Brent Harkins

Brent Harkins

Operations Analyst


Taco Bell

Irvine, CA USA


I worked really hard, and I truly believe that anyone else who’s willing to work hard will be able to do whatever they want.

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Videos

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Brent Harkins

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Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Throughout high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I just wanted “a job.”
I took a job at Taco Bell when I was 16 and loved it.
As I started to climb the ladder at Taco Bell, I realized I really wanted to get my college degree.
I initially went to community college to save money, then transferred to CSU San Marcos.
I went through a period where I got burned out on my work at Taco Bell, and I stepped away.
However, once I stepped away, I realized how much I’d loved my work at Taco Bell.
I came back to Taco Bell with more passion than ever and haven’t looked back since.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Business/Corporate Communications
Grossmont College
undergrad
Bachelor
Business Administration and Management, General
California State University-San Marcos
Career

Career

Operations Analyst

My team helps execute products efficiently and successfully across 7,000 restaurants nationwide.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Business
Business
Food
Food
Learning / Being Challenged
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

I’m on the Food Ops Team, so I work with everything food. We have a three-step process—discover, design, and deliver—and operations gets brought along for the whole ride. After a crazy menu item (like the quesalupa) is “discovered,” we act as the voice of reason to make sure our restaurants can realistically execute these items using their back-of-house hardware. We do a lot of testing to make sure the item’s soundproof, then once we feel it’s ready, we send it out to our restaurants.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

I think it’s really important to have restaurant experience with Taco Bell. It really helps you understand the product and get into the mentality of how the restaurant workers are going to be interacting with the product. Plus, it helps you later become that voice that can champion for those restaurant workers and make their work as painless as possible.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Understand the difference between what you need and what you want: you have to prioritize your needs, but it’s also important that you figure out a way to do the things you want to do. And if you don’t know what you want, take as many different classes as you can and try to find that spark. Keep taking steps forward, and more doors will open.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Business/Corporate Communications
undergrad
Bachelor
Business Administration and Management, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I don’t love this job anymore."

At one point, I got burned out on Taco Bell—not the brand, necessarily, but the restaurant and specific situation that I was in at the time. However, once I stepped away from the company and tried something else for a year, I realized that I was missing something. I knew I’d made a rash decision, and decided to return to the company. Luckily, they accepted me back, and after taking that time off, I know for sure that I’m on the right path and I’m more passionate about my work than ever.