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The first class of Taco Bell Business School students will start in February 2022. Photo Courtesy of Taco Bell. 
The first class of Taco Bell Business School students will start in February 2022. Photo Courtesy of Taco Bell. 

Taco Bell opens first-of-its-kind business school

The new educational program aims to break down barriers to diversify franchise ownership and leadership, and unlock opportunities for underrepresented…

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May 17th, 2022

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In an effort to break down barriers and further diversify its franchise program, Taco Bell has announced the launch of the Taco Bell Business School.

Taco Bell’s first-of-its-kind franchise training program will aim to elevate restaurant leaders as entrepreneurs and train more people of color to become franchise owners. 

This new program was brought about by a simple, reflective question: Shouldn’t the leaders in the Taco Bell system reflect the people who eat and work there?

As Taco Bell continues to expand, the brand is taking considerable action to ensure its leaders reflect the various people who make up its base.  

"We know that fast food jobs are often seen as stepping stones to other careers. And we're trying to change that,” said Mark King, chief executive officer of Taco Bell, in a press release. 

“Through the Taco Bell Business School, we want to show our ambitious restaurant leaders how their careers could flourish at Taco Bell and see opportunities they may not have previously considered. We want to make foundational changes that positively impact our diverse team members' growth. This program will teach them skills they need to climb the ladder — whether that's moving up to the next level or even owning their own franchise one day.”

This is a product of a partnership with the University of Louisville and will be supported through the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence, Taco Bell’s parent company. The goal is to unlock opportunities for underrepresented communities through education on the business of franchising. 

The pilot program will leverage this partnership to create pathways for restaurant leaders to advance in their careers while helping the brand build a more diverse franchise system. 

“I believe that businesses and educational institutions have a responsibility to work together to break down barriers and create opportunities for those who wouldn't otherwise have them," said Kathy Gosser, Director of the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence.

​​The six-week business bootcamp will teach top-performing restaurant leaders and fundamental tools to succeed in franchise ownership. The classes will provide accredited education and training on critical business and entrepreneurial skills, including financing, growth and development, marketing and HR.

Tina Reagan, president and chief operating officer of K-Mac Enterprises, is living proof of Taco Bell’s dedication to building future franchise leaders.

“When I first started working in a Taco Bell restaurant in 1983, I thought I would only stay for a few months,” she said. “Little did I know, I would end up staying for a few decades and eventually managing and operating 319 restaurants. As someone who started as a team member, I know firsthand that franchise ownership can be an intimidating path. But it's been very rewarding. 

“I am proud to work for a company that is working to build a path to franchise ownership for restaurant leaders from diverse backgrounds across all levels,” she added. 

The first class of Taco Bell Business School students will start in February 2022, with a goal of kicking off a strong talent pipeline for field leadership. 

Participants will be awarded scholarships to cover tuition for the program and will be internally recognized with the Taco Bell system for their accomplishment. 

"The close working relationship between Yum!, Taco Bell and the University of Louisville demonstrates the power of collaboration. Together we can help people learn new skills, fuel their entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately build a better future for generations,” said Gosser.

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