When you think of the restaurant Twin Peaks, you don’t necessarily think about female empowerment. The first thing that comes to mind is probably the famously cold beers, maybe followed by the “Twin Peaks Girl.” What most people don’t know is that the company is mostly run by women, for women.
Take the “Twin Peaks Girl” for example — the servers and bar staff. While that role is the entry point to the brand for many women, the company champions them to grow with Twin Peaks and become managers, leaders, and eventually, a part of the C-suite.
For Destinee Rollins, it wasn't always her future.
The current vice president of marketing at Dallas-based casual-dining restaurant Twin Peaks became a “Twin Peaks Girl” when she was a teenager, and she hasn’t left the company since then. Her mom extolled the virtues of Twin Peaks, including the cold beers and the “cute outfits” the “Twin Peaks Girls” got to wear.
“I was like, I get to wear my favorite shoes and rock this super cute Lumber Jill Dallas Cowboy cheerleader-style costume,” she said. “Sign me up.”
But it isn’t just about the outfits at Twin Peaks — though that’s a bonus. It’s about how the brand values women to its core.
Many “Twin Peaks Girls” have moved through the system to become executives at the company where they were once selling those 29-degree cold beers.
“I think it’s such an incredible opportunity for 20-something girls to build their confidence inside of a restaurant,” Rollins said. “There is a component of being able to show up, get dolled up, work your tables, and make some incredible cash. You feel empowered and respected and those are definitely the components that we’re angling to be able to share with ‘Twin Peaks Girls’ as they start and continue to grow with Twin Peaks.”
The “Twin Peaks Girls” don’t have to do traditional tasks asked of servers, like bussing tables or refilling salt and pepper shakers — there are men who perform those tasks. For Twin Peaks, the pressure on the women who work there is to be a part of a community.
Many women who work at these traditional “breastaurants” speak often about the community aspect of working with an all-female team. What makes Twin Peaks special is that its pipeline is made up of many former “Twin Peaks Girls” as well as other women who have joined the company. That’s an oddity for the restaurant industry as well as other industries across the country.
According to the Women in the Workplace 2023 report by McKinsey & Company, the pipeline for women at the executive level is still lagging. Despite making up 48% of entry-level positions, women account for 33% of vice president roles, 27% of senior vice president roles, and 28% of the C-suite across all industries.
Women of color have it the worst when it comes to promotions in the executive suite. For every 54 Black women, 100 men are hired. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2018, after rising to 96 Black women per 100 men in 2021.
Twin Peaks is well ahead of its peers when it comes to its pipeline. Rollins herself has an all-female team in her marketing department, one she’s built over her 13 years with the company. Several of the women on her team began working as “Twin Peaks Girls” at the chain’s first location in Lewisville, Texas.
Rollins was encouraged by her manager at the time to move further along in the system — and that’s just what she did.
“After a couple of years, I said ‘Hey, I’ve just finished up college. I have to hit the road, I’ve got to start my marketing career,’” she said. “[The manager] said ‘You know what, there’s this great application that just came in and I would love to see if you want to further your career at Twin Peaks.’”
So, she joined the marketing team and in the past ten years, she’s worked her way up to vice president of marketing.
“I saw an opportunity for continued growth and just built on that,” she said. “So, I would just say [to women], don’t have too many reservations and take the opportunities that are that are in front of you to be able to jump on.”
Her advice for women who want to move up in the workforce is similar: “keep grinding girl.”
Last year, the team at Twin Peaks pulled together a video of 50 management and training team members of former “Twin Peaks Girls” who are in the ranks currently throughout the system.
“It gave me goosebumps just to be able to see that growth that the brand has had and the impact that that we’re having for our females and continuing to develop them,” she said.
She continued, “We want to make sure that our company is a female-dominated organization.”
It’s about more than just the presence of women at the entry level, it’s about marketing the restaurant to more than just men. With Rollins’ team, the goal is to appeal to everyone through the brand’s advertising.
“We’ve got to have a voice for the females so having female leadership in these roles with HR, training, and marketing,” she said. “Making sure that we're getting the right messaging out is very important to the brand…it's a great opportunity for us to be able to market to women by women and be able to get that message out in a tasteful manner.”
And Rollins wants to pay it forward. When asked what she wants to be remembered for (in a long, long time, since Rollins is a millennial), she said she wants to, “Know that I’m going to repay the opportunities that I’ve seen.”
Rollins and her team have an exciting and possibly monumental year approaching. There’s been a longstanding rumor that Twin Peaks is set to go public this year under its new owner FAT Brands. This means Rollins and her team will have more interest in franchising and employment, which ultimately means more women to move up in the pipeline.
With the increased focus on the casual-dining brand over the next year as people examine the brand for its IPO, Twin Peaks has a lot to brag about when it comes to its leadership team and the women running it.