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8 Bizarre Rules Taco Bell Employees Have to Follow

A Taco Bell uniform is not complete without this one accessory.

Taco Bell has been serving up its decidedly American take on Mexican food since 1962, and today the chain boasts nearly 8,000 locations spread across more than 30 nations, according to Statista. How has the restaurant done so well over all those years? Very low-cost menu items definitely have something to do with it.

But another reason for Taco Bell's success is the chain's adaptability and innovation. Taco Bell has long been recognized as a brand willing to try new products, launch playful, clever marketing campaigns, and respond to customer feedback, according to Fast Company. Taco Bell's employees, however, don't always enjoy the benefits of such flexibility and playfulness in their workplace. In fact, workers there are compelled to follow quite a few bizarre rules. Plus, don't miss 7 Bizarre Rules McDonald's Employees Have to Follow.

Employees must weigh every item.

taco bell

According to a Taco Bell manager who shared behind-the-scenes insights with Thrillist, Taco Bell food workers (who are called "Food Champions," by the way) are required to weigh every menu item, thus ensuring uniformity of product. If a given item is off by more than 0.3 ounces (say a soft taco that should weigh 1.6 ounces weighs 1.3, for example), it must be discarded and a new one supplied in its place.

Employees cannot leave during lunch breaks if they're eating Taco Bell food

taco taco bell

A worker on a break from a shift at Taco Bell is free to leave the premises for the duration of his or her time off. That is, provided the employee has not purchased some Taco Bell food at a discounted price. According to Inc., if a worker buys himself or herself discounted food, the person must stay on the property to eat it despite being on a break.

Workers not on the clock are not welcome at Taco Bell

TB from afar

Often employees feel so comfortable at work and so enjoy the company of their coworkers they will hang out at the workplace even when not on the clock. But according to a Taco Bell Handbook, this is not OK for Taco Bell staff. When off the clock, Taco Bell employees are expected to be off the premises.

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Employees may have to keep stores open longer than posted hours

taco bell

If a Taco Bell is reeling in the cash shortly before closing time, employees are often compelled to keep the restaurant open later than the posted closing time, not to mention the planned end of their shift, according to a store manager who shared via Reddit. In his experience, if a store made just $75 in the hour before a planned closing time, its workers then had to keep it open for another half hour.

Many locations have strict sauce packet rules

taco bell sauces
u/jayellkay84 / Reddit

While the rules governing those beloved Taco Bell sauce packets can vary from franchise to franchise, in general, the rule is one sauce packet (and one napkin) per each menu item a customer orders, according to a Reddit thread. The good news is that while Taco Bell employees are limited in their initial sauce dispensing, they're allowed to hand over more for free if a customer asks.

Employees of the Support Center may not bring anything but Taco Bell to work

taco bell hat

It would make sense were workers discouraged from bringing a competitor's food to work at a restaurant location where customers could see it, but the Taco Bell Support Center? It seems downright odd that workers at this private location are banned from bringing in any restaurant's food save for Taco Bell, but according to a post in a Reddit thread, that's the fact. The poster went on to say: "The best part was that the trash cans in the parking structure were always filled with competitor's food bags after lunch."

Foods must be prepared in a precise order

TB employee working

When a worker is making a Taco Bell menu item, it's not good enough to use all the right ingredients, according to Thrillist—the employee must build the menu item in a precise order. That might mean beef, then cheese, then lettuce, as opposed to cheese, then beef, then lettuce, and so on. The rule ensures the foods always look the same from day to day and store to store.

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Employees must wear a Taco Bell belt

taco bell belt
u/beesarefuckingdying / Reddit

A dress code or uniform is hardly unusual at chain restaurants—indeed it would be stranger to see a fast-food restaurant without some form of dress code than one with very strict rules. But a branded belt? That came as a surprise, but it's right there in the employee handbook, workers must wear a Taco Bell belt while on the clock at the restaurant. The good news is that the belt, and the rest of the uniform, will be provided.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven