Adding diversity to the management and ownership ranks of franchises requires disrupting the current system. This has been a particular challenge for the fast food industry.
Channels like Yum! Brands‘ (YUM) – Get yum! Report Brands, Inc. Taco Bell offers low-paying jobs (though now at least $15 an hour at company-owned restaurants) that attract a diverse workforce.
Moving these workers up the chain to become not just managers but also franchise owners has been something the company (and many of its rivals) have struggled with.
Now the Irvine, Calif., chain has found at least part of the solution because its executives were willing to ask themselves a tough question, which it shared in a press release.
Shouldn’t the leaders of the Taco Bell system reflect the people who eat and work there? In an effort to remove potential roadblocks and further diversify its franchise system, Taco Bell today announced the deployment of Taco Bell Business School in partnership with the University of Louisville: a unique franchise education program in its kind to elevate restaurant executives as entrepreneurs and break down barriers to franchise ownership.
Progress requires doing something different, and Taco Bell has taken this step to help form a new group of potential franchise owners.
What does a Taco Bell business school look like?
Taco Bell partnered with the University of Louisville College of Business in 2021 to create the Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence.
It’s a bit like the “First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in Excellence” from Season 3 of “The Simpsons.” But it’s a genuine effort (as opposed to a fake awards show created so Homer Simpson doesn’t chase Mr. Burns after Bart is hit by Homer’s boss’ car).
The Yum Center was created to “unlock opportunities for underrepresented communities through franchise business education.”
Now, the two partners have a pilot program that aims to “create pathways for restaurant leaders to advance in their careers while helping the brand build a more diverse franchise system.”
A six-week business boot camp, the program will give “top-performing restaurant chefs the fundamentals of franchise ownership, leveraging the Yum Center for Global Franchise Excellence’s existing curriculum, infused with a touch Taco Bell”.
These will be accredited courses and training on “essential business and entrepreneurial skills, from financing, growth and development to marketing and [human resources]“, said the company,
Taco Bell has also partnered with current franchise owners to share their experiences and expertise. during classes.
Taco Bell launches the program as the entire service industry struggles to find workers to fill vacancies.
One way to attract potential employees is to show that a job in fast food is actually the first step in a career, where it is possible to reach not only a management position, but also to become an owner.
It’s a path that some current Taco Bell executives have followed.
“When I started working at a Taco Bell restaurant in 1983, I thought I would only be there for a few months,” said Tina Reagan, franchise COO of K-Mac Enterprises. “I had no idea I would end up staying a few decades and eventually managing and operating 319 restaurants.”
Reagan echoes the need for this type of training.
“As someone who started out as part of a team, I know firsthand that franchise ownership can be a daunting path,” she said.
“But it has been very rewarding. I am proud to work for a company that is working to pave the way for franchise ownership for restaurant leaders of diverse backgrounds at all levels.”
Taco Bell’s first training camp will begin later this month. All participants will receive scholarships covering the cost of the program.