Climbing the Ladder: Assistant Manager Started as a Dishwasher 16 Years Ago

July 26 2021

40th Anniversary Team Member Spotlight

It’s people like Juan Ortiz who have made Cowboy Chicken successful for 40 years. Juan Ortiz began working at Cowboy Chicken on Greenville Avenue in Dallas in April 2005 as a dishwasher. Today, he has worked his way up to be assistant manager of the chain’s Forney, Texas, location.

Ortiz was 20 years old when he began his career with Cowboy Chicken. Since starting, he has held eight positions: dishwasher, prep, line cook, driver, supervisor, traveling trainer and assistant manager.

One of Ortiz’s fondest memories with Cowboy Chicken happened on his first day as a dishwasher. A manager asked him for “chis” (pronounced “cheese”), but Ortiz’s English was not the best. The translation for “chis” from English to Spanish means “pee,” and he asked employees around him why the manager was asking him for “pee.” Ortiz later learned that the manager wanted cheese, and he still laughs about it today.

While working for Cowboy Chicken, Ortiz has enjoyed learning about the restaurant business, treating people the right way and the numbers of running a business. Ortiz loves working for Cowboy Chicken and says company president Sean Kennedy is a big reason why he has stayed for 16 years. Kennedy has been Ortiz’s biggest mentor at the company.

Fun fact: Ortiz’s favorite menu item is the chicken enchiladas.

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