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Taco Bell

How Taco Bell spreads their Live Mas culture company wide.

From franchises to headquarters, Taco Bell is a company that stands by its reputation. Operating in 29 countries, with over 7,000 restaurants that serve more than 40 million customers a week, Taco Bell stands by clear and concise company values that defines what success means to them.

By setting a clear example of how each employee contributes to not only the success of their own location, but the organisation as a whole, Taco Bell has figured out how to continually grow since it opened in 1962. Success at Taco Bell is clear, data driven, and always celebrated.

The missing ingredient.
Many often think of working in fast food as a challenging job. With long hours, hungry customers, and a fast-paced environment, it can be an exhausting career. Taco Bell knows what all their frontline staff go through during their shifts and wanted to help them feel energised and recognised for all their hard work.

Frank Tucker, Chief People Officer Taco Bell, explains when Yum Brand and Taco Bell formed in 1987, they were very focused in on their frontline people and bringing a culture of recognition and celebration to restaurants. “[At the beginning] we had a very traditional employee recognition program. People used it but it didn’t generate the level of excitement that we wanted.”

Back at headquarters (referred to as the Restaurant Support Center), Tucker says employees were feeling the same way, not connecting to the internal recognition program and award selections. “It’s great to get a barbecue after a couple of years, but you can also get that at a lot of places.”

Taco Bell was in need of a program that not only connected employees to their company values, but to the history of the company and all they have accomplished.

Finding a partner.
As no ordinary fast food company, Taco Bell needed no ordinary service award program. Their partnership with O.C. Tanner focused in on a variety of symbols and styles to replicate the fun and energetic culture they’ve created.

O.C. Tanner helped to recreate Taco Bell’s legendary symbols that speak not only to the service at Taco Bell, but to the things that are truly symbolic about Taco Bell. When Taco Bell gives someone the Golden Bell, every employee knows they are celebrating the day-to-day successes at the cornerstone of what makes Taco Bell a giant in their industry. When employees reach a career milestone, Taco Bell gives them a branded Yearbook filled with peer comments and photos along with their own symbolic award.

Taco Bell employees together at work
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“Symbols mean a lot to people. People love to display them because it communicates to others that this really means something to me and has great value to me.” Frank Tucker, CPO

“Both our service award program and from a recognition standpoint, is giving somebody actual symbols of the company from throughout our history.” Frank, who proudly displays his 25-year service award on his desk, says these symbols of Taco Bell’s history provide a lot of value and meaning behind why they are being given.

Connecting everyone to success.
Taco Bell understands that success wouldn’t be possible without each team member, which is something they make sure to communicate often. With a strong service award program and powerful symbols with a strong narrative, they have created a cohesive celebratory culture across all locations. From smaller celebrations among teams to companywide gatherings in their café they call Live Mas Meetings, Taco Bell has created a culture of excellence and success that reinforces their values.

“It tells people, here's what the company really values in terms of success and here's what [success] looks like,” Tucker says. “We're trying to show [all employees], when you're thinking about what the right thing to do in your store is, or what do we really want you to achieve, these people that we're taking and celebrating are achieving it with their teams and they're achieving it with their customers.”

“When you’re thinking about [success]—these people we are celebrating are achieving this. They’re achieving it with their teams and with their customers.” Frank Tucker, CPO
Taco Bell employee happy at work
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Custom years of service awards made for Taco Bell by O.C. Tanner
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“You want to celebrate people. It’s one of those human elements that people want to feel [recognised]. We try to celebrate it wherever we can. I think it's a big part of what makes Taco Bell special that makes Yum special,” says Tucker.


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