Taco Bell Tries To Help Employees Feel Seen With Family-Focused Uniforms

Taco Bell has long been a "for the people" brand, championing low-key fun and playful food offerings. It recently took this idea to an even greater level with its campaign to make the phrase "Taco Tuesday" public domain. Now, Taco Bell is shifting the spotlight to its employees — and it's relaying a message about the value of family with a slick new apparel duo.

The collection was designed by Brooklyn-based artist Ricardo Gonzalez, who works professionally under the moniker It's A Living. Gonzalez has brought his street-inspired style to such iconic brands as Nike, Google, Pepsi, Facebook, and more. The line of employee-exclusive apparel includes a shirt and a snapback hat emblazoned with the phrase "family is everything," and Taco Bell is sending out 260,000 packages to employees across the U.S.

Kelly McCulloch, Taco Bell's global chief people and transformation officer, calls the line a welcome departure from the oppressive corporate uniforms long associated with a fast food job. (Adiós, boxy black polos.) "This is a hey, my employer, whether that's us at corporate or franchisees, they see me," McCulloch tells QSR. "They know what's important to me. They know what I think is cool. They know what I value. And they're trying to help me express that."

Taco bout crew appreciation

The inspiration behind the "family is everything" motif is that Taco Bell wants to serve as a community for its team members. The food service industry has a famously high turnover rate (144% in 2021), but a personalized experience might be what sets T-Bell apart from competitors. Employment platform Indeed ranks Taco Bell 3.3 out of 5 stars for company culture, featuring real employee reviews mentioning "good people" as one of the highlights. As McCullough tells QSR, "Over the past couple of years, we have had a lot more 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."

It looks like the message of appreciation has already begun to be felt. It's a Living made an Instagram post announcing the collab, and fans have taken to the comments section to sound off their excitement: "Goin to apply for Taco Bell just for the swag," "Can't wait to match my eyeshadow with it," and "I get to rock these at work, thanks bro."

According to McCulloch, this latest collab with Gonzalez marks the second installation of what is to become an ongoing annual project in which Taco Bell will work to honor its crew. Last year, the company partnered with Los Angeles streetwear brand "Born and Raised" for a line of team member apparel to commemorate T-Bell's 60th anniversary.