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KFC, Taco Bell host ribbon-cutting ceremony

November 14, 2018

Restaurant has record-breaking soft opening.

KFC/Taco Bell ribbon cutting
A large group of local officials and representatives of KFC and Taco Bell celebrate the grand opening of the two new restaurants in Mountain City. The new stores enjoyed a very successful soft opening while bringing dozens of jobs into the community. Photo by Tamas Mondovics.

By Tamas Mondovics

Local government officials, members of the Johnson County Chamber of Commerce joined a sizable crowd that included representatives of Mountain City’s newest restaurants for a grand opening this week. To the pleasant surprise of the Fulenwider family, the ribbon-cutting ceremony came on the wake of a record-breaking soft opening last week and over the weekend for KFC and Taco Bell, both of which has received an enormous welcome by patrons, who didn’t mind the long lines and the great reception.

“We are very excited as Mountain City has truly opened its arms to us,” said KFC and Taco Bell COO Brian Goldstein, adding that the opening set a record for the company that now boasts of 92 stores throughout Tennessee and North Carolina.

Goldstein emphasized that the two stores have hired close to 100 employees, nearly five percent of the Town’s population.

District manager John Sherrill agreed when he said that there is no doubt about the county’s support, adding, “Customers are very happy, and they really love us.”

Construction on the two new restaurants of two separate buildings at 465 South Shady Street, with KFC’s entrance off Vandilla Street and the Taco Bell entrance off of Shady Street in Mountain City, began earlier this spring. The business has promised to fill many positions including assistant and restaurant general manager along with team members, while offering competitive starting wages, health, and dental insurance benefits, and paid vacations, to name a few.

As promised, the restaurant’s updated look in Mountain City is in the “Modern Lite” design, a variation of the company’s “Modern Explorer” design that was inspired by the farm to table movement, reinforcing Taco Bell’s commitment to preparing food using the best ingredients. Modern Explorer uses an open kitchen concept in the restaurant so guests can watch their food being
prepared right in front of them.

This is a significant investment for us but is the right thing to do,” said CEO Michael Fulenwider. “The successful opening this past week makes us zero in on bringing our restaurants to smaller towns and communities.”

Last year, Taco Bell announced its plans to grow as a system to approximately 9,000 restaurants globally by 2022, opening the door of opportunity for 100,000 new jobs in the U.S. alone. The new restaurants are promising to assist in supporting the Taco Bell Foundation, which according to the company’s website, has been committed to supporting the passions of America’s young people, since 1992, helping them follow their dream and reach their potential. For more information about the Taco Bell Foundation, visit