Cinnabon president Kat Cole recently went on CBS reality show "Undercover Boss," and learned just how hard it is to remain incognito.
"In one [location] it was because the employee that I worked with showed me something that I signed for him," she explained to us. "So that was tough, because I really wanted to talk with him."
"And then there were other times where I just wanted to respond to the feedback employees were giving," said Cole, who at age 34, is the youngest-ever "boss" the show has featured.
For the show, which was taped during the summer, Cole went to various locations in four states — franchisee locations and a manufacturing plant. She couldn't go to corporate locations because they'd recognize her instantly, she explains.
"I wanted to ask them more questions, but the questions that I asked would make it very clear that I'm the one that runs the company," said Cole. "I had to act like I didn't know things so that they didn't know who I was."
Although Cole saw problems that needed to be addressed fast — such as physically small employees told to do tasks they shouldn't be doing — nothing came close to inspiring her to break her cover. During an appearance on the show, Checkers CEO Rick Silva famously got so mad at a manager that he revealed himself and shut down the restaurant on the spot.
"Any time I saw something that concerned me, I'd ask about it in an innocent way," said Cole. "At least at the locations that I worked, they had a really good answer and took care of it."
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