Skip to Main Content
by Derek Loosvelt | February 16, 2010


The first episode of the new reality-television series "Undercover Boss" aired after the New Orleans Saints whooped the Indianapolis Colts in Super XLIV. If you stayed with CBS after the 45 commercials following the game in between post-game interviews and trophy presentations, you saw Waste Management President and COO Larry O'Donnell go incognito within the largest trash removal company in the country. Impersonating the lowest of the low employee at Waste Management, Larry sifted through garbage for recyclables, cleaned human waste from portable latrines with a huge hose, stabbed plastic bags in the wind, and rode shotgun in a garbage truck—all in the hopes of getting to know his company a little better.

Hooters CEO Coby BrooksDespite its severely condescending nature, the premiere was riveting and I take my hat off to whoever edited the footage of Larry impersonating the bluest of the blue-collar workers—it was a stroke of masterful emotional manipulation.

The second episode of "Undercover"—which aired this past Sunday night on Valentine’s Day when viewers across the nation cuddled up with loved ones to watch Hooters President and CEO Coby Brooks disguise himself as a would-be entry-level employee and fry up chicken wings in the kitchen, mix up hot sauce in a factory, and hang out with Hooters girls on the streets of Dallas—was a little less masterful in its heart-string pulling. But it did manage to get a few tears out of CEO Brooks, who came off as about as intelligent and skilled at managing a billion-dollar organization as one of the fried pickles that Hooters offers on its Hooterstizers menu.

In his defense, Coby doesn’t have it easy these days. His company has been struggling due to the recession and thus, as he explained" he's stuck with the difficult task of "having to bring new customers in without messing with the Hooters girl uniform."

Aside from learning that Coby had no clue that half of America believes the restaurant chain he is the CEO of is degrading to women, the most interesting part of episode No. 2 was learning about the history of Hooters. As Coby explained: "In 1983, in Clearwater, Florida, six individuals wanted a place that they could go and have beer and not get thrown out."


Filed Under: Finance