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Market Training Manager (MTM) Maria Flores has been with Border Foods for 27 faithful years, spending a third of that time leading one of our most challenging restaurant locations (Franklin and Cedar avenues, now closed).

Maria began her career with Taco Bell in California and says that it’s the promise of more opportunity that moved her with the brand to Minnesota in the ’90s.

And opportunities are what she landed! A young, eager Maria started as a team member at our South Minneapolis location on 41st Avenue and Lake Street. About six months later, she was promoted to Shift Leader. Then, when the manager position became available, she says it was hers if she could prove to company leaders that she was ready to run a restaurant on her own. If not, there was still the Assistant General Manager (AGM) position. 

“From the time I started, there was opportunity.” Maria Flores, MTM

Not surprisingly, like many of our people who feel supported to climb higher, Maria rose to the occasion and took on Franklin’s Restaurant General Manager (RGM) role. She stayed at that level of management until her recent promotion to MTM. To her, the career ascension seemed “very fast,” as she skipped the entire AGM rung on our career ladder.

Through every transition, Maria says she’s always liked working with different types of people and guests, which now seems like a foreshadowing of what was to come!



Maria is a revered restaurant leader at Border Foods — and she’s earned all that admiration! After all, she managed our now shuttered Franklin Taco Bell for over a decade. As the story goes, she carried the Franklin location through an unreal number of challenges: the period of unrest following George Floyd’s death, the day-to-day business impacts of a pandemic, increasing homelessness and drug use on the sidewalks outside, and ongoing safety concerns for both employees and guests.

She says the neighborhood setting wasn’t always like that: It was fine at the beginning.” But eventually, it all became a lot to juggle!

“It was a challenge to be running that store,” she says. It was bad people, you know, hanging around the store … people sleeping outside doing drugs …”

Ironically, she says the Franklin team managed to maintain pretty good metrics for the company despite increasing concerns about the area and changing demographics.

But Maria stuck around. To her, Border Foods is a great company with great benefits. And that matters! Health care and bonuses have been important to her. Maria also mentions the significance of being recognized for achieving restaurant goals. Yes, we like to treat high performers with reward trips

“It’s a very cool company, a lot of benefits you feel like you are working with family around. -Maria Flores, MTM

When company leadership decided to finally close the Franklin Taco Bell, eight of Maria’s team members followed her to the next restaurant. It’s a testament to Maria’s leadership that she’s humbled by. Colleagues followed her to our Highway 7 location for training and then to a brand new restaurant at Holiday Lane in Eagan, MN, where she transitioned from RGM to MTM in March.

Holiday Lane opened in 2022 and Maria says it’s beautiful. There’s still room for additional development in the area, but currently there’s a Holiday gas station, Amazon warehouse and Minnesota Vikings’ TCO training facility nearby. 


Maria says the Holiday Lane location serves up tacos to a very “nice crowd.”

I’m more happy than what I was before,” she shares candidly. Maria enjoys her new role and says her main goal is to win the Best of the Best trip again. We say, go for it!