Undercover Boss Analysis of John Fuller: CEO of Johnny Rockets
Name: John Fuller
Title: CEO of Johnny Rockets
Headquarters: Lake Forest, CA
Product or Service: classic hamburger restaurant chain
In this week’s episode of “Undercover Boss”, John Fuller, CEO of Johnny Rockets, will attempt a variety of restaurant positions, despite never having worked in a restaurant before, while undercover as “Tom Carter”.
Position 1: Cook
Overview: AJay shows “Tom” how to cook burgers, and apply the special sauce.
Result: John doesn’t quite master the grill. At one point, AJay brings out his mushroom and cheese fry creation. AJay has submitted this creation to corporate, but has not hear back. AJay, with dreams of becoming a musician, gives John a taste of his rap skills.
How he made amends: John decides to test out AJay’s cheese fry recipe at a limited number of stores. If it does well, it will be added permanently to the menu as “The AJay Special”. AJay is also given 2 tickets to the American Music Festival.
What he should have done: John made a valiant attempt at the new menu item issue, but was a bit off target. The issue here is not specific to the mushroom/cheese fry submission. Rather, it’s with the process of the submission itself.
John should have looked to improve the internal process of accepting and reviewing employee recipe submissions.
Position 2: Server
Overview: “Tom” attempts to takes orders, serve food, and perform the team dances, under Janice’s supervision.
Result: John learns that many employees, including Janice, despise the corporate dance moves, and have developed their own. Janice is the breadwinner in her family, and wants nothing more than memories with her children, but struggles financially.
How he made amends: John asks Janice to assist corporate with compiling new dance moves. She was told that she’d be compensated fairly.
John also tells Janice to take her family on an all expenses paid vacation to the Grand Canyon, in memory of her father, who passed away before he got to do so himself.
Lastly, he setups up each of her four children with a $2,000 college fund.
What he should have done: John makes a good call here by including employee opinion in the choreography of upcoming dances, considering they are the ones that have to perform them. Keep them fresh so they don’t go stale. That was a food joke.
Position 3: Bartender
Overview: Claudia teaches “Tom” the basics of bartending, in an unfortunately empty bar.
Result: John’s cover is nearly blown when he’s recognized by two customers, but Claudia doesn’t catch it. John has a big concern about the emptiness of the bar on a Monday night. He and Claudia go outside on the street to drum up business.
How he made amends: John offers to pay Claudia’s rent for a full year, because he’s concerned that she’s not going to make enough at an empty bar.
What he should have done: Bad move, Fuller. You’re treating the symptom and not the cause. The money spent on her rent should instead be spent on marketing the new sports bar feature – duh! Drive traffic to her bar and her financial worries should take care of themselves.
Position 4: Food Runner
Overview: “Tom” works alongside Tony, delivering food to tables with utmost haste.
Result: Tony is an exceptional worker, with an unfortunate past. John learns that Tony had a string of bad luck.
His daughter Nikki was murdered, and for quite some time he lived under the boardwalk, homeless. Johnny Rockets gave him a shot at getting back on his feet.
How he made amends: Tony is offered an all expenses paid trip to an amusement park of his choice with his family.
John tells Tony that he’d like to make a $5,000 donation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Nikki’s name. Tony is also given $5,000 to assist with his financial situation.
What he should have done: With the exception of Tony’s personal hardships, there were no real issues presented in this position. It was merely a test of John’s empathy and generosity – which he aced.
John Fuller nailed about 65% of the issues presented to him. Odd – that’s about how often they get my order right.
PS – Did this episode make anyone else hungry?
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