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Checkers CEO appears on ‘Undercover Boss’

Checkers CEO appears on ‘Undercover Boss’



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Rick Silva, chief executive of Checkers Drive-in Restaurants Inc., appears Feb. 17 on the CBS reality television program “Undercover Boss.”

While the show features Silva working in restaurants in disguise and revealing himself at the end, he flips the script on what viewers typically see on the show when he temporarily closes one of the restaurants after finding the location’s general manager to be running his shift below operational standards.

Aside from that instance, he said the rest of his time as a team member was a positive, enlightening experience.

“I was incredibly motivated by the people we saw in the eight days I [filmed the episode],” Silva said. “One of the employees who trained me at a brand new prototype in Mobile, Ala., named Johanna has all the capacity to become a great manager. As a result of my learnings there, we’re trying to find more people like her. As we grow at the pace we have, the ability to find people like her is key.”

The Tampa, Fla.-based Checkers Drive-in Restaurants Inc. operates or franchises 800 Checkers and Rally’s quick-service restaurants in the United States.

Chief development officer Jennifer Durham said the national reach of “Undercover Boss,” as well as the social media activity it generates, gives Checkers more legitimacy and awareness to customers and potential franchisees.

“Since commercials for Rick’s episode started airing last Sunday [Feb. 12], we’ve had double the normal numbers of franchise inquiries,” she said.

Silva spoke with Nation’s Restaurant News about how his experience has inspired new corporate programs from the unit level.

Why did you go undercover?

We are very excited to tell our story about growing revenues, profits and unit counts. The success we’ve had the past five years has come in large part from a dramatic change in our operations standards and in our menu. I was incredibly proud to see these employees train me flawlessly and to see the changes we’ve made absolutely are driving results.

What happened with the unit you had to close?

This one restaurant had a brand new general manager, just put in the position, and he wasn’t running the restaurants to the standards we expect. There was nothing posing a danger to our employees or guests, but his tone with his team members was different, too terse. I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t prepared to run that shift and wasn’t convinced that when I walked away the restaurant would provide the level of service we need. Employees need to hear the kind of leadership I expect, and general managers need to provide support and coaching. We closed the unit down during that Sunday night shift temporarily. The next morning, it reopened with a new manager, and it’s been running fantastic since then.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


'Undercover Boss': Fatburger CEO Andy Wiederhorn Finds Franchise Half-Cooked

Andrew "Andy" Wiederhorn knows a thing or two about second chances. After becoming a millionaire before the age of 30, Wiederhorn pleaded guilty to tax return fraud charges and spent 14 months in jail. Since then, he became CEO of Fatburger, the Los Angeles-based fast food chain and turned it into a sizzling enterprise, with 150 restaurants worldwide.

So perhaps it's not surprising that as the latest CEO to appear on " Undercover Boss," Wiederhorn took to heart the troubles that an employee reported at a Mesa, Ariz., franchise. Posing as "Myron Leeds," a former real estate agent appearing on a "second chances" reality show, Wiederhorn visited the Fatburger restaurant and found that the franchise was a mess.

Angelica, an assistant manager, showed that the faucets in the kitchen couldn't be turned off. Sales were at an all-time low too, Wiederhorn conceded on-camera. And to top it off, the franchise -- which is part of a company that brings in $100 million in revenue a year and is looking to expand to 200 more locations -- has failed to pay its workers. "By the time we get our paychecks, there's no money in the bank," Angelica reported to "Leeds." (As seen in the video above.)


While speaking to "Leeds" during a break outside the franchise, Angelica also described in detail the problematic culture at her workplace. "The only time we see the owner is when something is broken," she told him. There's no positive reinforcement: The manager "doesn't come around see how we're doing." And then the ultimate blow in Angelica's list of grievances: "It's like I am working for you -- but why?"

Wiederhorn, for his part, seemed to take the criticism seriously. So in the reveal at the end of the show, he took the extraordinary step of inviting Angelica's manager, franchise owner Marcus, onto the set. And Marcus didn't put up a fight. "I don't want to let you down anymore," he told the assistant manager.

As a way of helping to boost the franchise, Wiederhorn told Marcus that he'd forgive a debt of around $50,000 that he owed him. And then he also told Angelica that he would pay for her tuition so that she could attend nursing school, as well as give her a $10,000 bonus toward a honeymoon. (She's barely been able to take a vacation in the two-plus years she's been with Fatburger, which is about the same time that she's been married.)

Such showdowns between workers and managers are central to of the DNA of "Undercover Boss," now well into its fourth season. But most of the time they are between the workers and the CEO. Sometimes they are initiated by the boss, as when Checkers and Rally's CEO Rick Silva decided on the spot to shut down a poor-performing branch in Florida, then gave its workers a stern lecture. At other times, the showdowns are initiated by the workers themselves, as when Philly Pretzel CEO Dan DiZio forgot that he already had met with one husband-and-wife team of franchise owners, and they had to remind him of the meeting.

Wiederhorn's choice to side with and advocate for his worker against middle management was a rare moment on the show. Less rare was what happened during Wiederhorn's other site visits on the episode.

As was the case with DiZio of Philly Pretzel, Wiederhorn was outed during his first site visit to a franchise in Sherman Oaks, Calif., close to the company's headquarters. Val, who's worked in the business of making hamburgers for 29 years, put it bluntly: "You look like the president of Fatburger . like a brother." Wiederhorn couldn't help but out himself.

And the generosity of the boss, which some critics of the show deride as a public relations ploy, was also on display. During one site visit, Wiederhorn worked with Ramon as a baker technician in Carson, Calif., which basically involves assessing the quality of buns at a company warehouse.


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