7-Eleven and White Castle on Undercover Boss

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7-11 CEO Joe DePinto
Image by talkradionews via Flickr

I watched a couple more episodes of Undercover Boss.  I like the idea behind the show, but I just don’t know how much longer I can watch.  I was hoping it would be a little more real than it is.  It shows a little bad and a lot of good.  It isn’t that I only want to see the bad aspects of the different businesses, but that is what they are looking for or so they say.

The next episode showed Joe DePinto, the CEO and President of 7-eleven, go undercover in a few different stores.  We learn some about the ways 7-eleven functions and we meet some of the workers.

This episode was surprising to me. It amazes me how out of touch CEOs can be with the companies they run.  There was a night shift worker who told Joe that he didn’t think there was any room for growth in the company.

One of the good things I learned about 7-eleven was that they donate all the old food to local charities, or at least they have a policy to do that.  I could tell Joe was in pain as he watched the donuts and bagels go into the trash.

It was really good to see what Joe did to help out some of the people he met.  He even gave a franchise to one of the night drivers!  I don’t know the details of the agreement, but I would assume Joe was financing it for him rather than giving it to him free and clear.

SignNext we go to White Castle and meet Dave Rife, one of the many owners of White Castle.  There isn’t a White Castle near me in Utah and I have never even seen one when I travel, but I imagine they have a good burger.

Dave is the great grandson of the founder.  It appears in the show that the business was left to all the offspring and to their offspring, etc.  I would imagine it would be difficult to run a business with so many family members, but it could also be good as long as there was appointed leadership which there seems to be.

It is always funny to hear what managers say about the CEOs when they think there are new hires.  Dave so far has received the worse comments.  He didn’t seem to do any of the jobs well and was visibly frustrated with himself on several occasions.

Dave was taking in a lot of the feedback from the workers and realized that morale has gone way down over the years.  They have way too many managers in the different stores and the supervisors appear to run and hide rather than help out when there are problems.

Once again the show teaches us that when there become layers upon layers of management the executives really don’t have a clue about what happens on the front line.  I think they have a real eye opener since many of them mention how it has been 20 years since they have worked close to the front if ever.

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1 comment so far ↓

#1 John on 03.18.10 at 10:56 am

At first I liked the show but the more I watched, the more I realized I was being fed a line. The CEO going among the workers is like the feudal lord going among the serfs. We live in a democracy, yet most people work under a dictatorship. Inspiration to become self-employed I guess.

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