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Their Big Challenge

At Taco Bell, failure is not an option. To drive change and consistent results across the enterprise, Taco Bell leaders knew big change had to happen – from the operating system and processes to management capabilities and culture. The company sought to redefine its culture and focus on driving consistency – starting with managers and filtering throughout the organization. In order to accomplish its lofty goals, Taco Bell first needed to ensure its employees knew and felt that they were valued and part of the big picture.

Major Changes, Taken One Bite at a Time

With the belief that truth is the core of any sustainable change, Taco Bell first had to honestly assess its current reality, which focused on a “task approach” versus executing against a unified strategy. Gleaning insights from interviews with franchisees and people at all levels, Taco Bell needed to:

  • Clarify, simplify, and integrate operations at the corporate level
  • Do the above before sharing new processes with the field
  • Move from task management to coaching
  • Focus on Regional General Managers (RGMs) as leaders
  • Change the system to enable RGMs to be effective coach-players
  • Establish new ground rules and behaviors for senior leaders – and ultimately the entire organization

“We’ve accomplished significant positive change for our brand and empowered thousands of restaurant and field leaders across the country to change for the better as well.”

Getting There

Through a series of activities in partnership with Root, Taco Bell’s leadership and franchisees redefined and unified the corporate culture.

  1. There were candid conversations with the franchise community to create a single integrated view – One System – to move the business forward.
  2. A Taco Bell Learning Map® was created to show everyone the Big Picture of the company’s current state and desired future state.
  3. Debuted the Learning Map at a One System conference of company and franchise field leaders.
  4. The team developed a special training for restaurants, Delivering the Taco Bell Promise, to detail the roles and responsibilities for Team Members, Managers in Charge, RGMs, and Above Restaurant Leaders (ARLs), so restaurant teams could fully understand and act on the new roles to support the strategy.
  5. Created interactive dialogue exercises, card activities, and games to help the ARLs hone their Servant Leadership and Coaching skills.
  6. Root and Taco Bell developed a visual and video session, supported by print materials, focused on Coaching with Accountability to detail roles, activities, and templates to achieve the new desired future state.


Taco Bell continues to be the best-performing Yum! Brand.

Taco Bell saw much improvement by looking at its business as a system.

Taco Bell leadership also used engagement in the process and capability as cornerstones to shift culture and further boost performance.

In responses from the field, it was clear that leadership really understood what it was like to be an RGM and an ARL.

Everyone was excited about the Bold Future and ready to do their part to make it happen.

ARLs felt empowered to change how they operated to drive these goals.

Field leaders began to engage their teams using the current and future state visuals.

RGMs were also excited about their role in the strategy and were ready to sign up for the changes.

More deeply rooted thinking



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