by Border Foods
It was August of 1997 when Barb Schneider saw an opportunity. After working in development for Taco Bell Corporate, she was excited by the chance to be Development Manager for Border Foods. “I had a lot of respect for Jeff and Lee,” Barb recalls. “Border was in its infancy, and it seemed like a good company to grow with.”
And grow they did! Over the course of 25 years, Barb played an integral role (quite literally) in the building of Border Foods. When it comes to reflecting on accomplishments across that time, a few big decisions stand out.
Not Limited to Just a Few Great Ideas
Years ago, the site that is now the Golden Valley, MN Taco Bell was a sleepy Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips. It was an old building, void of a drive-thru and complete with seven parking spots (half of which flooded with snow or rain). At the time, the scrape-and-rebuild that Barb proposed was an expensive idea, a “leap of faith,” Barb says. But her idea was to expand by not only purchasing the existing property, but also to buy an adjacent car wash and demolishing both buildings to rebuild a Taco Bell. Whoa! It paid off. Guests responded and the location doubled in revenue. The investment ignited an appetite for growth that still lives within our company today.
Persistence, hunger for learning, and a refusal to give up drove Barb to become one of the most accomplished developers in the Taco Bell system. Some of the dirt that Border Foods’ Taco Bells sit atop took upwards of 20 years to contract. Other locations faced challenges from City Councils. Our Eden Prairie, MN gives us a prime example of “classic Barb.”
At the time of the remodel, the City Council refused to allow the building to go up with a specific type of new slats. Frustrated by the process, one Sunday morning, Barb woke up and began driving “around” Eden Prairie on the hunt for these slats (the very kind the city was refusing to grant permissions for). Tucked away in the Eden Prairie mall, Barb found an example of it in use. “You do what it takes to get the job done,” Barb says. After presenting her findings to city staff, it was near impossible for the council to refuse the use of the slats. That’s the kind of persistence Barb has become well known for.
When it comes to hearing a few tips and tricks to success at Border Foods, Barb’s recommendations are simple:
- Recognize and take advantage of opportunities when you see them.
- Don’t continually look ahead for the next promotion, or next job. Make sure you’re good and grounded at your current job before climbing to another role.
- Remember that if you take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself.
And speaking of today, after leading more than thirty new builds, countless remodels and scrape-and-rebuilds, it’s hard to imagine an era without Barb at the helm of development. But after more than two decades years of service, Barb is officially retiring.
Instead of racing toward deadlines and prepping for the next council meeting, Barb is working on finishing the next good book and enjoying the weather. “I’ve been noticing the little things now that I’m not so busy,” Barb says. “I’m appreciating it all.”