A Spanish-speaking Taco Bell employee in Hialeah, Florida, was fired after a video was circulated on social media that showed her refusing to serve an English-speaking customer.
Customer Alexandria Montgomery attempted to place a drive-thru order in English, and the Taco Bell employee responded, “No habla ingles!”
The employee continued to speak to Montgomery in Spanish. Two other Taco Bell employees also appeared at the drive-thru window, but nobody offered to help Montgomery with her order, and soon the window was closed on her and she left without purchasing any food.
A Taco Bell spokesperson later told El Nuevo Herald that “this does not meet our customer service expectations…We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn’t happen again…This individual no longer works for the brand.”
Montgomery’s Facebook post garnered several thousand comments, mainly in support of her, including one which stated: “Hialeah is still part of Florida and, as far as I remember, correct me if I’m wrong, Florida is part of the United States of America, it’s a country where English is the language we speak.”
ProEnglish recommends that Taco Bell do what McDonald’s has done. McDonald’s is investing $150 million in its “Archways To Opportunity” global education program, which includes the “English Under The Arches” (“EUA”) language learning program specifically designed for its managers and manager trainees.
McDonald’s has found that in order to continue helping some employees take on more responsibilities, it must help them improve their English language skills. The McDonald’s EUA program currently operates at more than 30 sites across the country and is expected to expand in coming years. EUA courses include Shift Basics, Shift Conversation, Shift Writing, and Conducting Performance Reviews.
On average, 86% of McDonald’s EUA students have progressed one or more English language levels after completing each conversation course, and since the program began in 2007 over 95% of participants who completed an EUA course have received a pay raise due to the increased responsibilities that they are able to take on.
ProEnglish heartily recommends that Taco Bell adopt a similar program in order to avoid further situations like the one that happened in Hialeah.