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Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month

Rezaul K. (He/Him), Area Coach, New York – Taco Bell Corp.

The month of May celebrates Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. AANHPI is a wide-ranging term used to describe all cultures across the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia – representing approximately 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages.

This month was specifically chosen to honor the first known Japanese immigrant to the U.S. (May 1843), as well as to acknowledge the tremendous contribution Chinese immigrants made in completing the transcontinental railroad (May 1869).

With this year’s monthly theme of “Advancing Leaders Through Innovation,” we hope to elevate visionaries and trailblazers who continue to shape the AANHPI legacy at The Bell.

Coming to America from Bangladesh in 1997, Rezaul started his career working in sales, specifically electronics and technology. After years with his previous company, he was recruited to work for Taco Bell by his current Market Coach. At first, Rezaul declined as his background in technology did not cross over to the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry, but after being offered the position of assistant general manager, Rezaul decided to give it a shot as a growth opportunity!

“I was really nervous on the first day because of how different it was from my sales job. Making food and being on the line was a lot for someone who had never done this.”

After a couple of days, Rezaul met with the Region Leader for dinner, and that’s when everything changed.

“She took me out for dinner to get to know me and ask about my first few days on the job. From wanting to know if I slept well to asking if I had water….I hadn’t come from a place where bosses cared about their people, so this was shocking. It was the first time that I got a glimpse into the company culture, and that made me want to stay.”

Rezaul was an Assistant Restaurant General Manager (RGM) in Long Island until he was asked by his Market Coach to help open the first Cantina in New York.

“Cantina was new to the company, but also new to New York because of how different the concept was. Traditionally, the kitchen is at the back of the restaurant, but with Cantina style, it was an open kitchen. I was able to train many people as RGM as we opened three more locations in NYC.”

After opening the Cantina in New York, Rezaul moved to another restaurant where he broke many records, such as the most transactions in just one hour. This recognition led to his current role of Area Coach, and 2024 marks his 11th year at The Bell!

So how did Rezaul succeed in this position? It’s all thanks to his parents who taught him to persevere.

“Back in Bangladesh, I was a really good student. I made the honor roll many times and was always the top one or two students. I had a lot of pressure from my mom, because she wanted me to do well. My dad was in the army, so we had a strict routine growing up. I learned a lot about discipline from him, which has contributed to who I am today.”

What Rezaul loves about his Bangladeshi heritage is the big celebrations that take place throughout the year.

“From Ramadan to Eid and Bengali New Year, we eat special foods and wear cultural clothing to commemorate the events. Even when it comes to weddings, we invite the entire neighborhood to celebrate the weeklong festivities with us. It’s a fun type of chaos.”

Rezaul’s personal life journey has influenced his appreciation of hard work and helping others. When he’s not running the New York restaurants, you can find him volunteering to help those in need and the community back home in Bangladesh.

“I’ve seen the struggles that people face first-hand, so whether its collecting clothes and canned goods to send back home or building houses for those in need, I try my best to help others and encourage those around me to do the same.”

And that’s exactly what Rezaul wants his legacy to be!

“I want to be remembered for helping others and giving back to the community I’m part of. I learned this from my father, so I want to keep his legacy alive by making it part of mine too. I hope my son does the same when it’s his time.”

Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month
Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month