Taco Bell is on a hiring spree for the summer.
The Irvine, Calif.-based brand said it plans to hire at least 30,000 new employees to fill standard positions, as well as new safety-focused roles created amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“Since COVID-19 became a reality, we have continued our commitment to putting our people first,” Kelly McCulloch, Taco Bell's chief people officer, said in a statement. “We work closely with our franchisees to ensure that we're meeting the needs of our restaurant teams. Their safety and wellbeing remain our first priority. With this new hiring wave, we look forward to expanding our Taco Bell family and providing great, safe jobs to even more people.”
Some of the new positions are aimed at shoring up staff to help with the growing demands of off-premise operations, as well as new dedicated cleaning role.
“This team member is responsible for cleaning high-traffic touchpoints for customers throughout their experience. Team members in this role will be trained to signal to the customer that we are preparing their order properly and safely,” Taco Bell told Nation's Restaurant News.
Given the increased demand for contactless ordering, Taco Bell is also focusing its efforts on new roles that enhance speed and efficiency from various off-premise ordering channels.
“The newly-created positions are intended to keep the drive-thru running smoothly, to manage delivery, curbside pickup and mobile app orders, and to maintain industry-leading sanitation and cleanliness practices,” the company said in a statement released Thursday.
Workplace safety has been a top concern among frontline and essential workers. Some quick-service employees have been holding protests to express their concern. That’s forced brands like McDonald’s to defend their position by constantly reminding consumers about their safety playbook for keeping customers and employees safe.
McCulloch assured job candidates that they will be safe at Taco Bell, which like many other chains, is providing workers PPE essentials recommended by federal health officials. In early April, the brand expanded its COVID-19 safety protections to include employee temperature checks, using a tray to pass sealed food to customers in cars, adding contactless credit card payment at the drive-thru and providing employees masks.
In recent weeks, the company has been testing curbside pickup to increase consumer demand for contactless order and pickup.
“During these tough times, we want job-seekers to know that we're hiring and we're safe,” said McCulloch. “Our ‘Start With Us, Stay With Us’ mantra rings true even during this unprecedented time. Whether you've worked with us before, find yourself looking for a new opportunity or are looking for your first job, we're here for you and can provide great career opportunities – even if it's just to help get you back on your feet.”
Taco Bell is a division of Yum Brands. The coronavirus pandemic has forced each division of the company to re-evaluate and tweak operations in a world where restaurants are only allowed to serve guests through off-premise channels. While the company's brands are built for drive-thru service, the pandemic has still impacted Taco Bell sales.
In its latest earnings report, Yum Brands said same-store sales at Taco Bell dropped 30% on average in the second half of March and into April. The declines were primarily driven by a drop in late-night and breakfast sales. In late March, some Taco Bell restaurants temporarily stopped serving breakfast.
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Update: This story has been edited with more details from Taco Bell.