Cooking Up Success
Longtime Phoenix restaurant company’s growth helped by NB|AZ
By Debra Gelbart
Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen opened on Central Avenue in Phoenix in 1952. Through the vision of owners Woody and Victoria Johnson, Macayo’s quickly became an Arizona tradition, serving authentic, Mexican-style comfort food.
Today, Macayo’s, run by the Johnsons’ children and grandchildren, is a flourishing business that has 14 locations in Arizona, three in Las Vegas and employs more than 1,000 people.
Through the company’s expansion—what the owners describe as “slow and steady growth”— National Bank of Arizona has provided loans for new buildings and lines of credit as needed by the management team over the last 15 years. “The bank has been with us through good and bad times, depending on the economy,” said Macayo’s chief financial officer Bob Myers. “We know we can call our banker (NB|AZ Senior Vice President Ken Kellaney) at any time if we have a financial need.”
“What sets NB|AZ apart from other banks is that they provide exceptional customer service,” said Myers, who moved to the Phoenix area in 1985 from Oklahoma City and has been with Macayo’s for 26 years. “We’re dealing with the same people there that we started dealing with 15 years ago and that’s very helpful. They know Arizona so well and they have a thorough understanding of our Arizona-based business.”
Myers has always appreciated Arizona’s climate compared with most other places in the country. “Because we don’t have snow or tornadoes here, work isn’t impacted like it can be elsewhere,” he said.
Macayo’s greatest successes, he said, are the consistent high quality of the food prepared and served and the number of long-term employees throughout the company. “We have some employees in our corporate office who have been with us for more than 30 years and others in our restaurants who have worked with us for 20 years or more.”
The company’s management team is inspired, Myers said, “by providing quality food and ingredients, outstanding service and a unique experience for our guests, and by always giving back to the community.”