Victoria Serna, CO General Manager of the Flagship, Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas, was recruited to work for Diversified Restaurant Group (DRG) in 2016. She came to DRG from Five Guys, where she worked along with Isaiah Ritchie, Director of Operations and Todd Kelly, Senior Vice President here at DRG.
“They told me they were opening up this cool location,” Victoria says of her early conversations with Kelly and Ritchie. “I was super excited.”
Victoria, a small-town gal from New Mexico, moved to Las Vegas just a month before the flagship cantina opened. There wasn’t much time for advance training, but as a departing General Manager for Five Guys, she arrived with strong leadership skills that would surely benefit her new team.
“I felt like this role was really special because I got to come into the restaurant as it was opening,” she says. “It was fun to create the operations plan from scratch… we had a blank slate.”
Though it was hard at the beginning, Victoria admits she learned a lot through the process. And she felt taken care of by DRG. Hiring the right people for this new location became a key priority.
The cantina, located right on the Las Vegas Strip, is one-of-a-kind with its VIP lounge, DJ booth, 16 TV screens and easy access to nightlife. According to Victoria, naturally, the Las Vegas location is loud. It requires team members who like to have a good time.
“You can’t run a restaurant without good people,” she says. “Our people are the best… my team wants to have fun and they come in with great attitudes.”
Five years in, Victoria now co-manages the highest volume restaurant in the Taco Bell system. She says she feels empowered by her role. Beyond managing her team, she has continued to take on new responsibilities at the location. Over the summer, she assumed the duties of events coordinator for the Las Vegas Cantina, handling logistics for special events and weddings hosted on site.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she says of this new role and the opportunity to learn about other aspects of the business. “[It] empowered me to learn a little more about administration and running our events calendar.”
As far as the future’s concerned, Victoria will continue to grow her career as a leader with DRG. “I am eager to take on new challenges and learn new skills,” she says. “Cantina Area Coach sounds like a lot of fun.”