Taco Bell Employees Slam 'Painful and Absurd' Free Taco Deal Bringing Swarms of Customers to Stores Amid Pandemic

While customers of Taco Bell may be excited that the fast food chain has been handing out free tacos in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, workers aren't. In fact, some feel as if the popular chain isn't considering their safety in all of this. An issue has been raised that workers are concerned about why the company is encouraging people to come to their restaurants when that could only potentially expose them to the virus.

As a response, an employee-created petition that addresses employee treatment reads, "Taco Bell recently had a 'Free taco for every customer (obviously in the car) WITHOUT PURCHASE NECESSARY.' Those of us that worked that day know it was the busiest we've seen the store since the Corona pandemic began." The petition added, "Corporate is literally encouraging people to come to their store in the midst of the pandemic!" However, a Taco Bell representative did reply to workers concerns telling Business Insider that the chain is "very sensitive to our team members' feedback, and we want them to know that we hear their concerns."

"It's very important to us that Taco Bell remains the safest place to work and eat," the representative added. "We are also doing our part to provide safe meals that our fans know and love — and throwing in a free DLT [Doritos Locos Taco] to show our appreciation. Even in tough times, restaurants are considered essential businesses because people will always need to eat. This offer is available via drive-thru and carry-out only, so person-to-person contact remains limited." While corporate is willing to listen to their employees, some have reached out to the outlet to express their concern despite how corporate responded.

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"If you ask me, I feel like the only thing the promotion did was cause one hundred extra customers to come in contact with us," one manager told Business Insider. The manager continued to say that the deal was "probably the most painful and absurd thing they could've done during this time," claiming it caused about twice as many customers to come through than usual. "My franchise is failing to pay us any more than we're already making, however, they're finding ways to increase sales volume. It seems like this decision was not based on the Team Member experience, whatsoever."

While fast-food chains are considered essential establishments for those who are needing to work like truck drivers and healthcare workers, the manager said that they felt 95 percent of who came through the drive-thru that day were not essential workers. Instead, just locals wanting a free taco.