Ok, I love the new CBS show “Undercover Boss”. The first week the CEO of Waste Management found out his female garbage drivers use a can to pee in during work hours.  Sounds awful, but compared to what Colby Brooks, the CEO of Hooters’ found in one of his stores, it’s nothing.  But then in a business based on putting women on display in an unflattering way – think brothel or strip bar – was it really that surprising?

Mr. Brooks leaves his corner office Atlanta headquarters and goes to work within Hooters restaurants, incognito, to get a first hand look at the company, working side-by-side with the cooks, Hooters Girls and management.

“When I was still in school I started my career working in one of our early Hooters’ kitchen,” stated Brooks. “‘Undercover Boss’ gave me the opportunity to get in a time machine and get back to the front line of Hooters. It was an educational, enlightening and emotional trip that reminded me how much I love Hooters and all our people. It will make me a better leader for our company.”  – Company’s Website

I’ll admit up front, I have NEVER visited a Hooters and NEVER WILL until they change their uniforms and hiring practices. That said, tonight’s show featured the CEO going undercover as someone trying out new positions with the expectations that the employees would not recognize their CEO.  I’m sure now that one very unlikable Manger, aptly named Jimbo, wishes he had.  Jimbo is about the most obnoxious manager I can imagine.  In one scene he decided who got to leave early by making his “girls” do his “reindeer games”.  In this instance he made them eat a plate of beans pie-eating contest style.  Firstly, what’s wrong with these women that they’d allow themselves to be treated like that? And secondly, although the CEO did let Jimbo know later at the reveal that his management style wasn’t appropriate, I think a rapid firing was more called for.

In another scene, the CEO is made to wear one of the Hooter’s Girls t-shirts. When asked if he wanted S, XS, or XXS, the only sizes the shirts are offered in, he stated that he couldn’t fit into any of them.  To which the girls replied that they themselves burst the seams of their shirts quite often because of their boobs.  Once attired, they head out to offer samples of their wings and to find out what customers think about their concept.  After all, “in this tough economy, we need to increase our customer base.”  I was dumbstruck that he wasn’t aware that his company’s bawdy theme isn’t appreciated by all.  In fact, even after hearing the negative info,  he vows not to change the beer, boobs, and hot wings theme.

The show’s finale is the reveal and it I’m starting to think that as  part of the show’s concept the CEO is asked to offer one conciliatory “fix” to a single employee. Last week it was a raise in pay and title for one overworked Waste Management person and this week one working mom is given a company paid vacation.  But, the real problem is you’re still overworking your employees and underpaying, them all while wearing a 15K watch.  It’s obvious, Mr Brooks, that you care more about your apparel than really taking care of your employees.  By the way, I must note that the CEO of Waste Management did ask the female employee peeing in a can to work with the company to make it more female-friendly.  Points there go to Waste Management!  We’ll be watching to see if you implement them!

The day Hooters hires male servers and change their ridiculous costumes, I’ll consider going. Until then, I won’t participate in humiliating women one step more.

Next week is 7-11. I’m looking forward to seeing how they handle the robberies & late night shifts they require there.

Undercover Boss –
Hooters

Air Date: 02/14/10
Full Episode (42:56)

Undercover Boss –
Waste Management

Air Date: 02/07/10
Full Episode (42:58)

:me:

  • Hardship at Hooters: Family Feud Drives CEO to Seek Investment Partners (dailyfinance.com)