CHIEF EXECUTIVE, TACO BELL CORP.
DAY JOB: Head of OC’s largest restaurant operator with systemwide sales of $11.7 billion and a local workforce of 4,000. Chain counts 7,000 restaurants in OC alone and is part of fast-food conglomerate Yum Brands Inc.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Ran free Doritos Locos Tacos giveaways for the public that was one-part charity, one-part major marketing blitz during the stay-at-home orders. Extra food went to food banks and $1 million donation was sent to No Kid Hungry. Food trucks were deployed to service essential workers. Taco Bell Foundation said that it was awarding $3 million in Live Más Scholarships to its workers and fans of the brand, and also said it would provide $8 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations, “empowering youth across the country, during a time when access to educational resources is more essential than ever.” Company said it aims to hire about 30,000 workers, in a move responding to the new guidelines and safety measures restaurants must adhere to. Hires will fill new and existing positions at Taco Bell restaurants, including drive-thru, curbside pick-up and mobile orders and ensuring restaurants remain properly sanitized.
NOTABLE: Rolled out safety efforts that ensured food safety, including sealed food orders given to drive-thru customers via a tray. Began dabbling with make-your-own meal kits, following other restaurant operators, with the launch of taco bar kits. Said operator will be prepared for changes in operations at U.S. locations as restaurants open doors again for in-person dining, thanks to brand’s experiences with customers in China, where restaurants have reopened under social distance protocols.
QUOTABLE: “There’s a distinct group of brave people—from healthcare workers, to teachers, to grocery store employees— who are making sure the world keeps running, and we need to make sure we all do our part to take care of them,” King said in late March when Taco Bell’s food truck fleet was converted to serve essential workers.
FAST FACTS: Joined Taco Bell in July 2019, succeeding Greg Creed as CEO. Previously clocked time at TaylorMade and Adidas. Optimistic about reopening; told Forbes in April that “our insights group tells us customers want it to be safe to buy their food and [they want] value. The top word to describe Taco Bell is ‘value.’”