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#1 on the Franchise 500: Taco Bell Makes Winning Look Fun!

Article via Entrepreneur


"On a hot August Saturday in 2019, less than a week into his new job as CEO of Taco Bell Corporation, Mark King started driving east from his office in Irvine, Calif. He was headed not for the border but for “The Bell” — the brand’s four-day takeover of the V Palm Springs, a chic hotel about an hour away. All 70 rooms had sold out within minutes, booked by superfans dreaming of floating on pool rafts shaped like hot-sauce packets while sipping spiked Mountain Dew Baja Blast slushies in plush Taco Bell robes.


As King cruised down Highway 10, he still wasn’t sure what to expect from the 57-year-old brand he’d just signed up to run. He understood the power of corporate excitement — he’d turned TaylorMade into the world’s most profitable golf company and tripled sales as president of Adidas North America. But he’d never worked in fast food or franchising, and he didn’t yet have a handle on what made Taco Bell tick. His 25-year-old daughter, a marketing professional, told him Taco Bell was one of the truly fun brands. Its culture was legendary and its connection with customers unrivaled. But King didn’t fully appreciate what she meant — not until he arrived at The Bell, anyway. By the time his head hit the Fire Sauce packet pillow, he had a Taco Bell logo shaved into the side of his trim gray haircut.

“I definitely got taken by the moment of Taco Bell,” King says, laughing. It wasn’t the look he imagined for his first-ever presentation the following week to the board of directors of parent company Yum! Brands. But the buzzed-in logo went over great with colleagues. “ From then on, I’ve loved this brand,” he says."


Read the full article by Maggie Ginsberg here.

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