Summerwood Helps Rising RGM Persevere Through Times of Trial

Chandra’s inspiring story starts with struggle. 
Now RGM at our Bristol location,
she joined Summerwood in May 2013 as a team member, after moving with her husband and family from New York.

It was a tough move. Chandra didn’t know anyone, juggled two jobs, had young children at home, and to top it off, arrived with a fear of driving. In New York, she’d gotten around for so long by bus and train. Having to drive was new and overwhelming, too!

It was like Alice and Wonderland: New state, new people, new role …” she explains. 

Chandra didn’t expect to divulge so much about her personal journey, but she opened up to us about those early years.

Chandra used to walk 45 minutes to work her shift at Taco Bell.

Because of insecurities with driving long distances, feeling claustrophobic on highways and having only one family car, Chandra used to walk to work. She’d work a 7 a.m. shift for a warehouse job, walk home to take care of the kids and cook dinner, and then walk 45 minutes to Taco Bell to work until close. Sometimes this grueling routine was six days a week!

But working was a necessity, so she took whatever came her way to support the family (like this family guy). To her, Taco Bell was one of the best options available. It didn’t matter that she’d never worked in fast food and wasn’t a cook; there she landed as a cook in our kitchen!

“Because I am from New York, I don’t know about tacos, only burgers and sandwiches,” she says. “But I love it, it’s awesome.”

Chandra has been with Summerwood for 11 years. Why? Because here, we accept Chandra for who she is and recognize potential when we see it. We’ve given her opportunities to grow despite her own limitations.

Summerwood helped me out in becoming someone strong and determined. -Chandra, RGM

With her discomfort for driving, Chandra says Summerwood has been very accommodating, helping to coordinate carpool arrangements or allowing her to take an Uber so she doesn’t miss meetings. She’s also been given restaurant locations that are within her area. 

To be supported like that, it makes me feel great in a way,” she says. “They didn’t use my inefficient issues to hold me back from growth.” 

Along with flexible scheduling, it’s this support that has made life more manageable for Chandra and her family. Summerwood works around her schedule, which we recognize is important for families with young children. Flexibility is one of many perks and benefits we strive to offer team members.

Somehow along the way between struggle and perseverance, Chandra found wings to fly.

The greatest thing was having a great boss that encouraged me,” she says. But there had to be something inside of her, too. Looking back on where she’s come from, she says she had a vision that she’d come out ahead and things would get better. That became her driving force.

Chandra is grateful to Summerwood for “the opportunity to be something and someone.” 

In 2019, Chandra received Taco Bell’s coveted Golden Bell Award, being named among the top 100 GMs in the U.S., and was rewarded with a trip to Hawaii. She couldn’t believe it.

Working my way up to get that opportunity was awesome,” she says. Of the excitement, she continues: The inner feeling inside is like sunshine.

Now Chandra helps teams understand what’s possible, too. She loves giving people chances, believing in people like Summerwood has believed in her.

I see massive growth in this company,” she says. And there’s always opportunity.” She’s right! Join Summerwood today — we’ve got a job for you!