Team Member spotlight: Damon

Meet Damon, the Restaurant General Manager (RGM) for Summerwood’s Whitewash location. He’s been with Summerwood for eight years and counting.

How did it start? According to Damon, his Taco Bell career began with some pressure from his parents, who were nudging him to think more seriously about the future.

“I was like, I’m going to just stick with Taco Bell,” he says. “And I’ve been here for eight years now.”
Seems simple enough but Damon also had to be inspired, motivated. He gives credit to one of his mentors within the company (who’s now a Region Coach).

“He instilled it in me to want to be better,” Damon says. “… I wanted to achieve all of my goals, encourage my team to be better — just like he encouraged me to be better.” 

Damon started out an Assistant General Manager (AGM) and climbed the ranks like so many at Summerwood. He’s worked at several locations and most recently celebrated another professional achievement, becoming a certified Training Manager.

He says as an employer, Summerwood is different. How? “They’re always there for their employees, no matter what,” he shares. “We can always ask for help if we need it… most companies, you can’t do that.”

According to Damon, one way employees can lean on Summerwood is through the employee assistance program. They also have benefits like tuition reimbursement and educational scholarships that many take advantage of. For Damon personally, Summerwood was there for him when he suffered the disappointment of a failed audit at one of his restaurant locations. Working together as a team, failure quickly turned into success.

“We said, ‘We’re going to do this,’” he recalls. “… the inspection came and we passed it one hundred percent.”

The support didn’t stop there. Damon recently lost his grandmother and says he’s been comforted “in ways I needed to be comforted.”

As a rising leader, Damon shows up for his team, too. He does this by communicating daily goals and rewarding employees for a job well done. He says he focuses on getting them to do “the right things.” 

My favorite menu item would be the beefy melt burrito.  I love that one and the Mexican pizza is coming back soon, and that one was my all time favorite.

“My favorite thing is to watch my team members grow,” he says. “I love to see my team members come in and not know Taco Bell at all, and not leave it.”

In fact, one of his employees, who he says wows him all the time, has won a $10,000 scholarship three years in a row! He is very proud.

“It’s a great place to start,” Damon says. ”If you want to be somebody… this is the place to be.”