New Year, Same Me
January 2022. Feels a bit surreal to write out, huh? At the start of another year, it’s easy to look back on all of our previous resolutions left, well, unresolved.
But I’ve come to realize that every year, it’s always the same me. It’s always going to be the same me, just with growing, evolving perspectives. Sometimes better, sometimes different, but always me. And there’s nothing to regret about that.
As a CEO, of course I’m working with my teams to set bold, strategic ambitions for our company. As for me though, I’m leaving behind resolutions this year. They carry too much weight and don’t leave much room for Restless Creativity.
So what am I doing instead? I present to you: my 2022 bucket list.
- Spend time with more restaurant teams: Our team members truly are why the brand exists today. They’re Live Más Scholars, leaders, innovators, parents, artists (like our new Chief Impact Officer, Lil Nas X) and simply the best brand ambassadors around. I can’t wait to hear more of their stories and learn a thing or two from them about leadership (and perfecting the burrito fold).
- Get out into my local community: It’s important to stay true to our roots. I’m excited to lend a helping hand and give back to our beloved neighbors.
- Eat more Soft Taco Supremes — with sour cream and Verde Sauce: What can I say? It’s my favorite menu item. Am I allowed to ask for Verde Sauce? Probably not, but this is a bucket list, so a man can dream!
- Reconnect meaningfully: We’ve all been reminded that every second is precious. I’m well aware that every meeting, every chat, is valuable time, so I want my connections to be intentional and mindful.
- Celebrate the big 6–0: No, not for me. For Taco Bell. I’ll be honoring our history across six decades, our accomplishments, and the bright future ahead all year long.
- Get in the Test Kitchen: I like to leave this up to our food innovation experts, but it’s about time I put my skills to the test. Maybe you’ll even see a Mark King menu item in 2022.
- Introduce more people to franchising: The world of franchising may seem confusing, but it’s bountiful. I want to increase education and access around how franchising really works.
- Continue educating myself, addressing racial inequality and driving change: The one mandatory on my list. I’m thrilled to work in lockstep with our new hire KT Thornton as Taco Bell’s first-ever Chief Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Officer.
- Introduce you to more inspirational people: If you know someone with a passion for tacos and a cool story, send them my way and maybe you’ll hear them on an upcoming Restless Creativity podcast episode.
- Try more vegetarian and vegan foods: We’re lucky Taco Bell is a haven for vegetarians as the first quick service restaurant to have menu items be certified by the American Vegetarian Association. I’d like to grab some inspiration from what other cool veg and vegan dishes are out there.
- Bring back potatoes: Oh wait, already did that. Maybe we’ll try to bring back some other fan favorites…?!
We’ll see how many of these I’m lucky enough to scratch off my list this year. Do you have any bucket list items for the year ahead? Let me know!