Talk of Tacala



When Taco Bell classifies a restaurant as a Signature Premier Restaurant that means it has a special characteristic by which it can be identified and in this case the characteristic is EXCELLENCE.  We are proud and honored that 33 Tacala restaurants have been identified as SIGNATURE PREMIER RESTAURANTS. These restaurants have excelled at delivering best-in-class service, winning culture, and people development ON TOP of serving delicious food from open to close. Even more elite are the 20 Tacala Signature Premier Restaurants and two Tacala Area Coaches that were named by Taco Bell as 2023 GOLDEN BELLS winners which is the Best of the Best! How and why these 33 restaurants achieve this standard can help everyone on the march to the 2024 Signature Premier and Golden Bell restaurants.

Mason Masingo, Tacala Area Coach in Kentucky, is a great source of information and inspiration on this subject since six of the restaurants in his Area, 85% of his restaurants, are Signature Premier Restaurants of which FIVE are also Golden Bell Restaurants – aloha Mason. We asked Mason what winning Golden Bell meant to him and his team. When Mason started as a Restaurant Leader, he moved around to different stores and helped set them up for success (or turn them around) which made the prospect of winning this distinguished recognition remote. It all came together when Mason was promoted to Area Coach, and was able to combine all he had learned as a RL and help make his stores shine.

The Golden Bell Award puts an emphasis on cultivating a strong work culture. Mason believes positive motivation and culture are the

backbone of his leadership skills. “I believe in positive reinforcement and do all I can at every opportunity to reward and praise my teams. You have to think big and small for all varieties of motivation. It could be anything from candy bars and snacks, to a fun day at the arcade, bowling, or taking them all out for a round of Top Golf. Some people have never got to experience different activities or places in life until they did so with us as a Taco Bell group. By doing this, you have enriched their lives and built bonds with them that make you stronger as people and coworkers. I believe a missed opportunity for praise and positive feedback is one of the worst things to happen.”

Mason also focuses on helping his team achieve personal and career growth which is his favorite part of the job. “Watching someone grow and flourish in their career. Taking someone who has never considered having a great career and watching them become a leader and develop their own teams gives me such a feeling of pride and accomplishment. I’ve seen many people who are the downtrodden and defeated become successful and strong leaders. They then pass on that success to others as the tree of leadership and growth continues to thrive. Being told you’re the best boss ever is nice, but watching someone you helped develop be told the same thing by one of their employees, is even more amazing.”

Mason and his team work tirelessly to do great because it is what they are proud of and passionate about.” This award says to Mason and his team that they are focused on doing the right things and setting a standard that they should be proud of.

Out of the 33 Signature Premiere Restaurants at Tacala, Area Coaches, Jose Jaime and Debra McWilliams, each have four stores represented.

When asked what makes these restaurants stand out Jose said it was their culture. He makes creating a fun and inviting culture a priority. “The culture and the passion the entire team has makes us stand out. What I see every time I visit this restaurant is just how happy and friendly the teams are. Just by watching the team working together from the outside, you can tell they love working here, and also, they have fun. Anyone who walks in notices how fun and lovely these teams are.”

Debra said her stores were chosen because they work hard to build customer relations. Whether by having extended hours to meet the community’s needs or just being a welcoming place for guests to eat. In addition, she knows that it is important that it is a great place to work for her teams so she prioritizes creating a positive work culture. Deborah accomplishes this by intentionally investing in her team. “I strive to make sure all employees, whether they work for 1 hour, 1 day, or 10 years, know more and become a better and more well-rounded person that can succeed in whatever career path they decide to choose.”

When asked what this award means to themselves and their teams Jose said “This award means the world, being called the Best of the Best. is the highest achievement of them all, this is everything for a leader. I am so happy for my teams because they have passion and have worked so hard to enjoy this award. I am the happiest person, to see my team achieve this award.”


Debra said “It means more to my team knowing they were able to push through the rough days and the times of being short-staffed to serve excellence and delicious food that our customers have recognized. It also shows that no matter where or what store, with the proper dedication and coaching any store can be a signature store.”

Congratulations to all Tacala Signature Premier Restaurants and Golden Bell Restaurants! We are so proud of our field teams for working hard and being recognized as the top 4% of Taco Bells. We cannot wait to see this success carry on in 2024.