two entirely different climates — that of the Nevada desert and nature-filled Alaska! This month marks six years of employment with us. Though he got his start in tacos, today, as Senior Area Coach for DRG Meats Alaska (and Arby’s Area Coach of the Year, we should add), Steve is a champion for roast beef.
How it Came to Be
Steve was working on the Taco Bell side in Las Vegas when another DRG Taco Bell opportunity opened up in Reno — “I raised my hand, volunteered and moved the family,” Steve recalls. Then his wife’s career led them back to Vegas but there weren’t any openings to stay with the brand in the same role. That’s when he switched to Arby’s.
“It was kind of an exciting reset, fresh start,” he says. “A whole new brand, whole new culture.”
According to Steve, Arby’s culture is similar to Taco Bell’s in that it’s about the people. From that perspective, the change doesn’t seem so dramatic. But seasonality is a different story! There are whole cities from Fairbanks to Anchorage that close down for winter, affecting local businesses. From October to the beginning of May, he says, business is focused on the people of Alaska. Then the sudden influx of summer travelers brings with it unique staffing challenges (locals are hard pressed to make money in just four months). In his 30-plus years in the industry, he’s never seen anything like it.
“At DRG, you really get adventure.” -Steve Mizer, Area Coach
So how did Steve end up in Alaska? He started traveling to his new market last fall, eventually visiting with his wife to scope it out for a potential move and then giving a PowerPoint to their two teenagers to get their “buy in” (“it was important that they have a voice”).
“It’s been a challenge but fun,” he says. Alaska is isolated and yet “the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.”
It’s full of surprises: frost heaves in the roadways and heated sidewalks, whole cities between Fairbanks and Anchorage closed for the winter, moose in the drive-thru.
“Nature is everywhere here,” he shares. “It’s neat to see. Definitely makes you stop and appreciate.”
What’s Next for Alaska?
DRG has nine Arby’s restaurants throughout Alaska. Spread out over 500 miles, the majority are in and around Anchorage with two in Fairbanks and two on the Kenai Peninsula. Steve is responsible for taking the market to the next level.
He says 2023 is about stabilizing the market. Next year, DRG will start building in Alaska again to bring the total Arby’s count to 15 and create more opportunity.
Great Leadership Leads to Great Culture
“It starts with the right leadership,” Steve says. “That sets the culture. My team doesn’t work for me, I work for them … this creates a culture where people feel supported, valued.”
Steve believes his job is to support the team and remove roadblocks to success. That’s valuable perspective coming from someone who’s just been publicly named Arby’s Area Coach of the Year!
Though there’s never any guarantee, you may be surprised to hear that landing this award was something he set out to do at the beginning of the year — with intention.
“Why not me?” he says he asked himself. What impressive determination! Are you inspired to find your job with Arby’s?
About DRG & Arby’s
DRG has Arby’s restaurants in Alaska, California, and Nevada. When you join our Arby’s team, you’ll have an opportunity to grow your career and take advantage of great benefits like our bonus program, tuition reimbursement and more. Steve says his best advice is to “come for the adventure.” So, what are you waiting for?