Taco Bell is rethinking hiring and retention amid a push to reach 9,000 locations globally by 2022.
Over the next six years, the Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service chain expects to add 100,000 new jobs. An estimated 40,000 people are currently employed at company restaurants, and another 170,000 employees work at franchised locations.
“Our planned growth over the next six years is going to help us reach $15 billion in global system sales by 2022. With that comes the need to attract and retain top talent so that we’re continuing to deliver the best customer experience possible,” Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Taco Bell launched a “Start with Us, Stay with Us” platform designed to encourage employees to leverage the company’s career building and educational programs.
For example, the Graduate For Más program rewards and supports younger workers who are completing high school. The program also helps those who don’t finish high school to prepare for the general equivalency test.
Taco Bell has committed to hiring 1.5 million workers between 16 and 24 years old as part of the 100,000 Opportunities movement, a coalition begun by Starbucks in 2015 to hire 100,000 young people nationwide by 2018.
Taco Bell said 600,000 workers have made the commitment to graduate high school, and more than 200 are in the GED certificate program, with 57 already graduated with their GED.
At the college level, Taco Bell is working with Excelsior College to offer flexible online degree options at a discount to employees and their immediate family.
About 194 team members are enrolled in the Excelsior program, and three have graduated so far, the company said.
The company also offers tuition assistance of up to $5,250 per employee each year for shift leads and above, including those at headquarters.
In the past year, Taco Bell has promoted more than 2,000 company-operated restaurant employees to management roles, the company said.
In addition, Taco Bell’s Live Más Scholarship program rewards dreamers, innovators and creators who don’t fit into traditional academic or athletic scholarship programs. This year, 50 restaurant workers were awarded $275,000 in Live Más scholarship money.
Frank Tucker, Taco Bell chief people officer, said in a statement that working at Taco Bell is a first job for many.
“Whether they want to start with us for a year or stay with us for life, we feel it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re offering benefits and programs that create innovators and leaders for our communities inside and out of our restaurants,” Tucker said.
Correction: Nov. 9, 2016 Due to incorrect information from Taco Bell, an earlier version of this story mischaracterized the chain’s planned growth. The chain plans to reach 9,000 units globally by 2022.