After serving in the U.S. Navy and pursuing a successful career in retail and supply chain operations, Mingo Burgos is excited to be back in Puerto Rico to share his experiences and pour into others as the new Owner-Operator of Chick-fil-A Reina del Sur
When Mingo Burgos’ daughter, Natalie, began working at a Chick-fil-A® restaurant in 2019, he never imagined that her decision to become a Team Member would completely change the trajectory of his own life. Yet, less than five years later, he was named the local Owner/Operator of Chick-fil-A Reina del Sur, located just miles away from where he grew up in Puerto Rico. When his restaurant opens in October 2023, his wife and children will be by his side as Chick-fil-A Team Members to help him live out his dream of having a family business in Southern Puerto Rico.
Discovering his calling
For Mingo (Domingo Burgos Cortes), mentorship has always been a priority – and one that starts within his own family. He warmly recalls the conversations he would have with Natalie when she would return home from every restaurant shift, telling him stories from her day. As she advanced in various leadership roles within the restaurant, Mingo continued to coach and mentor her, observing how their conversations were becoming increasingly leadership focused.
During one of their discussions, Natalie told Mingo that he and Chick-fil-A seemed like a perfect match due to their shared beliefs in how to approach leadership, treat customers and invest in the local community. At the time, he brushed off the comment, but as his own career advancement started to take him further from training and developing people, Mingo began to question his future path. Shortly after, his daughter gave him a copy of “Eat Mor Chikin, Inspire More People” written by Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, and the rest is history.
“I was immediately impressed, so I read another one of Truett’s books and was completely hooked,” he explains. Mingo was so captivated by the company that he soon met with the local Owner/Operator of his daughter’s restaurant and began researching Chick-fil-A and possible career opportunities.
In early 2021, when Mingo and his wife, Marie, sat down to plan for the coming year, Mingo confided that he was ready to make a change. “I was enamored and giddy over the possibility of becoming a small business owner, especially because my commitment to giving back to the community aligned with Chick-fil-A’s approach to caring for others,” he says. “Investing in youth is something that’s always been important to our family, and this path afforded us an opportunity to do that in a unique way.”
Exploring opportunities for personal growth
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Mingo has many happy memories playing basketball, engaging with others in his neighborhood and spending time with his family, including his five siblings. In particular, he fondly reminisces about his grandmother – the tough, but loving matriarch of the large Cortes clan – who assumed guardianship of him and his younger brother when his mother passed away when Mingo was nine.
It wasn’t until Mingo left the island when he was 13 that he realized he had spent his childhood in a low-income community, often playing in the streets barefoot.
“My parents were wonderful people who worked hard and provided everything they could for me,” Mingo says. “They were blue-collar workers who wanted more for us, but they didn’t know how to help us achieve more.”
As a kid, Mingo always had a passion for history, an interest in military life, and thought it “would be cool to have top-secret clearance,” so he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a way of building on those childhood dreams while also creating the opportunity and stability he desired.
Growing through mentorship and service
As a motivated and “squared-away sailor,” Mingo’s superiors were quick to observe his consistent dedication, positive attitude and meticulously pressed uniform. Senior leaders increasingly trusted him with additional responsibilities and began to counsel him, broadening his perspective on what his own future could look like.
“I had a leader who told me I could do anything I put my mind to,” Mingo recalls. “But I had to have my own voice. He told me that if I wanted something, I had to ask for it. He continuously pushed me and inspired me to take on some of the biggest challenges in my life. His belief in me helped instill a sense of courage and confidence that I could do anything.”
Creating opportunities and changing lives in Puerto Rico through a family business
For Mingo, having his own Chick-fil-A restaurant provides a platform to live out his purpose: to create opportunities and change lives. Among his team, he aspires to provide restaurant Team Members with a top-notch employee experience anchored in training, professional and personal development opportunities, as well as strong foundation in business. Beyond his restaurant, he plans to prioritize mentorship and youth development programs – investing in others the way influential figures in Mingo’s own life invested in him.
“I still can’t believe I’m waking up in Puerto Rico again – it’s very emotional for me,” Mingo emphasizes. “My hope for my Chick-fil-A restaurant is that I can give back to my community and help positively impact lives, while also serving as a role model for the youth in my neighborhood.”
And Mingo won’t do it alone. He will be joined by his daughter, Natalie, who will return to Chick-fil-A as his front-of-house director, his son, Nathan, a certified back-of-house trainer; and his wife Marie, who will bring her kind spirit and engaging personality to provide signature hospitality in his restaurant’s dining room. Together, the Burgos family can’t wait to serve the Ponce and Southern Puerto Rican communities when their restaurant officially opens in October 2023.
Chick-fil-A in Puerto Rico
Chick-fil-A is slated to open its fifth restaurant in Puerto Rico, Chick-fil-A Reina del Sur, on October 5, 2023. This will be the first restaurant in Ponce, Puerto Rico. To learn more about Chick-fil-A, visit chick-fil-a.pr and find us on Facebook and Instagram.
About Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a restaurant company known for the Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich and signature hospitality. Represented by more than 170,000 Team Members, Operators and Staff, Chick-fil-A® restaurants serve guests freshly prepared food at more than 2,700 restaurants in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada. The family-owned and privately held restaurant company was founded in 1967 by S. Truett Cathy and is committed to serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate.
Known for its leadership and growth opportunities, in 2022 Chick-fil-A was named a Best Employer in America by Forbes and a top company for career opportunities for Black employees by Glassdoor. The company was also awarded the Employee’s Choice by Glassdoor honoring top CEOs and was named a Culture 500 Culture Champion in 2020. A leader in customer service, Chick-fil-A was named QSR Magazine’s Drive-Thru Restaurant of the Year for 2021. More information on Chick-fil-A is available at www.chick-fil-a.com and @ChickfilANews.
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