Francisca Magana has achieved Darden Restaurant's Diamond Club status twice in her career. Photo contributed.

published on October 18, 2019 - 3:24 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A nationwide restaurant chain is recognizing a local manager for excellence.

Olive Garden honored General Manager Francisca Magana and the Visalia location with its second “Diamond Club Award” in three years, Magana said.

Every year, the Italian restaurant chain awards the top 42 restaurants with the distinction. Company-wide there are 850 locations, and 42 marks roughly 5 percent of stores.

“At Olive Garden, we pride ourselves in treating our guests like family, and this would not have been possible without leaders like Francisca,” said Dan Kieran, president of Olive Garden, in the release. “Her passion for service has cultivated a warm and vibrant team culture, making her an incredible asset to both the Visalia community and the Olive Garden family.”

This year Olive Garden ranked Visalia as being among the top 5 percent of those 42 stores of distinction, Magana said. Two years ago, when they won the award the first time, Visalia received the No. 1 position. Olive Garden determines the rankings by not only sales and growth, but also feedback from customers and team members. And Magana says customer satisfaction cannot happen without team member satisfaction.

“I attribute the success to my team, who wants to do well,” Magana said. “That’s not something you can teach — they genuinely want to do well.”

Magana started with the company 16 years ago as a to-go specialist, answering phones and coordinating take-out meals. It only took four years for her to begin climbing the management ladder, something she said she hadn’t immediately thought she would do.

“The longer I was with them, the more I realized the opportunity the company offered lined up with what I wanted to do,” she said.

She moved to Manhattan Beach in Southern California to pursue her management career before returning to Visalia and the store that introduced her to the company.

She has since traveled to Italy, Canada and throughout the United States for Olive Garden.

“It was very exciting for me, everyday now,” Magana said. “I’m still able to work with the core of my team that saw me grow in every position at the restaurant.”

Olive Garden is under the Florida-based Darden Restaurants umbrella, which also owns Yard House and LongHorn Steakhouse, among other restaurants.

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