One crucial aspect related to opening a business is hiring exceptional staff. When Jim Audley helped open Tacos 4 Life Grill in Waxahachie, he knew he had to recruit the mother-daughter duo from his previous employer.

Before Audley opened the doors to the mission-based restaurant, he managed at CiCi’s Pizza in Waxahachie. One of the cooks there, Mary Guerrero, and her daughter, Dayana, showed incomparable work ethic, and Audley could not help to offer them positions at Tacos 4 Life.

Mary, who went from baking pizzas for 23 years to kitchen manager, agreed and underwent a six-week training in Arkansas where the company was first established.

“I walked into the store, and I was like, ‘This place is not for me.’ It’s so different from what I’ve been doing for the past 23 years,” Mary said as she anxiously waited to return to work during the soft opening on Wednesday.

However, after she learned more about the company's mission, she knew Tacos 4 Life was the place for her.

Her daughter, Dayana, also worked at CiCi’s Pizza and currently waits tables at Cotton Patch. Dayana, a 2018 Waxahachie High graduate, is taking classes at Navarro College and works the front of the house at the register, takeout area and the drive-through, “but my goal is to learn everything.” Mary noted her daughter has been eager to work since the age of 16.

Dayana admitted she was not interested in the taco shop at first. “I had my own job waiting tables and thought I was doing pretty good. But when I went to Arkansas, and I saw what they were doing and what it stood for, it was more than just a restaurant; it was more than just a job. It was helping others and serving others.”

While in Arkansas, Mary packed up meals for children and “in that workshop I realized they stand for more than just tacos.”

The mission behind Tacos 4 Life is centered around a goal to eliminate, or at least address, world hunger through donating a portion of proceeds from each sale to the nonprofit Feed My Starving Children, which supplies meals to people in need.

Dayana stated that she could relate to that mission, as she faced a bit of adversity when her mother and father chased the American dream and immigrated from Mexico to the United States. Dayana said she was born in Waxahachie and lived in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato for a couple of years before she began school.

“I lived in Mexico for a little bit when I was younger and living there and living here I can tell a difference and saw that kids there don’t have as much as I was fortunate enough to have grown up with,” Dayana said. “Me living in Mexico for a little bit helped me realize that.”

Mary said she came to the United States 25 years ago and has been a resident for the past five. She expressed thankfulness for the opportunities the states have granted her family.

“For me to be here in this country — I’m so glad. And now, to be part of this restaurant Tacos 4 Life, it’s amazing," Mary expressed.

Other than the mission behind Tacos 4 Life, Audley encouraged the public to come for the food. “One thing is that it takes a little longer because it’s made fresh," he explained. "They are grilling the steak, the shrimp and mahi-mahi. Everything is made fresh. It’s not like fast food; we are cooking this as you order it.”

Tacos 4 Life Grill in Waxahachie is the 16th location to open and is located at 1760 N. Highway 77 and can be reached at 214-980-1440. The taco shop is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. — 9 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. — 10 p.m.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450