City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Atlanta-based Hooters CEO part of ‘Undercover Boss’ Feb. 14

CREDIT: Vino Wong

CREDIT: Vino Wong

For its entire existence, Atlanta-based Hooters has been mocked and reviled for its entire concept from its double-entendre name to its tight bright-orange short shorts to its efforts to be a “family-friendly” restaurant.

At the same time, the wings chain has grown consistently and become part of the American landscape. So much so that CBS is giving Hooters an entire primetime hour Sunday for its new reality show “Undercover Boss.”

Coby Brooks, the CEO, shaved off his goatee, donned glasses, journeyed to Texas last year and spent several days rotating jobs such as a cook, a busboy,a promotions guy and a store manager. He learned more about his operations from the ground up.

“I went undetected,” said Brooks, whose much brasher father built the company before relinquishing the CEO title to Coby in 2003.

Brooks said as a high school and college student, he did dishwashing and other jobs at a Myrtle Beach Hooters. But two decades later, it’s not any easier. “I forgot how hot it could get in the kitchen and how much running around you can do,” he said.

Overall, though, he said it was “a great experiment. I met a lot of great people. I’d do it again.”

He readily admitted that there was one job he wasn’t eligible to take on. “I’ll never be,” he said, with a chuckle, “a Hooters girl.”

CBS management is banking that this type of inspirational show will work well during a recession, when employees want to show their bosses how hard they’re working during tough times. The network placed the debut episode, featuring Waste Management, in the cushy post Super Bowl slot last Sunday, drawing a sizable 38.5 million viewers.

This is not a risk-free venture for the privately-held Hooters, which has more than 450 restaurants worldwide and about $1 billion in sales. Brooks said Hooters relinquished all rights to CBS in terms of how the show would be edited in return for 10 to 15 million sets of eyeballs the chain otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. In fact, Brooks won’t see the episode until Sunday, like everybody else.

But he’s confident Hooters will turn out just fine.

“CBS is a very reputable network,” Brooks said. “We didn’t have anything to hide so why not?”

Former Emory professor and current Yale business management expert Jeffrey Sonnenfeld said this is a good move for Hooters.

“This makes them seem more mainstream, harmless, and fits with their playful aura – at least playful to many men,” he wrote in an email today.

And Sonnenfeld thinks this show will give the masses some feeling of satisfaction: “There is a great curiosity about the workplace cultures of our friends and neighbors,” he wrote. “The humbling of bosses, after society’s vilification of CEOs, is perfect icing on the cake.”

He continued:

This humbling of the boss also humanizes him or her. We get to see the CEO as a normal, anxious, dedicated, smart, and perhaps even fair-minded fellow worker. The unanticipated consequence then is a melting of the walls between hierarchical levels and the barriers between top management vs rank & file subcultures within the firm. Many CEOs at firms ranging from UPS, The Home Depot, Starbucks, Xerox, Tupperware, and Hyatt have long encouraged their top leaders to unceremoniously mingle with – and perhaps even join the often forgotten heroes of the front lines.

UPDATE: The New York Post reports that Hooters is being shopped around.


“Undercover Boss,” CBS, 9 p.m. Sundays

52 comments Add your comment

Chipper, JR.

February 10th, 2010
2:09 pm

Wow. What a lucky gig!

I would LOVE to go under the covers with some lovely Hooters Ladies.

Haywood Jablome

February 10th, 2010
3:00 pm

What specifically to they mean by “undercover”?


February 10th, 2010
3:56 pm

Hooters has NASTY-TASTING food!

Why would anybody want to eat at one of those grease pits if not for the T&A Specials?

Haywood Jablome

February 10th, 2010
5:37 pm


February 10th, 2010
7:58 pm

Haywood Jablome . . . Bart Simpson would be proud of that one.


February 10th, 2010
8:06 pm

i know him personolly, i’m best friends w/ his son and my dad and him r friends


February 10th, 2010
8:27 pm

I am a retired Hooters Girl… I worked at the hooters restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska for 3 years.. i quit about a year ago. That job was the most fun of any of the jobs I ever had but the management and owners were horrible!!! We were freezing in the winter once and they told us to sell 100 dollars in merchandise and then they would turn the heat up!!

Hootie who where are you.

February 11th, 2010
8:49 am

I am anxious to see this one, as a former employee of the company, I know with each location comes the good, bad and the ugly. Each manager has a different style and approach with the staff. (Just like with any company.) I just hope Coby likes what he sees, I know they put a lot into image and branding. I hope the staff was up to his expectations. There is a lot more that goes into the “inner workings” that people do not see as they are blinded by the bright orange shorts.

It is refreshing that there are shows like this for us to see just what it takes to make these companies a success.

Fred Tokars

February 11th, 2010
2:17 pm

Show me the Boobies!


February 11th, 2010
3:27 pm

From orland park IL — 02/11/2010
Category Rating
Pay 4
Respect -4
Benefits 0
Job Security -3
Work/Life Balance 3
Career Potential/Growth -5
Location 5
Co-worker Competence -5
Work Environment -4
I worked for Hooters for over 4 years. I initially made good money, even though it was my first time serving, however, with the economy and areas changing (section 8 coming into an upper middle class town) my tips and business truly became horrible.

I always liked my job–i like interacting with people and being able to joke around as opposed to having to sit in an office 40 hrs a week. The problem here is that unless you wish to be in high school for the rest of your life, the gossiping, playing favorites, people not doing work b/c they think they are too good, or simple bullying will start to bother any competent individual.

My management changed many times–but really became horrible after a certain female GM entered the picture. If you did not kiss ass you were “forgotten” when making the schedule, scheduled (and consequently written up) for shifts that you clearly wrote that you could not work, and also blantanly watched to see if certain managers could write you up for anything. Retaliation from managers is prohibitted yet it is the only way they conduct themselves.

Girls that could not handle sections got put in them because it was luck of the draw. Also, the incopetence of the new girls (due to stupid kiss ass trainers and inexperience) helped turn sections into much smaller sections.

Personally i have seen girls get to pick their section to stay longer because the gm wanted to bs with them and not other girls. The dumbest most drug using girls got to bartend while others did not simply because they were sober and wanted to work as opposed to dumbing themselves down to deal with pointless conversations with management. Additionally, it doesn’t matter if you are prettier than the other girls, unless you kiss ass you do not get to do promotions at this store. Also, when in the world do you find a restaurant where your section is based on how much merchandise you sell (SO MANAGERS CAN GET THEIR BONUSES) and not on how good your service is?

I have worked at other Hooters and have never been treated as horrible as i have with that gm in orland. I’m surprised i didn’t leave earlier. I have seen managers fired for performing sexual favors for each other while on the clock, a manager keep his job after serving (more than once) people under age, and the regulars are non-existent because of the management. Not only that, but also the experienced servers know how to cheat the system and steal food/money/merchandise. The computers did not work one day, and soo many girls pocketed the money people paid them and turned receipts that contained maybe at best half of what the customer ordered. What a joke. Ethically i could not do that, that is stealing the customer’s hard earned money. CUSTOMER BEWARE: if you are not white or are young, girls will add gratuity to your bill so it ensures a tip. Also, even girls who are not white will be racist when it comes to who sits in their section.
**One thing i did love seeing is the girls that became trainers per the bitch manager are all the girls that gained weight and lost any semblence of the hooters image. HAHAHA it looks disgusting with their fat asses hanging out of the shorts and beer bellys over the waist band. Maybe i’m lucky with weight, or maybe i just take pride in how i look and would not be comfortable with gross fat hanging all over.

A word to the wise, you may be hired based on your charming personality, but really if you fit in the shorts you get hired. Do not think you are something special when over hundreds of girls come and go. (oh and all the good managers magically have to go too, wonder who tries to get them fired or clean house?)

Overall, this particular location is ran by cliques and managers who need their ass kissed from every employee or they will do their best to get rid of you. I liked hooters, made way more money than the girls who flaunt their good tips–yet leave out their horrible ones, and also maintained a way more attractive image than most of them. I can only hope that karma will take care of those who have wronged me at this company. I was never allowed to bartend or train, yet i did both at other locations. I was stuck training the trainers on what they were supposed to do (only because i would rather work with a new girl who knew what she was doing and was shown the right way) yet never was able to train and make a better environment or make a few more dollars. I hope undercover boss on CBS identifies some of these flaws–i can’t wait to see the episode. Also as far as sexual harassement is concerned, yes comments will be made. If you can’t deal with it, don’t work there. Comments from management or coworkers shouldn’t be tolerated, but deal with the customers. Either brush it off or learn on to fire back something smart–i know this is almost impossible for most of the idiots that work their. If you don’t want a comment on how you look, work somewhere where your appearance is not half the dining experience.

My job was great, my co-workers were immature, sneaky, gossips, and my management became soo incredibly dishonest that i finally left. Good luck to those bozos.


February 11th, 2010
4:47 pm

That place has such horrid food. With all the free porn on the Internet, I just honestly don’t see why someone would go there to ogle what strike me as rather plain-looking girls. Sit home and wank while looking at really hot ones, if that’s what it’s about.

I ate there once with some folks from work, and that was it for me. I thought it was worse than Applebee’s, who for years I’d considered the standard-bearer for bad sit-down restaurant chains.


February 12th, 2010
10:11 pm

I work at Hooters in South Carolina, I personally love my job. Some of the things that the girl above mentioned are true but for the most part it is a great job. You make good money and I have made a lot a good friends. So don’t take everything that the girl above just said. It was just the store she worked at. Don’t judge Hooters off what one girl said.


February 12th, 2010
11:11 pm

My daughter is paying for her college education with the income from her Hooter’s job. The corporation and/or her managers may not be perfect, but a manager walks her to her car at the end of her shift, to assure her safety; which, as a parent, is a wonderful assurance. And unlike some of the comments I have read, the food is very tasty. We have served Hooters wings at family and friends gatherings. Bottom line, Hooters will certainly not be my daughter’s ‘career’, but is aiding her to acheive her dream by providing an avenue to earn more than minimum wage so she can reach for the stars with a great education. THANK YOU HOOTERS! ….. A Cape Coral mom.


February 14th, 2010
9:45 pm

I just watched the show and I was a hooters girl a year or so back . Watching Jimbo the manager at one of the Hooters made me sick. It reminded me of my manager in Rockville who was a sexist pig and the reason I left. These girls are trying to make a living and work thru school but are treated like crap and if they do not play his games they don’t get special treatment that is wrong


February 14th, 2010
9:59 pm

Great show. IT is good to know that some CEOs do not consider themselves to far above the common man who makes all their money for them. Good job….Coby is a cutie…


February 14th, 2010
10:08 pm

I am a dude and I am not a big fan of the food or restaurant. I have to say that I was very disappointed with the outcome of the one manager who was very inappropriate with the girls. All he had to do was apologized. That is just crazy to me. No suspension or anything. That guy should have been fired.


February 14th, 2010
10:18 pm

I was very disappointed with this weeks program. I’m sorry, but the CEO of Hooters is a spoiled kid that was given his “daddy’s” business. I would like to know what happen to his wife?? He made it sound like he was such a wonderful daddy at home…not so sure.
Last week the CEO was real and down to earth. What happened this week??


February 14th, 2010
10:19 pm

Just watched the show. Can’t belive that Jimbo was not fired. Coby Books is an absolute idiot and can understand why he is a single father. No woman would stand for what he let go on. Get some backbone Coby and start treating women like human beings. Don’t believe he would let his daughers even consider working for Hooter’s. What a joke! He would be furious if his daughters were treated like Jimbo treated those girls. Of course, they are rich, so they don’t have to worry. Am so glad my beautiful daughers were above that kind of humiliation. Hooter’s as a whole is absolutely DISGUSTING and so is their food!!!!!!

I don’t like Hooters and would not set foot in any Hooter’s Restaurant

M Shearer

February 14th, 2010
10:23 pm

The way Jimbo was just talked to was an insult to all women. I will never go into a Hooters again —that man should have been fired and slapped with a sexual harassment charge. If they found him just in a week –how many other “pig” managers does Hooters employ?


February 14th, 2010
10:23 pm

Enter your comments here

robert sharkey

February 14th, 2010
10:25 pm

my wife -n-i always go to hooters when ever we can -n-we bring our son who is now 6 .we would take him when he was 1,2,3,4,5.6.-n-still go .he loves it -n-the girls love him. food is always great!!! !thiers a hooters in virg. beach -n-2 of the girls waiting on us was wearing roller skates. ted ,thought that was cool –well guess what ted is doing like a pro!! skating. any ques.607-764-6347


February 14th, 2010
10:26 pm

I’ll never be able to look at a Hooters restaurant again without seeing that PIG Jimbo. Yuck.


February 14th, 2010
10:31 pm

Great show….I have never visited a Hooters….the manner in which it exploits women has always angered me…after seeing the show though it occurred to me that it is a choice some women make and we should be thankful for all the choices we have. On the other hand it is, in my mind, the obligation of the Hooters Organization to ensure that the integrity of these women is maintained. There should be a “zero tolerance” policy for the management style displayed by “jimbo”.


February 14th, 2010
11:09 pm

Just watched the show. I absolutely cannot believe that that CEO even chose to have this televised. What an embarrassment. Not only to him, but to his entire company. It’s not the eighties, anymore, it’s the year 2010…don’t people expect more? Giving Jimbo a pass? Are you kidding? He had those girls EATING BEANS OFF OF PLATES WITH THEIR HANDS BEHIND THEIR BACKS. What a sadistic weirdo. Hey, look…I don’t care where a person works. He or she should never be treated as a dog. Ooh, and nice toothpick, Jimbo.
And as for the corporate attitude and atmosphere, give us a break. How can Coby Brooks expect his managers to portray a “respectful” image, when the very backbone of the business is T & A. I’m sure there is a good sized group of hillbillies drooling after the show, praying that their own local Hooters won’t go out of business. Afterall, where else will they go to get served a big plate of chicken wings?
I guess we all can now see where Coby Brooks’s priorities lie. This is an unfortunate corporate culture that he stands for. If he REALLY wanted to change the culture, Jimbo would have been fired. I have a feeling that Jimbo ’s actions and attitude is most likely the rule, and not the exception in the Hooters chain.

hooters indifferent

February 15th, 2010
12:15 am

Any people with any kind of legal background out there that may have some input on this? My girlfriend and i watched the show and we can only guess that they couldn’t fire Jimbo for some legal/lawsuit related issue. Coby seemed like a respectful and intelligent-enough to understand that Jimbo’s behavior is intolerable. You can bet that he won’t be working for them by the end of this week due to the critcism and backlash he will get. Either he quits, or the store location does so poorly this week that they can fire him for a cause more directly related to sales results. Does this make any sense, or are we being blind and giving them the benefit of doubt?!?


February 15th, 2010
12:17 am

Jimbo Should Be Fired At Once!!! He is a Sexist Pig!! He humilated those girls who are probably working there to pay for college or support a family. Even if not…(everyone does not qualilfy for college,) they have a right to make a living and not be humiliated!!


February 15th, 2010
1:27 am

The fact that Jimbo was not fired tells us the truth about HOOTERS. The only reason the CEO did the show was he saw it as a free publicity gimmick. When I watched the previous weeks show, (Waste Management) I did believe the CEO was in it to make his company better. Kudos to him. But for this Brooks joker, I’ll have a beer at another bar the day I hear he is being sued over sexual harassment in the workplace. Jimbo, you are what the beans become on their way out, and Mr. Brooks, you are not one iota better for keeping him. Thoroughly DISGUSTED with your company and you.


February 15th, 2010
1:53 am

Sorry Coby, a CEO you are not. Let Jimbo off with an apology? How about immediate cut in salary, management training and termination if results are not seen. A one-off holiday for the highly skilled female GM? How about better in-franchise support to reduce the long-term stress of the job. You noticed that she has since moved to a “less-stressful position”. (i.e. Coby failed to fix the real problem). A donation to a military charity for a good job? How about giving the guy a bonus of the type I have no doubt Cody and the board had no problems giving themselves last year?

Most of the restaurants I saw would fail our local health regulations. Stacks of dirty dishes, flour scattered on the floor, poor food handling practices. I know that these aren’t high-class restaurants but there are standards in the food service industry for a reason.

In the end this program was interesting but felt like another fake “reality” show. Too many impossible simultaneous camera shots that indicated a ton of editing. Too many examples of people acting in a very unnatural fashion even with the knowledge of cameras present. Take Jimbo for example. Just the fact he was prepared to stage that “contest” and hoot the way he did *whilst being filmed* shows either an artificially setup situation or a lack of judgement so deep that, had I been Coby, I would have fired him on the spot.


February 15th, 2010
12:23 pm

I was a manager for Hooter’s for several years, the server from Orlando comments are completly honest and accurate. I worked for Smokey Bones after Hooter’s. What a change to see how other (real) restaurants opperate. The concept is what it is. I still cannot think of a way a girl could make more money between the age of 18-24 without a college education, without taking her clothes off!


February 15th, 2010
12:24 pm

Dear Mr. Brooks,
I watched you on tv last night and have to tell you you certainly are NOT ceo material! You said on national television that you care about these girls correct? I suppose you really cared about them when you saw them being humiliated on national TV right? Ladies WAKE UP!! If he did this for ratings or money, your no better then he is by exposing yourselves to such humiliation,my pride is worth more to myself then any given amount of money! I have been in management for over 30 years sir and never once did I ever degrade someone, treat them like idiots or SEXUALLY HARRASS THEM, nor have I ever worked for a company that would condone this type of behavior! In the state of PA what Jimbo did to his employees is known as “Sexual Harrassment” in our state we have a ZERO tolerance policy each business has to display it out in the open for employees to utilize should they feel they are being harrassed in any way shape or manner, are there such postings in your restraunts? If so more of these people whom are subjected to such appauling behavior should make the phone call and report not only the manager of the stores, but also YOU for condoning it! Oh and by the way, you said you would encourage your own two girls to work at hooters? Hummmmm….. I wonder if you’d be outraged by your daughters being sexually exploited and harrassed seeings thats the type of managers you feel are a credit to your late fathers company! Wouldn’t he be proud!!

Dean Bellin

February 15th, 2010
12:27 pm

I have eaten for your company. I thought that your task was to see what is going on and make some improvements. After seeing what your result to simple slap Jimbo on the hands instead of TERMINATION and a visit to your (thugs) should have been involved. i will never eat at your place again and I hope you wrap the place down and sell your sauces to anyone. Obviously your dad should at least get a memory for his sauce obviously you proved that you still suck as a child at your age. You should have nailed jimbo and anyone else that ran managenment posistions should have been cleaned house without asking or inspecting. You make me sick!


February 15th, 2010
12:51 pm

Don’t get me wrong I love to enjoy the presence and charms of beautiful ladies, but I also believe that everyone deserves a little respect!!! I think old Jimbo should be fired on the spot, and I think mr. CEO needs to grow a set!! If I was there I would probably go to jail for wanting to whoop his ass myself, what a butt!!


February 15th, 2010
1:30 pm

Cody Brooks is ANYTHING BUT a CEO. He did everything wrong – demoted a good manager and kept the bad apples. Worst of all – he listened to his customers but interpreted their comments as meaning that more marketing is needed. Re-invention is needed!!!! This chain is stuck in a past era and is doomed to become another dinosaur. It couldn’t happen to a better guy!

For all women

February 15th, 2010
1:39 pm

You’re a jerk.

For all women

February 15th, 2010
1:40 pm

“you’re a jerk” is a response to “Chipper Jr.”

Chis Fatale

February 15th, 2010
1:40 pm

I was a manager for Hooter’s for five years, that spectical I watched last night did not even come close to some of the thing I witnesses. How about terminationg employees “because you no longer have the image you were hired for” i.e. you got fat. Regardless of length or quality of work. I’n my book that’s just wrong. They do it daily.

For all women

February 15th, 2010
1:42 pm

Good for Cody Brooks. I admire him for going undercover. I totally disagree that he let that obese sexist slob stay managing the Dallas franchise. SO COOL to see him caught!


February 15th, 2010
1:47 pm

I worked there for 3 years, the most girls I ever banged. I was amazed at what a girl would do to get her “schedule request”.

For all women

February 15th, 2010
1:48 pm

Right on “zo” YOU”RE a real man!

For all women

February 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

“sue” what’s you’re problem – jealous? Can’t stand Coby getting a business from dad, and why do you blame him for his divorce? Wake up! His wife could have been an horror to live with! What makes you think that marrying into a wealthy family makes you Princess Grace?! You sound like a bitter divorcee…

For all women

February 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

Jimmy you’re an ass, just like Jimbo. You’ll all get yours. As long as Jimbo is still “working.” you all in the area know where to find him. Take care of him, and THEN he can be fired.

Hooters Customer

February 15th, 2010
3:10 pm

Coby couldn’t fire Jimbo because he wasn’t his employee. Jimbo works for a franchise. That wasn’t explained well in the program. However, I agree Jimbo’s behavior certainly warranted termination.


February 15th, 2010
6:59 pm

This is an example of children failing when replacing a parent in a position of great importance. A large area of concern is all of those “V.P.s” sitting around the large wooden table. A dollar to a donut says they are running him around by his nose. Problem 1: The “marine” manager should have been demoted as any manager knows it takes more than a few hours to train someone. After riding Cody’s butt for a few hours he determined Cody couldn’t do the job. Problem 2: Even though Jimbo may not have been directly under him because of franchise agreement, due to potential civil liability, Cody could have insisted the Franchisee fire Jimbo or threaten a review of a violation of the franchise agreement. One more point on this— Jimbo should have been fired in the presence of the store employees and the apology should have been given by Cody on behalf of Hooters. Problem 3: Cody was told very plainly that there is a substantial problem with the Hooters image. Instead of honoring his potential customers by changing the uniforms etc., he blames the public for not being “educated” and commissions some in his “royal court” to come up with an educational promotion.
It is obvious that Cody is way over his head here. I wouldn’t be surprised if lawsuits are being drawn up as we speak.

Brenda Smith

February 15th, 2010
7:46 pm

the show undercover Boss The Hooter name also a wise owl logo.Why not put paper work on the customer tables and let them enter comments that may boost Hooter sales even people who don’t quite approve of Hooters using boobs and girls to make money may be able to add something you hooter people missed.I went there once for my 2 years old grandsons birthday (dads) choice.thank you.


February 15th, 2010
8:49 pm



February 16th, 2010
12:09 am

“February 15th, 2010
12:15 am
Any people with any kind of legal background out there that may have some input on this? My girlfriend and i watched the show and we can only guess that they couldn’t fire Jimbo for some legal/lawsuit related issue. ”

In response to the above, I am an attorney, and I will try to provide an answer to the best of my ability, without being privy to any signed releases and/or contracts that the parties made prior to the airing of this show. In my experience, the fact that “Jimbo” was not immediately placed on temporary leave by his direct supervisor after the CEO witnessed what took place,followed by a corporate procedural hearing (if in fact one exists), places the corporation in greater jeopardy of liability than allowing him to go back into his position. It appeared, however, from the show, that the corporation had been lacking in its legal training (during the executive meeting one of the men told Coby something about having to revamp the legal training). If the company does have a corporate manual and policy/procedure for employee/er relations in place (which it should have–but may not), then in order to avoid litigation from Jimbo, they would want to follow proper procedures as laid out in the Corporate policy before permanently firing him. However, by doing nothing, they run a much larger risk of facing a TITLE VII lawsuit based on sexual harrassment, hostile work environment–particularly after that show was aired. I say to Mr Coby–it is evident that your legal team is sub par–better get yourself a new set of lawyers my friend.


February 16th, 2010
11:19 am

Jimbo is the man! I’m changing my career thanks to this guy. Making those bit**es eat beans is classic. They want to be degraded or they would quit their job.


February 16th, 2010
11:28 am

They luv it!


February 16th, 2010
5:04 pm

Cris Fatale male me sick.


February 16th, 2010
5:05 pm

I mean really sick im going to email you at