Talk of Tacala


Jordan McGuffee received her Top 10% North Star Award

Who likes to be recognized for their contributions? EVERYONE. This is clearly demonstrated by the attendance of acclaimed actors at the Academy Awards, accomplished musicians at the Grammy’s, and the prestige of winning the Nobel Prize in categories from Chemistry to Physics. While many of us are self-driven to achieve their goals that does not preclude us from being motivated by recognition.

Billi Anderson received Joey Pierson Heart Award

At Tacala we make RECOGNITION a core value by taking the time to recognize the big and small achievements of our teams as well as individuals. Our field teams are always thinking of fun ways to celebrate an employee’s hard work, from candy to gift cards to cakes; we have seen it all. We know Tacala loves recognition because it makes both the one who delivers as well as the recipient feel “good”, but let’s see what the experts have to say about why recognition is critical to a team’s success.

A “Great Place to Work,” conducted a survey of 700,000 different employees and asked about their experiences in the workplace. The results concluded that when employees felt like their hard work is noticed, they are 2.2 times as likely to go above and beyond their regular job description. By telling your employees “Thank you” and noticing their extra effort, it shows them that they are a valuable resource to the team. When asking 700,000 people what motivates them to work hard the highest leading result was recognition. The same report found that employee appreciation is linked to higher job satisfaction. The employees who felt appreciated described their job as a positive place to work and wanted to stay with the company. On the other hand, employees who did not feel like their work was recognized described their work environment in a negative way.

Michael Byrd received Market Coach of the year from David Morrison

Taco Bell/YUM! was an early adopter of a Recognition-Based Culture, a culture of appreciation and motivation through various recognition programs including rewards and incentives. These initiatives boost employee morale, inspire continued excellence, and contribute to a positive work atmosphere. They also deliver on the first of Taco Bell’s Core Values: BE PEOPLE FIRST as well as the “G” for GRATEFUL in the HUNGRY principles. “We say thank you and mean it. We are passionate about appreciating what makes each of us unique to each other and our customers.”

Jessie Graham received Region Vice President of the Year from David Morrison

About four weeks ago, Tacala Field Leaders gathered for the 2024 North Star Leadership Conference, Tacala’s Academy Awards ceremony. This year we were able to feature and reward almost 100 field leaders – listed below – for excelling in operations metrics like speed of service and customer satisfaction, as well as leaders who cultivate a positive workplace culture and go above and beyond expectations. The atmosphere was buzzing with positive energy for everyone who participated. Are you creating that same environment in your restaurants, area, market, region, or department? If yes, please let us know about it so we can share it on our socials. If not, why don’t you ask your teams if recognition is motivating and how they like to be recognized?  We guarantee that it is a game changer!











TOP 11-20%

Juan Lopez – Saunders

Daisy Baez – Bryan High

Rosa Rodriguez – Frazier

Melissa Rodriguez – Elgin

Malisha Smith – Hood Road

Jeffrey Austin – Carl Cannon

Bryan Calhoun – Zelda Road

Blake Chaney – Boaz

Landon Combs – North Cullman

Crystal Delbridge – Prattville

Theresa Fields – Montclair

Allison Garrison – Enterprise

Christian Harris – Jackson

Zaria Johnson – Andalusia

Dante Patrick – Florence

Vincentia Ross – Talladega

Briana Woodard – Columbiana

Tynesha Wyckoff – Tallassee

Debra McWilliams – Area Coach

Lashay Barnett – N. Roan

Tiera Bollinger – Jacksboro

Ashley Clegg – Paul Huff

Elena Collins – West Athens

D’Mario Craig – Shallowford

Mattie Cross – Americus

James Crosslin – Williamsburg

Bobby Green – Keith Street

Victoria Johnson – Lakesite

Maria Lucas – Moultrie

Brandy Mosko – South Corbin

Melissa Ownbey – North Lee Highway

Kristy Russell – Cumberland

Desiree Smith – Pounding Mill

Brian Speight – Strawberry Plains

Christopher Wells – Pigeon Forge

Thomas Williams – Illinois Avenue

Michael Zimmerman – Farragut

Destiney Early – Area Coach

Wendy Graham – Area Coach

Tina Sargent – Area Coach

Hal Osborne – Market Coach


TOP 10%

Sandra Bazan – Boonville

Mark Benavides – San Bernardo

Laura Duron – Giddings

Hector Hernandez – Monarch

Christina Lima – La Grange

Charity Nowlin – Downtown Bryan

Crystal Ramirez – Uvalde

Antonia Arellano – Area Coach

Jose Jaime – Area Coach

Stormy Barnes – Russellville

Tristian Blair – Alabaster

Britnay Boyett – Winfield

Erik Brown – Jacksonville

Tina Desjarlais – Alexander City

Wilson Dixon – Helena

Jose Gonzales – Cloverdale

Mary Hargrove – Springville

Aretha Hendrick – East Chase

Jason Kelley – Rogersville, Al

Anielle Langston – Hoover

Tanekqua Weaver – Roanoke

Zac Weldon – Area Coach

Isabella Castillo – Lookout Valley

Robert Chadwick – Middlesboro

Taylor Dean – Walnut Avenue

Nicole Drake – Highway 153

Cassandra England – Harlan

Farrah Gore – Lake Park

Bethany Hatfield – North Clinton

Christopher Hinkle – Daniel Boone

Brandy Hooper – Douglas

Kathy Jackson – Oneida

Kim Layman – Dolly Parton

Tabatha McFadden – London

Jordan McGuffee – Adel

John Monday – Kodak

Scott Rinehart – Kodak

Phillip Stover – Gate City

Calandria Floyd – Area Coach

Mason Masingo – Area Coach

Michael Byrd – Market Coach

Jessie Graham – RVP



Building a Better Tacala – Paul Cupp – Grassy Creek

The Open-Door Award – Tiera Bollinger – Jacksboro

Culture Bearer – Ryan Hurst – Russellville

Beat Year-Ago Sales – Kristin James – Bastrop

Piggy Bank Award – Jordan McGuffee – Adel

Heart Award – Billi Anderson – Limestone


North Star of the Year

West Region: Rolly Tarzi – Pflugerville

East Region: Cassandra England – Harlan

Central Region: Tina Desjarlais – Sylacauga

Tacala Company: Brandy Hooper – Douglas

Area Coach of the Year – Mason Masingo

Market Coach of the Year – Michael Byrd

Region Vice President of the Year – Jessie Graham








Hastwell, Claire. “Creating a Culture of Recognition.” Great Place To Work, 2 Mar. 2023,