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Taco Bell

Taco Bell is an American fast food chain known for its inventive, often whimsical, Mexican-inspired menu items. Along with KFC and Pizza Hut, Taco Bell is owned by Louisville, KY-based Yum! Brands and serves 42 million customers a week at nearly 7,000 restaurant locations worldwide. Founded in California in 1962, the brand has maintained a steady presence in the American consciousness, in part because of its popular advertising campaigns--like the iconic 1990s ads featuring a taco-hungry chihuahua and 2005's "Good to Go" slogan that accompanied the launch of the Crunchwrap Supreme. 

In the last decade, Taco Bell has honed its focus on the millennial market, doubling down on social media across its many platforms with its signature uber-conversational voice. The result has been not just an international fan base for the restaurant's ever-changing menu, but also avid fans of the Taco Bell lifestyle. The restaurant chain has tapped into technology to improve its service from order to pickup. Its mobile app--which has been downloaded 4.9 million times--makes it easy to place a custom meal order and pay before you arrive to skip the line. Some restaurant locations are testing touchscreen-ordering kiosks. 

For those who would rather eat at home, the purveyor of fast Mexican food has partnered with DoorDash to deliver orders placed to over 250 Taco Bell locations. The brand has also opened two Taco Bell Cantinas, a higher-brow extension that serves shared appetizers out of an open-concept kitchen. And it's taking its innovations overseas, too: The chain is looking to expand from about 280 international locations to 1,000 by 2020.

The company's competitive advantage in 2016:

A tech-savvy team and desire to be on the bleeding edge

The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:

Rolling out international Taco Bell locations--including in China, where it hasn't traditionally done well--while parent company Yum! Brands spins off Chinese arm

What to look out for:

The chain is looking to expand from about 280 international locations to 1,550 by 2023 and is adding delivery to more markets.

Top perks for employees:

Flexible schedules, discounted meals, paid sick time off, 401(k) matching, educational assistance program

Social media handles:

Twitter: @tacobell
Instagram: @tacobell

Diversity breakdown:

60% of associates are people of color
Women and POC were 65% of external management hires over 2015 and 71% of internal hires (promotions).