The Bell Wisdom: GM Jordan T. - "Believe you can and you're halfway there."
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Jordan T. from South Carolina did one better. When life gave him lemons... he made tacos. At 20 years old, he is one of youngest General Managers (GM) at franchise organization Charter Central, LLC and within the Taco Bell system, and has a drive and moral compass like no other.
He started his career with Taco Bell at the age of 15 and felt early on that his determination and hard work would lead him to success with the Brand. It was his mother who initially inspired him as she worked for The Bell. He even remembers visiting her at work, seeing the craveable food get made and wondering what he could do to get in on the action. Her Assistant General Manager (AGM) at the time suggested hiring Jordan and...
“Ever since then, I just took off with it. I fell in love with it,” he said.
Starting off as a Service Champion, Jordan continued to pick up shifts after school to make a little extra cash. Whatever the restaurant needed, he was happy to provide and when another location needed some extra hands, he was there to offer his own.
“I became proud of what I was doing. Helping everybody, building them up and taking them from point A to point B. It’s an unmatched feeling.”
Beginning to climb the career ladder, Jordan became a Shift Lead, earning his Food Service Management Degree, and even then, he continued to ask his team if there was anything more he could do to help. He was eager to build his development and didn’t want to waste any time. It wasn’t long after turning 18 that an AGM position presented itself and Jordan leapt at the opportunity.
When the conversation of Jordan becoming a GM finally arose, tensions were high. He knew that although he didn’t have as many years of experience as a typical GM, he wouldn’t let anything stop him from proving that he was the right person for the job. In February of 2021, he was asked to provisionally step in for a GM who had to take a temporary leave of absence. He confessed, “I was a little scared at first. I knew if I messed this up it would affect me managing a restaurant.” Jordan absolutely nailed running the location and after just two months, he took on the GM position full time.
“I’m always for helping out and doing whatever I can to make someone’s life easier because I know how rough it can get.” He recalls being a Team Member running the drive-thru, being on the line making tacos and taking orders up front. Those are the moments that drove him to want to do more. “At the end of the day, I think [this career] is more about the people – it’s more than just tacos and burritos.”
And that mindset shows as he helped his restaurant win the Area Ranker Award – an award based on metrics that is given out by his Franchise Organization, Charter Foods, Inc. The trophy travels around the area and whomever holds it for most periods throughout the year gets to keep it until the next year. That trophy currently sits at Jordan’s location.
Not only that, but Jordan recently attended Golden Bell, which is an event that we have every year to honor the Best of the Best General Managers and Area Coaches with a celebratory trip to Hawaii for being the top 100 in the nation.
Looking back on his accomplishments Jordan reflects, “Sometimes you have to work a little bit harder because the odds are against you. Someone might see you in a different way because you’re not a set age or because you don’t look a certain way or whatever the case may be. I’m very grateful for them [my leadership] that took a chance on me. Not everyone would give an 18-year-old kid a shot at running a restaurant.”
He credits his Area Coaches and his current Market Coach, a man named Jennings who has been with the brand for 15 years. Jordan was inspired by his passion and really appreciates Jennings taking him under his wing. A quote frequently used by Jennings and something that stuck with Jordan is, “Somebody planted a seed today, so that somebody can sit in the shade tomorrow.”
From throwing pizza parties for hitting a speed goal or dying his hair purple because the team won a restaurant challenge he put forth, Jordan took that quote and applied it to his restaurant culture. He believes that in creating a fun, safe place for them to come to all while running the business together – it makes it all worth it.
Jordan celebrated his one-year anniversary of being a GM this past April and his team could not be more grateful to have such a hard-working leader in their corner.
“I just want to make people’s lives better and at the end of the day, I think that’s what it boils down to.”
Jordan’s shared wisdom is, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” His story is a true testament that if you do believe in yourself and your passion, you can achieve your dream. In Jordan’s case, his dream is to make tacos and make people’s lives better. And he’s doing just that.
Congrats on all your success, Jordan! We can’t wait to see what you do next.