Labor

Taco Bell is opening its own biz school

The chain hopes to challenge the idea that fast-food jobs are simply “stepping stones to other careers.”
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Taco Bell

· less than 3 min read

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Class is in session at Taco Bell, which announced yesterday that it’s opening a business school—but not to give students a bachelor’s in burritos.

The fast-food chain is teaming up with the University of Louisville to introduce the Taco Bell Business School, a franchisee training program it hopes will eliminate barriers to entrepreneurship for its employees.

  • The six-week program, welcoming its first class of three to five students next month, will teach participants the nuts and bolts of running their own Taco Bell, from financing, marketing, and HR, to growth and development.
  • It’s aimed at employees in managerial roles, and participants will receive scholarships from Taco Bell to cover tuition. (No details yet on the cost.)

Amid a tough labor market, Taco Bell hopes to challenge the idea that fast-food jobs are “stepping stones to other careers,” CEO Mark King said in a statement. He told Entrepreneur that employees rarely become owners because franchises take a lot of $$ and resources to start, so the school could help simplify that path to ownership.

“This school is really one of those things that says, ‘Hey, if you come to work at Taco Bell, you can have a career, not just a part-time job,’” he said.

Food for thought: The biz school comes after parent company Yum! Brands (which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut) formed the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence in May 2021 to educate underrepresented communities about the franchising business.

  • James Fripp, chief equity and inclusion officer at Yum!, discussed at NRF this week how to make DE&I personal by highlighting the importance of reverse mentorship: POC and women are often “overly mentored and under-sponsored,” he said.

The new biz school also builds on Taco Bell’s “Start with Us, Stay with Us” program, introduced in 2016, that includes its Live Más college scholarship—which will award $2+ million to restaurant employees in 2022—a GED certification program, and a partnership with Guild Education (which has also worked with companies like Chipotle, Walmart, and Five Guys), a startup that helps employees with educational programs.

Faced with the ever-looming Great Resignation and student debt in the US totaling at least $1.75 trillion, subsidized higher education is one of the latest benefits retailers from Target to Macy’s are using to win over—and hopefully retain—workers.—EC

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