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Dana Defied The Odds And Found A Home In Taco Bell


Spring 2023 will go down in the family history books for Dana Freeman and her three children: Micheal, 13, My’Yonna, 11, and My’Kayla, 8. On June 1, Dana closed on her first home. What’s more, she’s the first homeowner in her entire family, grandmother and grandfather included. 

“It feels amazing,” Dana says, smiling through “happy” tears. “This is generational wealth for me and my children. I’m building equity for them. Without Border Foods, I could not have accomplished this.”

When Dana Freeman met Region Coach Ken Lund, she was a crew member working the line. Fast forward to today, and she’s the Restaurant General Manager of Taco Bell Defy — the only restaurant of its kind. 

Dana says she has to pinch herself every once in a while; she can’t believe she’s made it this far. 

Years ago, Ken saw extraordinary leadership potential in Dana, and after two weeks as a food service champion, he asked her to try the Assistant General Manager role on for size. But as a single mom of three children, Dana couldn’t afford car insurance, and the fix-it tickets for her broken headlight were adding up. 

“Without question, Ken helped me,” Dana said. “He helped me pay for the tickets, and I was able to drive to work safely.”

Dana continued to climb, and was promoted from Assistant General Manager to Restaurant General Manager of a Maple Grove, MN location. She helped the store improve their speed with service, bringing them from a 15-minute location to a sub-2-minute location. Border Foods took note. They moved Dana to Riverdale in Coon Rapids, MN, another restaurant struggling with efficiencies. Again, she brought forward leadership skills that helped turn the location around. 

And then, her big break: two weeks after Defy opened, she got the offer to become the new restaurant’s General Manager. Now, she’s living her dream.  

“Anybody can do this, as long as you put in the work,” Dana says. “Border Foods is a company that was there for me in my darkest moments. I never thought I’d make it this far.”