“The Taco Bell restaurant in Scottsbluff, which has been closed since 2019, will reopen under new management in early October. The Minnesota-based Taco Bell franchise partner, Border Foods, has taken over the property and is in the process of renovating the restaurant before opening.
Brian Davies, Border Foods vice president of facilities, told the Star-Herald, “(We) have always looked at different markets and different areas of opportunity and so when we were approached with the the property in Scottsbluff, and the fact that it used to be an operating Taco Bell, that was just the best of both worlds.”
Border Foods has been expanding its reach west in recent years with restaurants in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana. The Scottsbluff location will be its first restaurant in Nebraska.
Border Foods has hired a local contractor to work on the renovations to the restaurant to bring it up to Taco Bell’s standards, which have risen since the restaurant closed.Davies said that company officials are eyeing an opening day for the restaurant between Oct. 7 and Oct. 16, depending on the arrival of materials for the completion renovations. He said he is confident that the restaurant would open Oct. 16, at the latest.
He also said they were planning to run several soft opens during that second week of October around lunch time to help their new staff get used to the job.
“We will look at doing some training in-house as well and kind of opening with some partial day’s sales, so opening for lunches, opening for dinners in kind of short spurts to kind of get acclimated to the community and the sales.”
The renovations on the restaurant will include new finishes on the exterior as well as a near complete remodel of the lobby and dining area. The kitchen is also seeing changes with “96% of the equipment is brand new,” Davies said.
The franchise will be overseen by Border Foods’ “area coach” who works out of Laramie, and has managed the Taco Bell there as well as the locations in Cheyenne and Rawlins. Outside of the area coach, the rest of the employees at the restaurant will be hired locally.
That process has already began with Border Foods posting the positions on Talent Reef, Indeed and its own company website. They have already hired close to 20 employees, including a general manager with experience in the restaurant business in Scottsbluff.
“All of our managers and staff will all be local, and actually some of them already started their training in our Cheyenne restaurants,” he said.
Davies also pointed out that in the early stages of the project they had difficulty finding subcontractors that could work on their timeline for the project. In the past, Border Foods has worked with a Minnesota company B2 Builders for construction and contracting work, but they do not have any offices or facilities in western Nebraska.
According to Davies while they traditionally work with B2, they also try to use as many local subcontractors in their projects as possible, and were happy to find a local option in VC Construction.
“They’ve been just a godsend for us,” he said. “They have been amazing reaching out and finding many of our trades to work with them on this project.”
The Taco Bell in Scottsbluff will mark the 10th state that Border Foods has expanded into, with over 200 restaurants across their service area.
Davies said, “We’re really excited to be in the community. … It’s really exciting for us.”