Best Job Ever: Taco Bell Retail Engagement & Experience
You probably know Taco Bell for its delicious Doritos® Locos Tacos, signature Mountain Dew® Baja Blast, and, of course, iconic Sauce Packets. But have you ever thought about who comes up with those Sauce Packet wisdoms? Or who designs the Taco Bell Team Member uniforms? From restaurant designs and packaging to t-shirts on the Taco Shop and even retail collections, these integral (and very stylish) parts of Taco Bell are driven by Sr. Director of Retail Engagement & Experience, Jennifer Arnoldt.
We sat down with Jennifer to learn more about her and how she landed one of the Best Jobs Ever at Taco Bell Corporate.
Question: How would you describe your job as a Sr. Director of Retail Engagement & Experience?
Jennifer Arnoldt: My job is to elevate the look and feel of the Taco Bell brand at every customer touchpoint. From restaurant design and fashion collabs to Instagram-worthy packaging and contemporary Team Member uniforms, my team spearheads efforts to reinforce Taco Bell as a lifestyle brand. We want Taco Bell to be a brand you identify with outside of just your favorite menu item...
Q: What did you study in school?
JA: I studied Graphic Design at San Diego State University, Advertising at ArtCenter College of Design, and Interior Design at the Interior Designers Institute.
Q: What kind of job experiences did you have prior to Taco Bell and how did you come into your role?
JA: I worked at advertising agencies as a creative and account person. This was a great foundation for me to understand the creative process, my clients and their needs. As my career progressed, I knew I wanted to understand everything that goes into building a great brand. Things like financial models, supply chain, product innovation, operations. The only way to get this was to work for a brand versus an agency. Thankfully I had built great relationships along the way, which ultimately led to being recruited at Taco Bell; I haven't looked back since.
Q: What does a typical work day at Taco Bell look like for you?
JA: Of course the cliche answer is, “There is no typical work day”... but it’s true, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Some days I’m meeting with new potential collaboration partners, and other days I’m meeting with my team to brainstorm new products for the Taco Shop. One of the many things I love about my job is that it changes from day to day, hour to hour and sometimes minute to minute.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
JA: A majority of the projects my team works on are “new programs” that haven’t been done before. This means there is no roadmap, no established process - we get to make the rules.
Q: What have you helped create at Taco Bell?
JA: My team and I launched Taco Bell's first ever fashion retail collection with Forever 21, led the redesign (its first in over 20 years) of Taco Bell’s brand identity and logo, partnered with our Development team to design four new restaurant concepts (Urban Edge, Modern Explorer, California Sol, and my personal favorite Heritage), and I’m a member of the core team that launched Taco Bell’s first Flagship restaurant in Las Vegas.
Q: Out of all the projects you’ve worked on at Taco Bell, which one has been your favorite?
JA: Leading the redesign of Taco Bell’s brand identity! It was a true honor to be trusted with such an iconic brand’s image.
Q: How do you stay true to the Taco Bell brand while being innovative when creating a collection?
JA: It’s about keeping the brand DNA in mind but always finding ways to evolve and innovate to stay relevant. The nonmarket-y answer: give our fans things they never knew they always wanted.
Q: What are you working on now at Taco Bell? What's next at Taco Bell that we can expect from you and the team?
JA: We are working on some “really big” ideas for 2019 that I can’t share just yet. But trust me... they are really cool - A more modern restaurant experience, unexpected collaborations and super cool merch on the Taco Bell Taco Shop. Have you seen the new holiday collection? So, so cute!
Q: What advice can you give to anyone with an interest in working in the retail industry?
JA: Early in my career, I was taught the idea of “washing windows willingly.” Which means being willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Not too long ago, my team was building a prototype Sauce Packet bike with wrenches and screwdrivers. The bike was such a hit on Taco Shop that it sold out in days.
Q: Why is your job the best job ever?
JA: To me, the ability to live the best version of our brand day in and day out, and continue to elevate our ability to connect with Team Members, operators, consumers, and our fans is what makes this the Best. Job. Ever!
Do you want to be a part of the team that brings the Taco Bell style to life? If you’re interested in a career at Taco Bell, click here to explore current job openings and apply.