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Sandy Springs Cinnabon and CEO Kat Cole featured on ‘Undercover Boss’ Nov. 16

kat cole

Kat Cole, CEO of Sandy Springs' Cinnabon, dons a blonde wig to throw employees off the scent. CREDIT: CBS

If smells could waft from a TV, this Friday’s “Undercover Boss” on CBS could make your home seem like the local mall.

The concept of the CBS show hasn’t changed in its four seasons: A corporate bigwig dons a disguise to learn more about his or her company from the ground up.

In Friday’s installment, the show’s cameras luxuriate over the aromatic sticky, sweet buns from mall staple Cinnabon as the plot focuses on Kat Cole, chief executive officer of the Sandy Springs-based company.

But fooling employees has gotten more complicated as the show has grown more popular. In this case, “Undercover Boss” sets up Cole as a reality show contestant competing for funds to open her own cupcake shop. As a would-be entrepreneur, she spends a few days at Cinnabon to learn about running a business.

The brunette CEO dons a fake-looking blond wig and pretends to know very little about the company she runs in real life. Her employees appear to fall for the ruse, though a customer at one point whispers in her ear, “Is this ‘Undercover Boss’?”She laughs him off, saying, “I wish!”

cinnabonTo divert employee suspicions, the show hires a chipper pseudo-TV host.

“That threw them off,” Cole says. “They’re thinking, ’ ‘Undercover Boss’ doesn’t have a host. This can’t be ‘Undercover Boss’!’ It confused them enough.”

In many ways, “Undercover Boss” is an hour-long infomercial as long as the CEO acts professionally. In this case, Cole comes off as sweet as a Cinnabon.

And given her svelte figure, Cole says people frequently wonder if she even eats her own product: “I am an indulgent human being. I just love our product. The mini-buns are only 320 calories. And I get most of my exercise running around malls and airports.”

Cole, a Jacksonville native, was “Undercover Boss” before in a brief cameo when Coby Brooks, then-CEO of Atlanta-based Hooters was featured in 2010. She was a vice president for Hooters at the time. In fact, she was a Hooters girl in her younger days before moving into upper-level management in her mid-20s. Early in the episode, she even meets with Brooks to talk about his experience. He encouraged her to do the show and just be herself. “You’ll be a better person when it’s over,” he said. (Brooks left Hooters and now is helping out with a similar restaurant concept called Twin Peaks.)


“Undercover Boss,” 8 p.m. Friday, CBS

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12 comments Add your comment

Fred ™

November 14th, 2012
4:25 pm

I didn’t know Cinnabon was local. I may have to eat one now just to show my support for local businesses.


November 14th, 2012
5:17 pm

It didn’t start here, it just happens to be owned by a company located here. It started in Seattle.


November 14th, 2012
7:47 pm

Twin Peaks, Hooters…geez. Can we be any more demeaning to women? At least call one of your restaurants, Cajones.


November 14th, 2012
10:59 pm

DebDoes Dallas?


November 15th, 2012
8:56 am

Undercover Boss is a great show. It gets the CEOs of the companies to see things in their companies from a different point of view. They may have stared the company, but forgot about the various jobs they did to get to the top spot.

I would hope the Mrs. Kat Cole would learn from this experience. I hope that she remembers the people who don’t have the money and prestige she has earned, but whose contributions to her company should be recognized. I would hope that more CEOs would be put on the show with their companies.

Southside Steve Rickman

November 15th, 2012
9:07 am

Former Hooters Girl??? Yea C’Monnnnnnnn


November 16th, 2012
8:14 pm

How does one go from a college drop-out Hooters girl to vice president of Hooters in the first place???? And then to president of Cinabon?? Still with no college degree?? Really? (Or did she ultimately return to college???)


November 16th, 2012
8:31 pm

@fulmoonmajik Sometimes, actual work experience trumps hollow degrees. You can learn a lot more working somewhere for 4 years than being in class for 4 years. That said, her background says she attended Ga State Univ.


November 17th, 2012
11:59 am

For your information she has am MBA from Georgia State University, This young lady works 14-16 hours a day 6 and 7 days a week. She made it on hard work a dedication something that escapes most working adults today. It amazes me that people have to think that all successful ladies have slept their way tothe top. C T demonstrates that ignorence still surrounds us all..


November 17th, 2012
1:33 pm

Too bad her visits didn’t include Burger King locations which now “serve” Cinnabons.

After visits to 5 BK’s, not one had a decent ‘bon. Overcooked, cement icing and unworthy of eating.

Sorry – convenience of local BK will NOT give me a reason to buy lousy, and I mean, lousy, Cinnabons.

david cohen

November 17th, 2012
4:51 pm

i have for a number of years had type-2 diabitis. everything you sell in your stores will do harm to

my system . I have entered sometimes just to see if your “sugar on everything policy” has changed.

unforurnately not. there is another untapped market out there just waiting for a :plain -cinnabun

no sugar added in which you can make that many more people liking your porduct.


ps your undercover boss segment was vergood


November 18th, 2012
12:45 am

I also saw the episode and thought it was good because of what she did for those employees afterwards. I even had to have a Cinnabon the next day over at Burger King which in my opinion are just as good as the Cinnabons located in the food court malls.