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Behind the Counter: Taco Bell

Updated: May 23, 2023

By Adam Khan ('23)

Since the construction of South Brunswick’s Taco Bell off Route 1 in late 2019, most residents of South Brunswick have bought at least a meal or two from the restaurant as the newest craze.

Many are familiar with the lines of cars on the drive-through that spill over to the highway, with employees rushing to take each order but many may not know that some of these employees are full-time students at South Brunswick High School.

Senior Raheem Ahmad has been a Taco Bell employee for nearly two years and regularly works as a cook and occasionally in other side positions.

Being behind the counter at a busy fast-paced restaurant compared to working at Five Guys initially was an overwhelming thought for Ahmad though, he would find himself used to the back-to-back orders and other tasks.

Ahmad said, “You clock in before working on the line/taking orders, you prep any ingredients that need to be on the line or close the registers from the previous shift’s cashier and compare the amount from their register to the actual sales.”

Aside from the physical work, working at Taco Bell has proven to be an enjoyable high school career experience.

Senior Jazmin Lazo-Sanchez, a cashier at Taco Bell said, “The most enjoyable aspect of working for me personally, is socializing with my co-workers. The food is also great. ”

People may have a common question about fast food restaurants: what sort of shortcuts or lesser-known things occur in the kitchen?

Ahmad said, “Some things that people might not know about Taco Bell is that most food comes in bags. All the hot ingredients (beef, steak, chicken, and potatoes) are frozen. Another thing is that the cinnamon twist actually starts out as dehydrated twists, and the Doritos Locos tacos seasoning is fry seasoning.”

After Ahmad’s nearly two years working for Taco Bell, there are bound to be some unconventional events occurring in the restaurant.

Ahmad listed some of those events.

He said, “Once a drunk person tried getting on top of the counter. [Another time] there was a fight in the back by the garbage around 2 AM. One time a customer got her order messed up so she jumped over the counter and fought one of the managers and one time an employee threw ice in the fryer which made a horrible sound. I also remember someone ordered around 300 tacos! When I was new, on my second Saturday working there, I had a mobile order of 500 cheesy bean and rice burritos and he came to the drive-thru to ask for 60 more. In the Milltown location, someone tried to offer weed as a payment. There’s more, but that’s enough for now.”

Working for Taco Bell has benefits and drawbacks.

Sophomore Bladimir Robles, a cashier at the fast food chain said, “Some pros are the free food and good hours they give, and some employees are fun to work with. The cons are that it's too busy sometimes. You have to do work that you don’t want to do, and it’s very very rushed and gets tiring. Some managers aren’t the best.”

Usually, working long shifts, Robles, a sophomore at SBHS had to find alternatives to balance work and school.

Robles said, “Personally it’s not that difficult, whenever I have time at home I finish my work.”

Not only is the Taco Bell of South Brunswick in a convenient location for the town, but an opportunity for those who are looking for some job experience.

Lazo-Sanchez said, “Come 5-10 minutes early for every shift, follow the rules, stay out of any drama, try to get along with coworkers, after several months ask for a bonus, and do your best!”

Robles added, “Choose service when asked what job you could do!”

Being one of the most popular and arguably most tasty fast-food restaurants, these SBHS students gave us an insider look at what occurs behind the counter. With an expansive menu, virtually everyone has an item that they will enjoy or already do. So pull up to South Brunswick’s taco bell and support your hard-working local expertise of your fellow peers!

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