Brandable: Taco Bell Focuses On Going Green


If there’s a brand that’s really made a name for itself in the past 10 years, it’s Taco Bell. The company has launched hyper-creative, interactive marketing efforts, such as opening The Bell—a limited-time, pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, Florida—and adding a wedding chapel onto its Las Vegas Taco Bell Cantina restaurant, plus a complete wedding “package” of Taco Bell products and promo. In these ways, Taco Bell has proven its continuous ability to reinvent the wheel by combining food that customers love with experiences they’ll treasure, remember and talk about. This year, the company is expanding its focus with plans aimed at employee satisfaction and a greener footprint. 

At the start of 2020, Taco Bell began a five-year plan to make all consumer-facing packaging reusable, compostable and recyclable at its worldwide locations by 2025. To do so, the company placed recycling and/or composting bins in its restaurants, where space permitted, and stopped using packaging that contained phthalates, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFAS) and Bisphenol A (BPA), chemicals commonly used in plastics that can harm both humans and the environment. For national employees, a minimum standard of 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year was enforced, and a $100,000 annual salary is being “tested” this year for general managers of company-owned restaurants in select locations.

Taco Bell also introduced “Makers,” a program intended for restaurant employees who are interested in gaining leadership experience, but don’t necessarily wish to take on a manager role. Further, the Taco Bell Foundation—the company’s philanthropic arm—is donating $6 million this year to Live Más Scholarships to help employees and consumers pursue their higher education goals. This additional donation furthers Taco Bell along on its track to have donated $21 million in scholarships by next year. 

And in an effort to continue serving guests with special dietary needs, the company will continue adding to its vegetarian menu, which was introduced in 2019. The menu, which contains items such as the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, Veggie Power Menu Bowl, 7-Layer Burrito and Spicy Tostada, only features foods that have been approved by the American Vegetarian Association. The company also has an app, where customers can order food on the fly, that is incredibly customizable, with “Make It Meatless” options allowing guests to substitute items like potatoes or beans for meat.

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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