Miranda “Mandi” Basquez is having her 15 minutes of fame, although it’s actually more like two seconds. The 18-year-old server at the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers  restaurant in Broken Arrow, Okla., is the waitress bringing food to the table in the latest series of commercials for the casual-dining chain. Basquez won the cameo appearance after a homemade video she produced took first prize in a recent contest for Red Robin employees. The winner earned a trip to Hollywood where the commercial was filmed.
Based in Greenwood Village , Colo., and with more than 380 restaurants, Red Robin sponsored the morale-boosting contest by asking employees to promote the chain’s “Unbridled Acts” philosophy—random acts of kindness performed by employees inside and outside the restaurant. Basquez, a marketing major at Tulsa Community College who joined Red Robin almost a year ago, produced a video that recreated a time when she gave a free ice cream sundae to a little girl celebrating her soccer team’s victory. With the help of a friend and co-workers Meghan Boyce and Danielle Normandin they filmed a short act in which Basquez and her co-workers hid in the back of a van and surprised a family including two young soccer players with ice cream sundaes.
Why did you decide to submit a video?
I saw the flyer on the door numerous times. Finally, I thought: “Why not? I can do that. I have time on my hands.” And it looked like fun. And I love working at Red Robin. All the team members care about each other. We’re more like a family. The managers are awesome and interested in our lives. But the main reason I love the job is the people. I love fun and being in an uplifting environment.
Have you ever produced a video before?
Not really. In high school I had one or two assignments. But Red Robin offered encouragement and made sure we had everything we needed and props. My friend Matt Moore helped with the filming, lighting and microphone. It was stressful at times.
What did you think when you won?
I was blown away. I never thought I’d win. A lot of people had entered the contest. They sent me to Hollywood for two days. I had never even been on a plane before.