Taco Bell has done its best to come up with new and innovative products like the Grilled Cheese Burrito or the Naked Chicken Chalupa, but their newest idea will require a bit of learning.
The chain is launching the first Taco Bell Business School in a partnership with the University of Louisville to teach how to own and operate a restaurant as a potential franchisee.
The program is made for current Taco Bell employees in higher-level restaurant positions, giving them an opportunity to advance their careers within the company.
All Taco Bell employees are eligible for the program, although CEO Mark King said that he expects a majority of the new students will be people already in managerial positions, regardless if they have previously received an undergraduate degree.
“I’m excited that we can go to people that work for us and say to them [that] we can provide further education that can help you, whether you want to just be more equipped to do your job today, whether you want to learn more, if you want to understand more about franchising and the relationship with between franchisee and franchisor,” King said to Entrepreneur.
“I think very few [Taco Bell employees] actually go on to be franchise owners, especially in today's world. [Franchises] are very expensive to start and to fund and to have all the resources. So it's very, very difficult as a young aspiring person to to get into it. It wasn't 50 years ago, but today it's really difficult. So creating a path or an opportunity for people is pretty exciting. I think this is going to be very rare today in today's world, to have someone that maybe started out right after high school stayed with us, got promoted, now is running a restaurant and say, ‘Hey, some point I might be able to own one.’ That's a that's a pretty exciting opportunity.”
The program is scheduled to be a six-week "bootcamp" and offer courses mostly online that cover fundamentals of business and entrepreneurship, finances, marketing, HR, and more. Successful franchisees will also come and speak to those enrolled in the program.
“It’s going to be seasoned general managers that are probably running fairly decent-sized restaurants that are qualified to be on this path,” King said. “And so that's where it's going to start. It could be either someone that works for a franchisee, or one of our corporate stores, either one … it's like nothing that I don't think any industry has probably ever done.”
The first class of Taco Bell Business School will start in February 2022, and the company hopes the program will guide people to new opportunities in their careers.
“Finding people to work is a challenge. But we offer so many great things, and that's what we've really focused on in this,” King said. “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.’”