In the latest episode of Undercover Boss, David Kim (CEO of Baja Fresh) goes undercover to make sure the customer service provided is keeping up with the fast growth of the company. While working in the field, he hopes to uncover potential problems and recognize the people who solve those problems everyday. Not only does he get first hand experience at one of the nation’s largest restaurant chains, but he also connects with the employees who make his company run.
Here’s a statement from Baja Fresh CEO David Kim:
“I hope you enjoyed the Baja Fresh episode of Undercover Boss. I greatly enjoyed working on the front line and learning more about our great company and the hard work that occurs daily. The Baja Fresh family rocks even more than I already knew and I saw our guests are very passionate about our food. I also learned that making a Burrito Ultimo is about as easy as cutting your own hair – I’m lousy at it!”
Jobs that Baja Fresh CEO David Kim did while undercover:
He teams up with Jose (General Manager). The boss learns that there is much more to supervising than bossing people around. How will the boss react when tasked with the simplest job of mopping the floor? The boss will have to clean up his act in order to live up to the standards of this exemplary employee.
He partners with Anthony (Cashier). Customer service is key when it come to working the register. Can the boss handle the pressures of a long line let alone remember what’s on the menu? The boss is also moved to tears as he learns that the hard work of this employee goes far beyond the job.
He works with Rami (Store Manager). Part of the manager’s job is to maintain the quality of the food being produced by the restaurant. Will the boss step up to the tasks at hand when it comes to the safety of his employees and customers? Will the boss watch as things heat up or will he take matters into his own hands?
He collaborates with Carrie (Operations Manager). David Kim sees what it’s like to hit the streets as he heads out to set up lunch for businesses in the area. Is he ready for the lunch time rush. He also has an eye opening experience as he makes his first lunch delivery.
You can see the fill episode here.
Baja Fresh CEO David Kim on Undercover Boss
Baja Fresh CEO David Kim knows what it takes to build restaurant empires from the ground up. And on the CBS’s hit series “Undercover Boss,” Kim showed America what it means to give back when he offered a Baja Fresh franchise (valued at more than $50,000) and personal mentoring to Las Vegas general manager Jose Manzanarez. The gift was among the biggest in the show’s history.
“America is the greatest country on the planet,” said Kim, who came to the United States from South Korea. “I wanted to give the Baja Fresh family a piece of the American Dream I’ve been blessed to experience. Giving ignites success. I tell our employees, ‘Don’t follow your dreams—chase them!’”
Baja Fresh, the fast-casual Mexican pioneer known for its fire-grilled hormone-free chicken and all-natural steak, now operates or franchises 255 Baja Fresh restaurants in 24 states and Dubai. David Kim said he wanted to go on CBS’s hit show to reconnect with employees and to ensure that the company’s passion for freshness—Baja Fresh maintains a strict “no can openers, no freezers, no microwaves” policy in its restaurants—is being carried out. The executive says he was extremely pleased with what he saw.
David Kim is known for his unorthodox leadership style. The author of “Ignite!: The 12 Values That Fuel Billionaire Success” and the CEO of multiple food brands, including Sweet Factory and La Salsa, Kim refuses to carry a smart phone and foregoes a cushy executive corner office, instead working out of a small cubicle alongside other staff at Baja Fresh headquarters. “People are what matter most,” said Kim. “Fancy phones and huge mahogany-walled executive offices separate leaders from what matters most in business—people.”
For his stint on “Undercover Boss” Kim worked with Manzanarez, Rami Mohammed Abuelhawa, a general manager, Carrie McCharness, a district manager, and Anthony Abinuman, a cashier. Like Manzanarez, each earned a reward from Kim for dedicated service to Baja Fresh: Abuelhawa of Mesa, Arizona received $5,000 toward his education and another $5,000 for a vacation with his father and a year’s mentoring from Kim; McCharness, based in Boise, Idaho, received $5,000 for her business-building ideas and $7,500 for her daughter’s education; and Abinuman, who works at the Cypress, California Baja Fresh location, received $15,000 to support his family and $2,500 for his uncle’s ministry. “I always believed in the benefits of eating well, being active and making contributions to the communities in which we live. But being a CEO has so much more to do with people than with business,” said Kim. “Going undercover merely reminded me of all the reasons I am so passionate about the Baja Fresh family and the guests we serve.”