August Edition Cover: Frank Vizcarra
August Edition Cover: Frank Vizcarra
August Edition Cover: Frank Vizcarra
Lola 55 is one of San Diego’s newest and hottest taco shops! With being voted “Best Tacos in San Diego”, it is no surprise this Michelin guide awarded restaurant has a very unique menu, specialty cocktails, and a fresh culture that are all attributed to the owner, Frank Vizcarra and his family. Frank grew up in Tijuana with the spirit of entrepreneurship in his mother. While she would find and flip anything from lard to chickens, her day job was making tortillas for one dollar a day, but she fed her family. This is where Frank got his tenacity, spirit, and entrepreneurial drive.
But Frank didn’t start out an entrepreneur, growing up poor, Frank knew that the way out of these circumstances was education. He started at school for architecture at one of the top five schools for architecture in the country. But by his junior year, he realized that he simply did not have the talent that those around him did. This is when Frank changed his major to sports administration. But shortly after Frank was drafted to play professional soccer. He signed a five-year contract and thus made a five-year plan so he could use his platform of playing professional soccer to transfer to business. Frank often spent his time volunteering in the front office to learn the “ins and outs” of business.
As Frank started the transition from being a professional athlete he joined a program that helped athletes find what to do after their contract ends. As Frank took all the different tests ranging from IQ, EQ, and so much more, he scored in such a way that showed he was ready for business. This is when he was placed on a fast track course with the Pizza Hut Corporation. After turning around 3 locations that were supposed to close due to show long they were unprofitable, Frank was approached by the McDonald's Corporation. The next twenty years Frank spent working his way through the executive levels of McDonald's. At the end of his career, Frank was the Chief of Strategy for McDonald's. He created a strategic turnaround plan for the U.S. company, then for Europe, and the Asian Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa. The strategy plan created over $100 Billion in 10 years, and it was named as one of the biggest turnarounds in history!
By the end of this Frank had been completely burnt out from travel. He spent as little as six days at home a month, and most of that time was spent sleeping. Some mornings he would even have to turn on the television just to remember where he was. This was when Frank knew that it was time to leave. But he did not enter into the restaurant sector right away. McDonald's had made sure to give a wonderful package that included a non-compete which would stop him from going to another restaurant chain. After Frank had left McDonald's in 2006, he managed to build two foundations, started consulted for as many as nine top corporations at once, such as Del Taco, Tender Greens, ooVoo, Coca-Cola, and Salvation Army, and managed to raise a family that you could easily brag about. Frank’s son, Nathan, works alongside him at Lola 55. Nathan is the stores head manager, he is heavily involved with the “back of the house”, the overall wellness of the staff, and making sure his father's map to success is being in effect. Franks daughter, Brie, is involved with the branding of Lola 55, but more importantly is living her dream life, traveling the world with her family.
When it came time to start Lola 55, Frank had already helped build the multi-chain, Tender Greens. Frank had been thinking of starting a Taco shop form some time, so at this point, it was time to either “do it, or shut up about it!” For the next two years, Frank invested his time touring the taco industry. Not the “burrito” industry, not the “Mexican food” industry, just the taco industry. He ate thousands of tacos, visited many kitchens, and spoke to chefs from every different background figuring out the exact restaurant that he wanted to build.
Frank is an expert in strategy and planned exactly the level different areas of his restaurant would be held to. The food had to be delicious, not just another taco, the bar had to be creative, not just another place that serves margaritas, the atmosphere had to be unique not just another taco shop, and the staff had to be those that will make a significance, not just another employee.
Every single aspect of Lola 55 has been meticulously planned for the experience for all those who enter, from you to the consumer, to the employees. As Frank worked through so many different milestones, money became less important, and the significance became the priority. So Frank employes some of those that need a chance, or those that need a second chance. Often you will find those who are working their first job just trying to get out of the ghetto, to those on parole, to former addicts from the industry just looking for a second chance. Now, this is something that has had turnover, but there are those that have worked through the struggle and continue to grow. Frank’s heart does not only show with those he chooses to employ, but it also shows in his foundations.
The first foundation he started was a scholarship fund for underprivileged youth in the Barrio. This foundation helps fund kids to get through college, and show them how to assimilate as many of these students have never been out of the Barrio. But he didn’t stop there, Frank started a second foundation that helps fun other organizations. Frank’s heart for those around him shows the heart of a family man, and his care for the community.
Through all his years Frank has learned so many things, and now he wants to share some of that advice with you! Here are some amazing pieces of advice we got from Frank when he was interviewed!
The second Frank walked into the room you could feel that he was someone that would fit anywhere. Being a man that has grown to such great heights, he has learned to be comfortable in any situation. No matter how rich, how poor, how experienced or not someone is, people are people. Everyone has fear, everyone gets nervous, or wants to be understood. So as he made his way through so many facets of life, he learned to become comfortable, and in turn, help those around him be comfortable. He explained that growing up he sold chiclets on the streets in Mexico, Frank grew up in a house with dirt floors, so who was he to stick his chest out and say I am the big man. Being humble is one thing that has helped Frank experience the world in so many different ways.
Don’t Waste Your Time!
As a consultant, Frank charges upwards of $10,000 a day, that could be anywhere from an hour, to eight, but never more than eight. As a restaurateur and mentor, he finds himself paying people $12 an hour to listen to him! This irony of life has left him being very vocal about not wasting his time. When his employees don’t want to listen he simply says, “Come back when you are ready to not waste my time.” This is something that should ring true for all entrepreneurs. Your time is very valuable, it is the only thing that you are not able to get back. If you treat yourself like you got paid $10,000 a day how much would you be okay with someone wasting your time? Probably not very much! This is why Frank tries to live in the moment as much as possible and continues to not waste as much of his time as possible.
Focus on Your Culture!
One of the unique things you will notice about Lola 55 is the culture that has been created there. This was done through the amazing system Frank has created for hire. Each employee has characteristics that support the overall goal and culture of Lola 55. The culture that you are surrounded with is the sum of all those in it! So each and every person you surround yourself with, play a part in the culture of your life. The more you focus on those you surround yourself with the more your culture will shift. While you can play the two off each other, culture eats strategy for lunch every single day. This means no matter how good your strategy is if it does not align with the culture of your company, or corporation your company will not make it!
The culture that Frank has created in Lola 55 is one that will be seen for years to come! This family has shown the world what is possible, and Frank continues to give back in as many ways as possible. To this, we say thank you, Frank! Thank you for caring for the community, thank you for giving back, thank you for giving others a second chance, and thank you for showing others how to create the success that you have created.
In the years to come, you should expect to see more Lola 55 locations and a lot more of Frank! Be sure to stop by Lola 55 in the Idea1 building of East Village San Diego! Each handcrafted taco is made with you in mind, so come out and enjoy the BEST tacos in San Diego!
Kristen Crooks is a personal assistant, ghostwriter, event planner, and speaker. She works closely with all their clients to truly understand their passions, tone, and ideas so their vision can unfold in front of their eyes. In a world that is increasing more digital Kristen hopes to bring her personal touch to each article, and event that she works on. While working with Stegela Success Mastery Kristen found her passion in writing and planning events for those around her. Starting out in Cosmetology and Barbering Kristen has always enjoyed the freedom that entrepreneurship allows but was not living her passion! Now Kristen focuses on helping others through amazing events, and making sure their stories are told, and heard! While events and ghostwriting are part of her passion, the true joy comes form helping people achieve their goals, and ultimately see others dreams unfold before their eyes.