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'Undercover Boss' visits 'Moe's Southwest Grill' for a reality check

Moe's Southwest Grill, Altlanta, Georgia
Moe's Southwest Grill, Altlanta, Georgia
Wikimedia Commons

In last night's episode of "Undercover Boss," Paul Damico, the president of "Moe's Southwest Grill" went undercover in some of his restaurants. He was posing as a reality contestant who wanted to open his own restaurant and was learning the ropes from the employees. The employees will give feedback as to whether or not he should win.

Moe's was founded in Atlanta, Ga. in 2000, with over 500 locations. His role as president is to bring enthusiastic people to Moe's and from an experience, he had growing up, he feels that employees are the most important part of his business. When his brother was very ill and required a liver transplant, they had two hours to get from Long Island, N.Y. to Pittsburgh, Pa. The drive took six hours, and his father's boss from Grumman Aerospace sent his plane to get them there in time for his transplant. He has been inspired since then to treat employees like family.

When his wife and three daughters saw his disguise, they were surprised, and sent him on his way to his first destination in Fort Myers, Fla. with the shift supervisor Tito, a nineteen year old, who recently became a shift supervisor. Tito was not at all personable to a new employee and constantly criticized his actions. Paul looks forward to the day when Tito finds out just who he is.

Next he was in Charleston, S.C. to work with a seasoned manager named Angelisa. She greeted him and showed him how to work the register. She was more personable, and exceeded the company standards for treating customers like family. She is a single mother of two children, and Paul got to meet them in the restaurant.

Paul felt grateful for getting the opportunity to go undercover and meet his employees first hand to see how they acted throughout their day.

Next in Columbia, S.C., to work with one of their catering directors. Right now catering consists of only 8% of their sales, and they want to take it up significantly. Here he met with Janet, to help her set up a 50-person catering order that they are taking out of the restaurant. Janet was interested in Paul and asked him questions about his prior restaurant experience. She told him how she knew with the right marketing; their catering business could skyrocket. Paul was impressed with Janet's organizational skills, and customer interaction. Then they went to businesses to introduce the Moe's catering concept. Janet let Paul do the next introduction to the catering brand, and he almost blew his cover when he introduced himself as Paul, instead of Mark. However, the promo went well and Janet was impressed, but not as impressed as he was with her marketing skills.

The fourth job was in Nashville, Tenn. He met with Damon, a line worker. Now he would learn how to set up before the restaurant opened and keep it going during the day. This is the boot camp of the operation, and Damon will show him the ropes. Damon was a great teacher and revealed that he had custody of his 10-year-old daughter. He told Paul how he pulled himself up from living in his car and now has the daughter he loves. Actually, she was in the restaurant because he did not have a babysitter. She loves to read and is the reason Damon gets up each day. Paul thought of his daughters and how he wants the best for them, then remembered his father's love for his family.

Now the employees will be summoned to the Miami Culinary Institute to vote for Paul. All but Tito thought he deserved to win. Nevertheless, Paul was doing the interviewing, and nobody recognized him. Damon then guessed that it was "Undercover Boss."

When Paul spoke to Tito, he reprimanded his skills, and gave him a second chance. Tito explained that when he was promoted, the staff did not take him seriously, and he had to use a different approach. Paul will fly Tito to Atlanta to train him properly.

Janet was given $10,000 and will fly to San Antonio with her husband in January of 2014 to "Moe's Southwest Grill" worldwide conference. She will be working with the director of catering to put together a symposium to share with the Moe's caterers around the world. He also gave her $5,000 to shop for clothes that will make her look like a rock star.

Angelisa is a one-in-a-million manager. He will be sending her to Atlanta to meet with their executive chef regarding a dessert menu for Moe's. He is giving her $15,000 and when she is ready to get her bachelor's degree, he will pay for it. He is also giving her $40,000 to put $20,000 in each of the children's college funds.

Damon is the greatest trainer. He took time to show Paul how to do what is needed to keep the behind-the-scenes action going in the restaurant. Paul shared how his father's boss helped his family when his brother needed the transplant. Now he can pay it forward. He is giving him $15,000 to get a reliable car and $20,000 for dependable daycare for his daughter. He also gave him $20,000 to start her college fund, so she can have the education she deserves. Damon told Paul that he recognized something in him that was special, but never expected it to be so special.

In the weeks following, Tito is grateful for a second chance, will be attending training. Angelisa was recently engaged and will be spending some of the money on the wedding of her dreams. Janet will be presenting some wild and crazy catering ideas when she returns from her shopping spree. Damon hired a great caregiver for his daughter and is shopping for a new SUV all thanks to "Undercover Boss."


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