Local restaurant leans on service and quality to survive pandemic


Mykel Hilliard

The owners of The Victoria Restaurant in Farmers Branch look to prior experience to weather COVID-19 storm.

Megan Earlston, Opinions Editor

The Victoria Restaurant, a family-owned restaurant in Farmers Branch, has seen the effects of the global health crisis firsthand. 


Francisca Alvarado, who opened the restaurant in 2011, has seen many ups and downs throughout the pandemic. She said the restaurant lost half of its staff and about 75% of its customers. She said the hit her business took due to COVID-19 meant that business was similar to when she first opened. 


Alvarado said she had always wanted to open her own restaurant, since she was a little girl. She remembers working with her mom and siblings making Mexican food before sunrise. She said, “One does not only cook with their hands but also with one’s heart.”

Alvarado invested years into making her dream of a restaurant into a reality with 11 years working in the restaurant industry, she said. She was a waitress and manager for a long time before opening The Victoria, and working at other restaurants helped her learn what keeps customers happy and coming back for more. 

When she opened the business, social media was not where it is today, so to get customers coming in she went around local businesses and residential areas and put up flyers she made. Today she can post to their Facebook page to send more promotions.  The restaurant was doing so well they started expanding the patio and planned to open a second location down the street. But Alvarado said the expansion might be put off for two to three years due to COVID-19. She said she was not happy with having to put it off, but she wants to make sure she can keep The Victoria open before starting the other restaurant. 


When the restaurant reopened, it started serving orders through Grubhub delivery and pick-up only.

But customers kept calling for what has been one of the restaurant’s most popular offerings ever since it was introduced – Sunday breakfast/lunch buffet. In a June 11, 2018, TripAdvisor review, user Don and Mary J wrote: “Definitely worth the effort to find this place in a residential area off the main drag. Very good food and such warm, friendly – and efficient – service. Pleasant atmosphere as well.”

Live music accompanies the Sunday buffets. Ivan Rodriguez, an employee at the restaurant, said it is one of the busiest, yet most enjoyable days of the week, because the Sunday buffets are what the customers love most about the restaurant.

Alvarado’s staff followed strict cleaning procedures before the pandemic but are doing even more cleaning now to keep customers and staff safe.. Before getting their food, customers must wear a mask and a pair of gloves.


Before opening The Victoria, Alvarado had tried twice to open a restaurant but closed it because she did not have the money to keep it open.

After getting it right by keeping this business going for 10 years, she said she would tell younger people who would like to open their own restaurant to look for the right location, choose the type of food they want to serve, offer great customer service and have enough money to start. She said food and customer service are the main things that keep the business going. “If you have good food but bad customer service, people won’t want to come back,” Alvarado said.