TACObout a Great Job!
What started out as a high school gig for this high-energy Taco Mama employee has morphed into a post-college career
For many students, working in the restaurant industry is simply a way of picking up some extra cash while finishing high school and/or college. Once their school days are over, most feel it’s time to move on.
But not if you’re Abby Jo Askins, who joined Taco Mama as a junior at Westminster Christian Academy in Huntsville, continued to work there through college during holiday and summer breaks, and now serves as the company’s Community & Marketing Coordinator, a career position created especially for her.
“I started out (with Taco Mama) as a front–of–house team member greeting guests, helping them place their orders at the counter, checking tickets to make sure everything came out of the kitchen correctly, bringing meals to the tables, and making sure our guests had the best experience possible,” she said.
Though her duties were the same as those assigned to other front of house team members, Abby Jo excelled. So when she later transferred to a new Huntsville location, training was added to her duties. All the while, she was leading the life of a typical high schooler, but Abby Jo, according to her boss, wasn’t just your typical teen.
“Overall, we don’t just naturally accumulate a lot of high school workers,” said Will Haver, founder and CEO of Taco Mama, “but when we see high levels of positive energy and active willingness to serve, we want to be sure and get them on our team and keep that energy high. We saw those qualities in Abby Jo right away.”
After high school graduation, Abby Jo headed to the University of Montevallo, where she majored in Communication Studiesand continued to maintain her ties with Taco Mama. But as her college days began to wane, she began to consider her future. So she talked with her Taco Mama team about an internship related to her major and was connected with the company’s Recruiting Coordinator Corey Kappler. Together they worked out an internship plan for the summer of 2020.
“And we all know how that went,” Abby Jo said. “The internship ended up falling through because of COVID. But come fall of my senior year, one thing led to another and Willstarted getting on Zoom with me to build the position that I have today.”
Now working out of Taco Mama’s headquarters in Birmingham, Abby Jo focuses on sponsorships, partnerships, events, campaigns, brand awareness, relationship building, and community engagement.
“This position has so many facets to it, and my responsibilities seem to grow every day – which I love!” she said. “Now that I’m in this role, I realize it goes along with much of what I studied in school. Who knows what opportunities could open up for me here?”
And to say the boss is pleased with the job she’s doing is an understatement.
“She is confident, respectful, and has the ability to think for herself and take initiative,” Will said. “She is a relationship builder, brings her positive spirit every day, and is extremely organized. She is still taking it all in but knows where to pick her spots to utilize her natural gifts to add value to the team. We have a lot of confidence that Abby Jo will always go the extra three miles to do things the right way.”