Taco Bell Sign - © Taco Bell

‘Employee Shaming’ Latest QSR Management Tool

A manager at an Ohio Taco Bell got so fed up with his (or her) employees coming in late that he (or she) locked the main dining room door until they showed up. And posted a note to customers suggesting that late-comers would be fired for their transgression…

Taco Bell Closed Sign - © Paula Duhon Boss

Customer Paula Duhon Boss took the picture, left, of the note the manager of the Fairlawn, OH, Taco Bell posted on the Quick Service Resto’s main dining room door this past Sunday morning. And posted it to her Facebook page. She got a variety of responses from her followers including:

Bekah Pollock: I wouldn’t say that’s the best way to address this situation… but ok 😂

Adam Boss: That’s today’s generation, lazy as @uck…!

Debbie Sue Grose: Sign of the times sad

Stacey Shew: Entitled employees who don’t think they have to work.

And the media quickly picked it up.

Boss’s comment

Boss told Fox News that she initially found the sign funny, but later felt, “management had no right to say that about their staff to the public.” But she also said that, at this particular location, “bad service is an understatement.”

The official response

Taco Bell corporate sided with Pollock, issuing the following statement when the media came calling for comment:

“The posting of this sign should not have happened, and the team was immediately re-trained on proper protocol. We can confirm that the dining room reopened within an hour, and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience.”

My take

I may just be old fashioned, but I side unequivocally with the majority of responders to Boss’s Facebook post. I’ve had the frustrating, souring experience of having to race around my own company’s offices trying to mitigate the consequences when young, entitled, irresponsible employees didn’t show up. And the worst part was, they didn’t even call in fake-sick, or give some other notice that they wouldn’t be attending.

Of course, Taco Bell corporate has its image to think about, not only with customers but with employees. So they hastily apologised for the incident, claimed that the manager(s) involved had been ‘retrained on proper protocol’ (disciplined), and made sure the resto was open again with just an hour or so of service time lost. Reading between the lines, the TB Brass also seems to want current and future employees to think the chain is a good place to work, not some kind of slave-ship environment.

Fair enough.

But I come from a time and place where people were glad to have any job they could get and didn’t abuse their positions. I still believe that any employee – no matter how lowly – has a responsibility to show up for work as agreed with the boss, period. And if they fail to appear a second time, after receiving a warning, they should be fired. This may be the Age of Entitlement, but that doesn’t make it okay for anybody to shirk their responsibilities, even if their duties are as modest as sweeping the floor or flipping Burgers.

~ Maggie J.