The Real Reason Taco Bell Just Launched Its Own Business School

Taco Bell is an iconic fast-food chain that started off with humble beginnings and now has locations across the globe. If you're craving inexpensive, Mexican-style food, Taco Bell may be your go-to fast-food joint to satisfy your cravings for chalupas, quesadillas, nachos, burritos, or — you got it — tacos. 

But what you may not suspect is this fast-food empire now has its very own business school. But wait, what do a fast-food restaurant and business school have to do with each other? A fast-food chain and a school may seem counterintuitive, but it's not the first time this has happened. In-N-Out has its own university, for example, that was created to train employees and managers. 

Now, Taco Bell's parent company, Yum! Brands, has created the Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence, which partnered with the University of Louisville in 2021. The Taco Bell Business School's goal is to teach future managers and potential franchisee owners the ins and outs of fast-food management and to increase diversity among Taco Bell franchisees, according to a press release.

Taco Bell wants to create more diversity among franchise owners

Taco Bell Business School is a six-week (read: intense) business boot camp focused on teaching restaurant managers and leaders everything they need to know about owning a franchise, according to a press release.

Being a franchise owner is a way to become an entrepreneur as well as to create a successful financial path. Kathleen Gosser, Ph.D., executive-in-residence in the University of Louisville College Of Business, said in a May 2021 statement, "Franchising is one of the best paths to entrepreneurship, creating an opportunity to build generational wealth." But typically, franchise owners are men, and there isn't as much diversity as there could be, which Taco Bell is hoping to change. "Franchise ownership among underrepresented people of color and women is lower than their representation in the population," said Gosser in the statement. "Our goal is to uncover and reduce barriers to franchise ownership, starting with education."

Classes will range from finances to HR and marketing to entrepreneurial skills with accredited training. Scholarships are available, and Taco Bell employees who complete the program will be recognized. Taco Bell Business School begins February 2022.