This episode of Undercover Boss follows Rick Silva, CEO of Checkers & Rally’s, a double drive-thru fast food restaurant. The restaurant chain, headquartered in Tampa, FL, operates in 38 states around the country. Rick Silva formerly worked for Burger King before heading up Checkers & Rally’s a couple of years ago. Rick’s parents are from Cuba and he is a first generation Cuban-American. His goal is to increase the business to 1,000 restaurants over the next couple of years.
His undercover name is Alex Garcia, a failed pharmacy owner from Philadelphia. The employees are told he is on a reality show to try to change careers. His first stop is at a Checker in Homestead, FL. He is training with Todd, a crew member for a little over a year. Alex is concerned because the grill and fry station is very important and Todd has never been trained properly, but he seems to do a good job.
Todd has always wanted to be a chef and he started school but dropped out to take care of his mother. While he’s telling Alex the story, the manager yells at Todd to stop talking and cook the meat. The manager is also seen talking down to another employee about working late. Later Alex finds the fryer station confusing because the timers are not labeled. The restaurant is not working according to company standards.
The manager is still barking at employees. Instead of jumping in and helping, he just yells. Todd says his manager feels like he’s worthless. Alex wants to talk to the manager about his attitude but Todd doesn’t want to say anything because he needs his job and he starts crying. Alex asks the manager what excuse does he have to talk to people without being respectful but the manager doesn’t think he was. He says the manager runs the crew not the other way around. The manager asks if Alex has ever worked in fast food before, and Rick reveals his true identity. Rick tells the manager he’s doing things the wrong way and he’s shutting the restaurant down now.
The manager tells him he is not properly trained. He was three weeks into assistant manager training when he was put into his management position, so he can’t train the crew properly because he’s not trained properly. Rick is disappointed in his company and himself because it’s ultimately his responsibility. He tells the crew that they will be properly trained before the restaurant opens again and they will all be paid.
The second stop is another Checkers in Carol City, FL, to work with the manager Joyce on the night shift. She doesn’t sell burgers and fries she sells hospitality. She works the walk-up window and is very friendly with the customers. Joyce calls all of her employees Mr. and Ms. She thinks Alex is too stiff and needs to lighten up. He works the drive-up window, and he has trouble hearing the customers through the speaker system because it’s so old.
He asks Joyce what would she do if she had her own store. She says people need to know their customers. The company took about a certain product her customer’s liked because other stores didn’t like it. She also has a lot of marketing ideas to bring in more customers. Joyce’s mother and father died early in her life, her brother died of AIDS, and she lost her job. She and her daughter found a coupon for free Checker’s food and she’s been loyal ever since. Her partner is also a Checker’s manager, and they’ve been together for 21 years.
His third stop is in Mobile, AL, at the first ever Checker’s restaurant. He’s working with Johanna on the sandwich line. She wears a headset so she can hear the orders coming in. She starts the sandwiches as soon as she hears it so the food is ready when the customer gets to the window. She demonstrates how to make a burger and lets Alex take over.
Unfortunately for Alex, he is not up to par with Johanna. Her standards are high and he’s not meeting them. He doesn’t know how to build all the sandwiches and quickly falls behind. The drive-thru fills up so Johanna steps in to pick up the slack. Johanna has worked at Checker’s for seven years. He asks what she would do as a manager and she says she would reward the crew. Managers get bonuses and awards but never the crew. She only makes $8.00 an hour and a manager only starts at $9.00 an hour.
Rick does the reveal at a Checker’s. He tells Johanna she is very good at her job and he is creating an incentive program for crew members. When managers get bonuses, so will crew members. He is going to mentor her so she can become a manager. He also gives her $20,000 to replace her old, unreliable car.
He tells Joyce she brings a great enthusiasm to her store and he appreciates it. Rick has the speakers at her store replaced. He is creating a manager’s council so they can give feedback to Rick directly and better market for their customers. He gives her $10,000 to help pay off her bills. He gives her an extra $10,000 to spend on herself since she takes care of others.
Rick tells Todd he is incredibly proud for speaking up and letting him know about the problems. The manager is being retrained and all new employees will be trained about respect. He’s paying for Todd to finish his culinary degree. He also gives him $15,000 to cover expenses at home since he takes care of his mother.
Todd got a new manager and is enrolled for school in the fall; Johanna bought a new car and is involved in the manager trainee program; Joyce got new speakers and is working on the manager’s council.
Undercover Boss has moved to Friday’s 8/7c on CBS.
(Photo Source: University of Washington)