Can uniforms almost serve as a word-of-mouth tool with recruiting as well? Say somebody sees a peer wearing it, etc.
It’s funny, you can see that a lot of times in comments when people post about working at Taco bell. The uniform gets mentioned. ‘The uniform is cool. I like it. I don’t mind wearing the uniform.’ It definitely plays into it. We’ve got a lot of things going on to help this, but we have seen our application flow go up pretty significantly in the first half of the year. And it’s not just the uniform, it’s a whole bunch of stuff combined together. But it definitely plays a part.
Elaborate on that a bit, if you could. How is that coming together?
We can’t have a leaky bucket. You can go out and you can do all of your employment marketing and drive your applicant flow up, and we certainly do that, but once you get them, what are you going to do to continue to develop them, grow them, show them that you see them and you accept them? We have tons of programs that help us with that. We’ve also seen our retention numbers go up, and the uniform is just a piece of it. It’s one more thing that we’re doing as we continue to try to put our team members first and make sure that we walk that talk; that we don’t just say we’re people first. We really are, and we really do mean it.
It's always felt like Taco Bell’s employment initiatives come back to the overall lifestyle brand nature of the chain. Has that been an evolving conversation—how to take the marketing of Taco Bell’s positioning and bring it to the front lines?
This is my love language, Danny. I love the partnership that my team has with our marketing team, because of what you just said. The consumer and the team member are one and the same. They’re stakeholder 1A and 1B and they can flip-flop constantly. Over the past couple of years, we have had a lot more conversations—ongoing, continuous conversations—about how do we create the kind of culture we want to create in our restaurants. To create the kind of environments where we’re truly listening to our employees, our team members, and how do we build out the capabilities of our franchisees to do the same. A couple of weeks ago, at one of our big franchise meetings, we talked about how everyone has a roadmap for how they’re going to attract talent. What’s our plan going to be? In our restaurants, we also have a plan for the environment and the culture that we want to create. You have to be very intentional about it and you have to stay in tune with what’s going in the world and with culture. It’s why it makes sense for us to partner with “It’s a Living”—it’s on-culture. And this is what our team members are into.