- Taco Bell has expanded benefits for general managers at company-owned restaurants, offering four weeks of accrued vacation annually, four weeks of paid time off for "baby bonding" for new parents and guardians and eight weeks of paid short-term disability following the birth of a child, according to a press release.
- The fast food chain is also hosting its fourth annual hiring parties event on April 21, with plans to hire at least 5,000 team members across nearly 2,000 locations. While open positions will vary, job roles will range from cashier to general manager. Restaurants are also hiring more "bellhops," who use tablets to service drive-thru orders.
- The expansion of general manager benefits comes just over a year after Taco Bell tested $100,000 annual salaries for restaurant managers at company-owned locations. The company also expanded its sick leave last year at Taco Bell-owned locations, offering at least 24 hours of paid sick leave for all levels of employees.
Taco Bell aims to reach 10,000 locations globally by the end of the decade, and adding 5,000 additional employees will help it reach its goal. Last summer, the chain made a goal to hire at least 30,000 team members. This year, the company is eyeing more reopenings, remodels and new builds, according to the release. Taco Bell collaborated with Diversified Restaurant Group, for example, to open its first drive-thru Cantina in Danville, California, last month. The chain is also opening a kiosk-focused location in Manhattan this year and will roll out more Go Mobile concept stores, which it tested in 2020.
Retaining general managers will be critical to Taco Bell's growth. Chains, in general, were working to improve retention of these employees even before the pandemic, especially since the longer the tenure, the higher the potential sales of the location, CNBC reports. Then the coronavirus hit and shortly after the crisis began, Taco Bell provided a $1,000 one-time bonus to its restaurant general managers at its 1,200 company-owned stores and committed to paying their second quarter bonuses even if restaurant sales performance wouldn't allow them to normally qualify, Yum Brands CEO David Gibbs said during the company's Q1 2020 earnings call.
Taco Bell's hiring parties will include on-the-spot interviews that will take place in patio areas, with some candidates able to participate in drive-up interviews. All participants and interview locations will be at least six feet apart and masks are mandatory.
Even with all these safety measures in place, Taco Bell could struggle to meet its employment needs. Including its franchisees, the company has over 34,000 open positions listed on its website. With dining rooms reopening, chains and local restaurants are increasingly pressed to fill positions to meet growing consumer demand as they feel more comfortable returning to restaurants. Many hospitality workers who lost their jobs early in the pandemic turned toward other industries, such as construction and real estate, Reuters reports.
During Q1 2021, the restaurant industry added 442,000 jobs according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, with the bulk of its gains occurring in February with the addition of 286,000 jobs. However, these gains are a drop in the bucket, with employment in foodservices and drinking places short 1.7 million jobs compared to January 2020, according to the BLS data.