After watching the Undercover Boss episodes Dr. Feinberg presented to us, I was intrigued by the show and how much it had to offer about leadership. I wanted to continue to explore, and tried to find an episode that had a lot to offer. Hooters seemed to be a great choice. The restaurant has been the subject of a lot of controversy, due to some peoples’ thoughts on how it portrays women. As seen in the episode, many people feel the company exploits women with their looks and tight outfits. Also, with the restaurant only having female servers, the way men and women will manage their employees will be different, and this is seen in the episode.
Coby Brooks, the CEO of Hooters, went undercover to find out more about his company. He knew that once his father, who was the owner before, passed away, that morale began to change within the company. His dad often made trips to the Hooters plant, and got to know many employees. However, Coby went the opposite way, and never took the time to familiarize himself with his workers. And he realized this along with the company image was holding the business back. So as all good leaders do, Coby listened to customer opinions, and made proper changes. In response to all the outcry from people about the way women are presented by Hooters, Coby assigned two Hooters girls to a PR company to show the world what their servers were all about. He wanted to show his girls that he viewed them in a much different light than many in the public, and also wanted to show the public the true feelings the company had for these girls. This is one of the many steps Brooks took to better his company.
Another reason Coby went undercover was to see how managers were running the franchises. He realized that the way one man was treating his servers, compared to how one female treated her servers was completely different. The male did not respect the girls working there. He called them prima donnas and made them eat beans without their hands to see which server went home first. On the opposite side, the female manager listened to all her servers and treated them with the utmost respect. She valued opinions and constantly helped them out. So again, Coby took charge and made changes. He sat the male manager down, and told him his actions were inappropriate and demeaning. He got his message across because the male manager made a formal apology to his staff and changed his leadership style up. Then Coby realized he also needed to change the way he was going about his business.
Brooks listened to workers at the plant, and got a good dose of reality. One worker said many workers did not want to work for the company anymore, and many were angry at management. Coby knew how important morale was to the company, as it was always high when his father owned it. So he made a promise to the manager at the plant that he would start visiting more often, and getting to know more of his workers on a personal level.
All these changes that Coby made were very positive for the company. He did what he needed to do to make changes, and also accepted responsibility and realized his shortcomings in running the company. Many lessons can be learned from these videos, and I encourage more people to check them out. Watch for yourself below!