Taco Bell is facing a lawsuit and PR nightmare due to two operators forcing underage workers to give out counterfeit twenty dollar bills. Ronn Torossian says that the fallout could severely damage the restaurant’s image and impact sales. Consumers are far less likely to continue visiting the popular chain if they are suspicious of fraud.
The family of a seventeen year old girl is filing the lawsuit against Taco Bell based on the girl’s allegations that she was forced to distribute counterfeit twenty dollar bills to customers at the restaurant where she worked. The girl spoke to the police and described how she was manipulated into pulling off the scheme.
The bills were obviously fake. They were slightly smaller than real twenty dollar bills and were most likely made on a laserjet printer before being run through a dryer to make them look used and crumpled. Despite this, many customers did not realize that the bills were fake.
Most fast food restaurants do not have a need to give out twenty dollar bills in change because they do not accept large bills. To make the scheme work, the policies at two Taco Bell restaurants were changed so that people could pay using fifty and one hundred dollar bills. This made it possible for workers to give customers the fake twenties.
The lawsuit comes at a time when Taco Bell has been far superior to other fast food chains in the area of public relations. The restaurant recently introduced a breakfast menu as well as a dollar menu that have been very popular with customers. This has gotten Taco Bell a lot of positive attention and has made it stand out from other competing restaurants. The lawsuit could cause major damage to the restaurant’s popularity.
Billionaire brand builder Chris Burch says, “Taco Bell wants to keep ahead of the competition, then the restaurant will need to get on top of this PR fiasco as soon as possible. A public apology is needed as well as restitution. The individuals responsible for the crime also need to be identified. Taco Bell needs to guarantee that this will never happen again and that their customers have nothing to worry about when dining.” That’s key to winning.