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

Recap of ‘Undercover Boss’ featuring Atlanta-based Hooters

Hooter CEOIn the second episode of CBS’s “Undercover Boss,” Hooters CEO Coby Brooks’ experience was comparable to that of the Waste Management CEO week one. But he didn’t have to clean toilets.

The Atlanta-based company got an hour of primetime exposure, ceding editorial control to CBS producers. As a woman told an undercover Brooks that she thinks the chain is “degrading to women,” I can’t imagine this will change their minds.

But I don’t think it made Hooters look any worse. In fact, it may  help Hooters short term by getting people to think about the chain and consider eating there.

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Brooks comes across as humble and calm. Nobody detects him. He shaves his goatee, wears glasses and pretends to be part of a documentary about entry-level jobs. Day one, he tries to be a busboy and fails miserably before a former Marine/cop Dave who mocks him incessantly (but amusingly.)

On day two, he hangs with Ashley and Brittney on the streets of Dallas doing promotions. There, he hears first hand the positive and negative feelings people have about the chain. He eventually puts the girls on a PR campaign that Hooters girls are… people! And Hooters gives to the community. Again, as long as the Hooters girls wear what they wear, no PR campaign is going to cause certain feminists to suddenly want to become patrons.

Day three is the most interesting because Brooks meets store manager Jimbo (yes, they call the guy Jimbo), a burly guy who likes to fling rubber bands and spin trays on his finger. He seems a bit immature. And he treats the gals without a great deal of respect. He “inspects” them every day in an uncomfortably leering way. When he holds a contest for girls to leave early, he has them eat a plate of beans without using their hands.

Brooks watches, embarrassed. “The things I saw today,” he told the show, “were inappropriate. They were wrong and I don’t want any part of it… the way he approached the girls was not acceptable.”

Jimbo does not get fired. He gets reprimanded. The show says he has changed his management style.

On day four, Brooks plays assistant manager to another store manager Marcee, a single mom struggling to balance work with home life. She comes across as stern but respectful and nurturing. It helps she used to be a Hooters girl. He eventually gives her a paid vacation and she takes a less stressful job.

Day five, he hangs in Atlanta at the Naturally Fresh factory, where his dad used to have an office. (His father, who helped build the operation, died in 2006.). One employee, who got there after Coby’s dad died, tells Coby that employee morale is down and that people “hate” the son. Ouch! For some reason, the show does not really address how Brooks is going to help improve morale there. Oddly, he admits not having visited the factory since he was 16. I suspect he delegated that operation and didn’t pay any attention.

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121 comments Add your comment

CBS Sucks

February 16th, 2010
7:31 pm

I really enjoyed last week’s Undercover Boss, but this week’s was an absolute joke! That Coby was guy is an absolute joke, no real changes!?!? His big thing about the degradation of women, was hey how about let’s do a marketing campaign to show people what Hooter’s girls do in the community. Give me a break, what a joke. That Coby guy has no spine, is a joke of a CEO, and NO Coby, your father is not looking down giving you a wink, he’s looking down and seeing what a spineless dolt he has for a son!

Liz

February 17th, 2010
10:17 am

I think the way people judge is pitiful. I was googling some stuff because I went to college with Coby. I will not be back on here because it is quite disheartening to read the judging made by so many people. None of us are in a place to judge. We really need to realize that what you see on TV and hear in the news is not always the truth, and rarely the whole truth. I have experienced this type of thing personally….people personally attacking my family behind the internet, etc. How do we really know if Mr. Brooks can fire Jimbo? The girls CHOOSE to work there. The girls are not FORCED to wear those uniforms. If we want to say that – then aren’t we all forced to wear “uniforms” to work? I wouldn’t say Hooters is for families; you know what type of place you are entering if you go there…so, if it offends you – don’t go. Just like if going to a strip club offends you – don’t go. If drinking alcohol offends you, don’t go to a bar.

People always judge and make comments as if it is so easy to do this and do that. We don’t know what the corporate rules are for firing….but, I do know that most companies cannot just fire someone without attempting to help the employee fix the problem. It got that way because of so many lawsuits filed by people who were fired without being given a chance to improve.

Who cares why he is divorced? Just because he was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be put in the position he is in doesn’t mean he did something wrong to get divorced and doesn’t mean he is a male chauvenist or likes slutty girls. Geez. More than half of the American population is divorced – do we all deserve to have the reasons published or discussed on the internet?

I think it is too bad reality shows ever got started.

Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes!!

EricaLangeIsIgnorant

February 17th, 2010
12:15 pm

@Erica Lange

What the ^#@&$! is a “shovenist”?

jack mc

February 17th, 2010
3:29 pm

Pam

February 17th, 2010
5:11 pm

I am with most of you out there, Jimbo (Dumbo) should have been fired. NO, IF, ANDS OR BUTS. He may overtime change his behavior but he will go back to his old ways, if he can act that way on camera then think of how it will be when this all dies down. The ladies make great tips I am sure, but, DUMBO should go, go, go.

Downhill fast

February 17th, 2010
10:59 pm

Hooters used to be wonderful as a kid growing up, but they have let quality, service and “top notch girls with good service go” The girls are stuck up now and over rated……. I am over them and I go BW3’s all day long much better (Buffalo Wild Wings). Its a shame too.

Troy Laack

February 18th, 2010
4:48 am

Hooters and CBS did their jobs from what I can see from the postings on this site. Hooters got a lot of PR and people buzzing about the chain. I don’t know what the ratings were, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s up from the Waste Management piece. Hooters is all about boobs and booty. Just take a look at Hooters.com. Hooters has an annual swimsuit pageant and the winner takes home $50,000. Hooters sells all kinds of products – magazine, calendars, DVDs, mouse pads, etc. – all featuring, you guessed it – T&A! The Web site even has a “Hall of Fame” where you can download a Hooters babe in a bikini for your computer’s wall paper. Why would a woman want to work at Hooters? It’s all about the money. Hooters is kind of like Playboy or Hustler – just a little more covered up – or an expanded version of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition – except that you can eat while you get an eyeful or flirt with a waitress. Jimbo, real or fake, isn’t going to make a dent in the Hooters target audience – horney men who like to drink beer, eat and watch sports. “Undercover Boss” probably helped the firm to increase its clientelle. From a business standpoint, it was probably a pretty smart move. And CBS, hey, they got you to turn off the Olympics for an hour at least. What I think is sad is that America is all about Reality TV, the Olympics, Hooters, Facebook, boycots, etc. Meanwhile, thousands are still homeless in New Orleans’ 9th Ward from Hurricane Katrina four years ago; the numbers of human suffering are staggering when you talk about the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean; and the aid for Haiti earthquake victims is all locked up in Port-au-Prince – little to none of it’s being distributed. But you don’t see any of those stories on the networks, in the media or the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And you don’t see it in any of the blogs either or comments either. But, hey, let’s all sing, “We Are the World,” pat ourselves on the back and get back to thumping our chests over guys like Jimbo and companies like Hooters. It’s a sick country and a hurting world.

Cindy

February 18th, 2010
3:34 pm

I got a response back from Hooter’s about Jimbo. It reads as follows:

Hooters of America, Inc and our franchisee Texas Wings, Inc., appreciate your concerns about a manager’s treatment of Hooters Girls in Texas during “Undercover Boss.” We agree with those concerns and agree that Coby Brooks, the President and CEO of Hooters of America, Inc. would have dealt with the manager immediately except the CBS contact requirements and the realities of “reality TV” did not allow for this result. The Company believes that you are entitled to know the following:

1.Hooters of America and Mr. Brooks were bound by a complex legal agreement with CBS not to disclose anything about the contents of the show, including the name of the owner of the restaurant; Texas Wings, Inc. Coming out of the Undercover role to discipline the manager in some way would have violated the CBS agreement. Now that the show has aired discussion is possible.

2.The manager in question resigned from his duties as an employee of Hooters and has left to pursue other options outside the Hooters system.

3.Texas Wings is the largest franchisee of Hooters of America and successfully operates 42 Hooters throughout Texas. Hooters of America is confident that the Texas stores are among the best managed and most successful in the Hooters system.

Hooters has a longstanding and highly effective policy protecting employees from all harassment. Hooters of America and Texas Wings are confident the incident portrayed on Undercover Boss is in no way representative of conduct within the Hooters system, which employs over 25,000 people at 460 restaurants in 42 states and 27 countries.

We appreciate your interest in Hooters and look forward to seeing you in one of our neighborhood restaurants soon. Have a great day.

Sincerely,

Avery
Hooters Hotline…We give a Hoot!

P.S. Please retain your Thread ID in the message body. This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

Jimbo is gone……

Michelle

February 18th, 2010
5:40 pm

The reports are true about it all being staged. Any employee or former employee can tell the difference between the atmosphere of the restaurant before the doors open and when the lunch rush is over. I also confirmed it with some of my Arlington friends. Should Jimbo thought twice before going along w/ it – yes. But when there is pressure from your CEO to “play along” what are you gonna do? They all knew it was Coby and it was all a big scam for ratings and to get Hooters name out there. I’ll bet your dad is proud of you Coby. I am embarrased for everyone who went along with it.

Michelle

February 18th, 2010
5:43 pm

Cindy – yes we have all heard that song and dance. Blah Blah Blah… Hooters can’t fix this one. The internet is a powerful tool. It only took a few days for the REAL truth to come out. Jimbo left because of the backlash, understandably. He was their puppet. He was a beloved stand up good guy managers who because of the show no longer works for a company he spent over a decade working for. poor judgement on everyone’s behalf.

Jennifer

February 19th, 2010
9:18 am

The girls who work there are young and ignorant. Most will no doubt feel different once they have children, especially a daughter! What Coby needs to do is to cover up their butts and breasts, and more families will definitely go in. The restaurant sell sex, that’s a fact, and is involves in sexual harassment towards these young women, whether they realize it or not. No decent mother or father will want to subject their kids to that. We would rather send our kids to college and have them get a part time job at a university. For Exploited-Hooters girls who can’t afford college, tell them to log into “Federal Pell Grant Program” to apply for money which will help them with their tuition.. And keep them from exploiting themselves and BEING exploited. Start using using your BRAIN not your BUTTS! Remember you will have to put this job on your resume!!

rob

February 20th, 2010
12:14 pm

I have only been to Hooters a handful of times, but I can’t say the food was great. I can say the girls worked very hard and were personable. Some things to point out, the “CEO” cannot fire the manager, but can apply serious penalties on the franchisee. The corporate policies are not the same as what each franchisee has in place, since it is technically a separate business paying to use the brand. When anyone applies to work for Hooters they should already know what kind of restaurant they are going to work for. Hooters has had a lawsuit before from a male applying for a waiter position and did not get hired(EOE, I don’t think so). Just the uniforms alone can be considered sexual harassment. Firing and hiring employees based on their looks may be immoral, but it is not illegal. Hooters most likely did this show as a publicity stunt to make “guys” wonder what these girls are really like. No one can be forced to do anything they don’t “want” to do. I worked at one place in almost 20 years that the owner treated the female employees this way, I was a supervisor. I informed them of their rights and argued with the owner over the treatment for one month trying to defend the women and improve the situation to no avail. I quit after no change was made, business dropped 10%. After 2 months one of the other partners finally found out about the treatment and other issues and forced him into a buy out. The business and treatment got better while several women filed suits against the previous owner. The face of a company not only affects its’ own appearance, it also affects the appearance of the people who continue to work there.

ShopCrumbs.com

February 20th, 2010
10:48 pm

What a shame! Is this Jimbo for real? Coby should of fired that guy on the spot!

berme

February 21st, 2010
9:19 pm

this show is so fake but fun to watch

[...] Even in Hooters’ corporate home town they’re less than thrilled – just read  Rodney Ho of Access Atlanta. [...]

HootersResponse

February 22nd, 2010
2:35 pm

I wrote to hooters and received this response this morning.. I only edit the “Dear…” part

Hooters of America, Inc and our franchisee Texas Wings, Inc., appreciate your concerns about a manager’s treatment of Hooters Girls in Texas during “Undercover Boss.” We agree with those concerns and agree that Coby Brooks, the President and CEO of Hooters of America, Inc. would have dealt with the manager immediately except the CBS contact requirements and the realities of “reality TV” did not allow for this result. The Company believes that you are entitled to know the following:

1.Hooters of America and Mr. Brooks were bound by a complex legal agreement with CBS not to disclose anything about the contents of the show, including the name of the owner of the restaurant; Texas Wings, Inc. Coming out of the Undercover role to discipline the manager in some way would have violated the CBS agreement. Now that the show has aired discussion is possible.

2.The manager in question resigned from his duties as an employee of Hooters and has left to pursue other options outside the Hooters system.

3.Texas Wings is the largest franchisee of Hooters of America and successfully operates 42 Hooters throughout Texas. Hooters of America is confident that the Texas stores are among the best managed and most successful in the Hooters system.

Hooters has a longstanding and highly effective policy protecting employees from all harassment. Hooters of America and Texas Wings are confident the incident portrayed on Undercover Boss is in no way representative of conduct within the Hooters system, which employs over 25,000 people at 460 restaurants in 42 states and 27 countries.

We appreciate your interest in Hooters and look forward to seeing you in one of our neighborhood restaurants soon. Have a great day.

Sincerely,

Avery
Hooters Hotline…We give a Hoot!

Susie

February 26th, 2010
2:37 pm

The Waste Management episode was honorable with the results, scripted or not, but the Hooters episode was a disgrace to women and good managers. I don’t care if people say he was a good person, there were way too many small character traits that showed through which showed Jimbo is not management material. To have a just a talk with him was wrong, he deserved to be fired and no human should be treated like this in order to just leave early. Not good management, and Coby Brooks needs to learn how to be a real CEO.

Nah

February 27th, 2010
4:00 am

It seemed to me that Marcee was actually fired or demoted, and this was skillfully edited out of the show. The editors chose to paint a narrative where the boss is sincerely looking to understand the minions and that Marcee is competent. Perhaps. But perhaps another narrative is also true, one in which the boss sees a manager who can’t cut it and finds a nice way to give her the kiss off and this is all edited out to make the boss seem like a good guy rather than a ruthless businessman. Who knows, maybe the CEO even has some editorial say in the show.

Dave

March 5th, 2010
12:54 pm

If you want to see what the corporations attitude really is, just look at the “bumps” sign on the wall of the corporate boardroom.

Will

March 13th, 2010
2:21 am

Getting worked up over this TV show is like getting worked up over who chose who on the Bachelor. Corporations get some free publicity. Generally these are the corporations that are experiencing some sort of public image problem and really can’t be hurt by putting a human face on their lowly employees – hence the focus on businesses dealing with trash, corner stores, fast food, etc. It’s just separate wings of the same corporate world jerking each other off. The premise of the show sounded interesting, but the execution came packaged in much the same way everything else is packaged – artificial and phony.

The guy Jimbo? Never met the guy, so I can’t really have an opinion on him. Wanting someone fired over 5 minutes worth of TV content where we have no idea of the circumstances. Maybe he was put up to it? Maybe he was acting for the camera? Maybe he’s a massive a-hole and should have been fired? But I’d never want to have someone judge whether I go home with or without a job based on some few minutes on a TV show.

zzzaxxx

March 14th, 2010
8:26 pm

Hooters is crap……..but that aside……..Anyone else notice that women who “find something degrading to women” usually have no shot at doing it? You don’t see Victoria’s Secret models complaining about beauty contests being demeaning, do ya?