How Taco Bell accelerated progress on digital and mobile initiatives

By Alicia Kelso, Contributing Writer

When Taco Bell tried to deliver new digital and in-store technologies for its customers and team members, the quick-service restaurant chain felt like it wasn’t able to move fast enough. With employees working on these new initiatives scattered across different departments, progress bogged down and there wasn’t enough cohesiveness.

So in July, the chain created a new, 20-person team focused on Digital Innovation and On Demand. It brings together employees with backgrounds in marketing, IT, operations, communications, and finance. The team, which sometimes calls itself Taco Beta, is housed in the QSR giant’s corporate headquarters in Irvine, California. Taco Bell has about 6,000 locations around the United States; it is a division of $13 billion restaurant operator Yum! Brands.

Lawrence Kim, director of the new team, joined Taco Bell from Samsung Electronics and, prior, Procter and Gamble. Innovation Leader spoke recently with Kim about the Digital Innovation and On Demand team’s accomplishments so far; how it tests (and sometimes kills) new ideas; and what its objectives are moving forward.

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