With led-purple lights and a fully remodeled exterior and interior, Dickinson's Taco Bell bears a modern look after 10 weeks of construction updates. To cap off the remodeling process, Border Foods hosted a grand reopening of the restaurant with style.
The lobby was unveiled in a grand reopening Monday, Nov. 22. The drive-thru shut down for a few weeks during the beginning stage of the renovation process, and has been back open for roughly a month. General Manager Lucy Green said the reopening was a success. Green said they have new kitchen equipment that will better equip them to keep food fresh and at the right temperatures.
“It went really well, it’s been very busy and that’s what we wanted to see,” Green said, adding that they are hiring for all positions. “We start everyone out at $13.50 an hour, (with) flexible schedules. So any hours you want, we can make up.”
Nor-Son Construction Superintendent Justin Poling, based out of Baxter, Minn., was the general contractor on the project. Poling said they struggled with supply chain issues throughout the process.
“It took eight weeks to get the glass ordered, and the metal frames. Then we broke one (sheet of glass) while we were doing it. So that’s why that fire window is different,” Poling said, pointing to a split window. “It’s going to be December before that shows up. We tried putting it in on that really windy day last week.”
Nic Gerry, area coach with Border Foods, said they struggled to figure out how to maintain existing employees during the closure. This was alleviated by paying those who were able to travel to Bismarck and work there temporarily. Gerry said Border Foods even continued paying wages to those who couldn’t go to Bismarck because they wanted to make sure their people were taken care of.
“The whole time trying to hire new employees while we don’t even have a building that we can bring them into to get them trained when we don’t have another Taco Bell in town; those were some of the struggles that we had to face,” Gerry said. “But Lucy, the general manager, did a great job of coordinating and making sure we were able to continue to grow our team within the area here.”
The store also has new technology and systems in place that will make Door Dash and other mobile orders more efficient.
“Then we increased the number of kiosks so we can have multiple people ordering at the same time,” Gerry said, adding that this will not reduce job opportunities.
The Midwestern fast food franchise Border Foods acquired the Dickinson Taco Bell in December of 2020. Taco Bell, in Dickinson, is one of 11 North Dakota locations acquired by Border Foods late last year. Built circa 1999 with no major renovations since, the company decided it was time for a new look. Demolition of the old furnishings began Sept. 7, 2021.
In recent years, some individuals, who were disgruntled with the Dickinson Taco Bell's performance, created a Facebook group called "The Dickinson, ND Taco Bell ruined my life and here’s why.."
According to a Border Foods press release, the company invited members of the Facebook group to participate in the demolition. Dickinson resident Justin Wall was among those who showed up. Wall said customer service and maintenance at the restaurant had declined over the years, but that he was happy to see the business under new ownership.
Max Corrigan, Border Foods manager of analytics and marketing, said he and his team worked on the chain’s image and even raised money for charity in the process by auctioning retro Taco Bell items such as tables and bar stools, to bid farewell to the old restaurant.
Corrigan was initially apprehensive about joining the Facebook group to improve community relations.
“It was a little bit scary going into it, because we had no idea how this would be received,” he said. “After being in the Facebook group for a while and talking to some of the people in it, you see that they’re all great people and most of it was just light-hearted.”
Corrigan said the auction, which was held on 32auctions.com, was a success.
“We ended up raising over $1,200. Then we matched that as a company and donated it to United Way,” Corrigan said. “We want to continue to grow in the community.”