Undercover Boss Analysis of Dan Dizio: CEO of Philly Pretzel Factory
Name: Dan Dizio
Title: CEO of Philly Pretzel Factory
Headquarters: Philadelphia, PA
Product or Service: Pretzels
In this week’s episode of “Undercover Boss”, Dan Dizio, CEO of Philly Pretzel Factory, goes undercover as “Michael Downs” to see the company from the employees’ perspective.
Position 1: Franchisee
Overview: Dan follows store owner Bill through a variety of tasks, like delivering and creating pretzels.
Result: Bill and his wife are struggling to pay the bills. He uses his own car to make deliveries, and then leaves pretzels at locations using an honor system, hoping that people who take the pretzels will leave money. To make ends meet, Bill invented a new pretzel sandwich that is not allowed under the franchise policies.
Bill says he asked corporate for help several times, but to no avail, and Dan feels both embarrassed and responsible. Bill also says no one ever taught him how to actually make the pretzels, and the provided directions are too vague. This required him to experiment quite a bit early on.
How he made amends: Dan plans to send several corporate marketing and sales advisers to out to meet with Bill for an entire month, to help show him ways to generate more money from his store. Corporate will evaluate Bill’s pretzel sandwich idea, but it’s not confirmed whether it would be added to the menu or not.
Dan purchases a new delivery van for Bill, complete with corporate logo plastered on all sides. Bill is also awarded a paid vacation with his wife, and Dan promises to have corporate employees run the store while he is gone. Additionally, Dan will pay for the store’s rent for a full year so they can get back on track.
What he should have done: It’s good to see Dan asking corporate to go above and beyond for a franchisee in need. He hits on all the main points except for the poor training. We’d like to assume that Dan will be making amends to the training program for new franchisees in the future so similar situations do not arise, but we can’t credit him with points because it was not noted.
Position 2: Assistant Manager
Overview: Marquees shows Dan how to prep and cook pretzels.
Result: Marquees is an excellent, dedicated worker, and Dan believes that store’s recent improvement in efficiency and revenue is due to Marquees.
Marquees has two daughters that he is desperately trying to provide for – noting that both plan on college (even though he didn’t go). He mentions that he’s been considering another job opportunity because it provides medical benefits (Pretzel Factory does not provide them).
How he made amends: Dan gives Marquees $2500 for each of his daughters, to start a college fund. Dan promises to provide Marquees with medical benefits, and also gives Marquees partial ownership of a new kiosk store opening soon.
What he should have done: It is not clear whether the medical benefits will be provided for all full-time employees, or just Marquees. It appears that Dan understands that you’ve got to pay good employees what they are worth, or they will be the first ones to leave, so we won’t deduct any points. Dan was also quite generous with his gift to Marquees – the kiosk store.
Position 3: Delivery Person
Overview: Dan and Gino deliver hundreds of pretzels to various stations around the city.
Result: Gino is a hard worker, and is surprisingly strong for his size. They deliver boxes and boxes of pretzels to locations throughout the city, several times requiring them to go up and down flights of stairs with their boxes. Dan finds it quite dangerous.
Gino went to college for a bit, but decided to drop out because he determined that it was not the right path for him. He’s now in student loan debt, and struggles to repay his bills. Gino also teaches dance, his real passion.
How he made amends: Dan creates an alternate delivery route, involving a safer, easier loading dock, as opposed to the large flight of stairs, to improve safety and reduce liability. Dan also asks to pay off the remainder of Gino’s school loans, which amount to roughly $20k.
What he should have done: Dan addressed the only real issue brought to our attention – the dangerous route. It is no longer a lawsuit-waiting-to-happen – good defense from Dan.
Position 4: Mascot
Overview: Billy teaches Dan how to dance around in public as the “Phill E.” mascot, and entice people to come visit the store.
Result: Billy and Dan hit the streets and perform various dances and gestures to passing cars. Dan appears to be a natural, and seduces roughly 50 cars to head to the store. Dan is concerned about how hot it is inside the costume, and can only imagine what it must be like in the summer.
Dan learns that Billy’s mother has had a string of bad luck, first being in the World Trade Center building during it’s destruction, and then being hit by a car, disabling her. Billy works full time while going to school, to pay for his tuition.
How he made amends: Billy is asked to perform at a corporate conference, so that he can teach his moves to the other establishments. Billy is awarded $10k to help with school, and another $10k to assist his parents.
What he should have done: Dan sees an employee with valuable skills and experience, and asks him to share with others – great play.
On the flipside, during the segment Dan specifically notes the uncomfortably high temperatures within the mascot costume, and wonders about it’s safety during the summer. He could have at least touched on a few resolutions – shorter rotations, hydration, maybe even a pretzel factory tent to provide shade.
Dan Dizio earned a “C” grade for his appearance on Undercover Boss.
Dan is clearly dedicated to his company, and feels a sense of responsibility to his franchisees. That being said, he didn’t quite nail a few of the issues presented. At the end of the day, he did an average job, which is not half bad for a guy who admits he’s learning as he goes. Dan needs some fine tuning, but that will come with experience.
Don’t like our grade? Drop us a rebuttal, and leave a comment below.