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‘Tis The Season: Taco Bell® Turns Up The Heat On Brand Values In New Year

The brand shares progress against past purpose goals and outlines new commitments as it continues to champion what matters most going into 2022

Irvine, Calif (December 14, 2021) – Everything Taco Bell has done since we first opened our doors 60 years ago has been for our people: our fans, our Team Members and our franchisees. We are lucky that dedication has been reciprocated. You might say we are kind of in love. The bond is strong and can only be found at Taco Bell.

While that love can be cheesy — and a little spicy at times — it is grounded in commitment. Many commitments, in fact. Commitments to do better by our people and communities, to make our food even better, and to leave a lighter footprint on our planet.

“Usually when you hear us talking about value, it’s in reference to our delicious menu," said Mark King, Taco Bell CEO. “But next year, we’ll be talking a lot more about value in a different sense — our brand values. Our purpose, what we care about and what we stand for. Looking ahead to 2022, we’re bringing different ideas, setting new, bold goals and holding ourselves accountable so that, together, we create a future that is craveable, sustainable and equitable.”

So, we’re wrapping up the year with a few guiding philosophies for the coming year, along with updates on how we’ll continue to prioritize our people, our food and the planet.

We champion our people by investing in them.

  • Removing roadblocks to education

    • Taco Bell is working with Guild Education to offer free undergraduate degrees to team members at corporate-owned locations (yes, 100% of tuition covered). Read more about available programs here.

    • After reaching its goal of awarding $21 million in Live Más Scholarships by 2021, the Taco Bell Foundation isn’t stopping — up to $7 million more in scholarships is up for grabs. See details, FAQs, eligibility criteria and apply by January 11, 2022.

    • The Taco Bell Foundation also plans to award up to $7 million in grants to local charities nationwide and invest in bringing the next generation's world-changing ideas to life.

  • Increasing access to quality jobs*

    • In 2016, we, together with our franchisees, pledged to create thousands of new U.S. jobs within the Taco Bell system by 2022. We’ve now achieved that goal.

    • This fall, Taco Bell Corp. joined the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees to provide refugees with immediate job opportunities.

  • Addressing racial equity and driving change

    • We’re being intentional with our actions and investments, and we've brought on transformative leader Katrina Thornton as our first-ever Chief Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Officer to do just that.

    • In 2021, we prioritized racial diversity in our marketing campaigns. We were able to engage and increase underrepresented minority talent for at least 25% of on-screen, voice over, model and influencer appearances. In 2022, we look forward to continuing to build a more diverse director and talent pool in the advertising industry.

    • As part of Yum! Brands’ $100 million Unlocking Opportunity Initiative commitment, we’ll implement new programs to produce equity, fairness, inclusion and belonging inside our company.

  • Redefining what it means to work in fast food

    • We’ve taken steps to increasing the average minimum wage to $15 per hour across company restaurants by mid-year 2024.

    • We introduced The Entrepreneur, a new leadership development program for general managers in company-owned restaurants who have a base pay of $80,000 with an earning potential of up to $100,000 with bonuses.

    • We prioritize mental health by offering complimentary therapy sessions with on-call therapists for corporate employees, both at headquarters and in restaurants.

  • Leveraging our Chief Impact Officer to open more doors

    • Former Taco Bell Team Member and newly appointed Chief Impact Officer, Lil Nas X, is giving us a fresh look at ways to support our people and communities.

  • Looking out for our neighbors

    • Taco Bell is committed to giving back to our neighbors in the Southern California community where we are headquartered. This week, we are supporting Bracken’s Kitchen with an event to feed those in need during the holidays, as well as a $10,000 donation to advance their mission. In 2022, we look forward to expanding our efforts further to give back locally.

We evolve our menu to provide expanded food options.

  • Crafting plant-based menu items everyone loves

    • From the online “Veggie Cravings” menu to “Veggie Mode” on kiosks, we make it easy for the vegetarians and veggie-curious to order craveable options.

    • Following a year of tests, we’ll continue releasing unique plant-based innovations that appeal to all lifestyles.**

    • We're partnering with Beyond Meat to develop and introduce an innovative plant-based protein that is completely new to the national QSR space. As expected, creating a product that is so revolutionary takes time and we could not be more excited about what we have planned in the coming months – stay tuned!

  • Using craveable, quality ingredients

    • By the end of 2022, in partnership with PepsiCo, we’ll achieve our goal of ensuring at least 50% of 20 oz. medium fountain beverages are 100 calories or less and 20 grams of sugar or less.

    • We’re working with partners and suppliers to identify effective approaches to reducing antibiotics in our U.S. and Canada beef supply chain by 25% by 2025.

      • We joined the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture through Yum! Brands, and we support third-party research studies to explore opportunities and solutions in the beef supply chain.

    • We’re an active participant in the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, a network of beef experts that work to ensure continuous improvement in the sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain.

We use our scale to make a positive global impact on the planet.

  • Reducing packaging waste

    • We’ve been testing a recyclable and compostable packaging suite in San Francisco, which includes a narrower Quesadilla bag that no longer uses a plastic window. In 2022, we aim to expand that test to other markets.

    • We’re generating demand for otherwise unwanted recycled materials by incorporating more recycled content into packaging.

    • Since launching our TerraCycle program to collect used hot sauce packets, we’ve diverted over 10,000 packets from landfills. Recycle yours here!

  • Enacting small shifts for large changes.

    • A portion of Taco Bell restaurants currently repurpose used cooking oil into renewable diesel or renewable polymers, and we’re looking to expand those efforts.

    • Taco Bell will play an important role in Yum! Brands’ pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050 across restaurants and supply chains.

About Taco Bell Corp.

For more than 61 years, Bell has brought innovative, craveable Mexican-inspired food to the masses, and was recently recognized as one of TIME’s Most Influential Companies, one of Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies and Nation’s Restaurant News’ Brand Icon. For more information about Taco Bell, visit our website at www.TacoBell.com, our Newsroom at www.TacoBell.com/newsroom, or check out www.TacoBell.com/popular-links. You can also stay up to date on all things Taco Bell by following us on LinkedIn, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, Facebook and by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

*Positions are available at both corporate and franchised Taco Bell locations. Those applying for a position with a franchisee or licensee of Taco Bell are not applying to work at Taco Bell Corp. or any of its affiliates. Franchisees and licensees are independent business owners and employers who are responsible for their own employment practices. Taco Bell Corp. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

**Taco Bell’s vegetarian menu items are certified by the American Vegetarian Association and are lacto-ovo, allowing consumption of dairy and eggs but not animal byproducts. We may use the same frying oil to prepare menu items that could contain meat. Vegetarian and meat ingredients are handled in common, and cross contact may occur, which may not be acceptable to certain types of vegetarian diets. Neither Taco Bell®, our employees, our franchisees nor the AVA assume any responsibility for such cross contact.