'Undercover Boss': Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim in for a rude shock as he visits franchises in disguise

From poor safety and hygiene standards to displeasure with the updated menu, Smoothie King CEO saw it all from his employees while he visited the franchises in disguise


                            'Undercover Boss': Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim in for a rude shock as he visits franchises in disguise
Wan Kim (CBS)

Smoothie King might be very popular for its healthy and refreshing smoothies, but the popular food chain's CEO, Wan Kim, is determined to make his smoothie bars more popular than McDonald's. In order to accomplish such a lofty goal, Kim has to keep regularly introducing new strategies and items on the menu to ensure that its customer base remains loyal, while new customers continue to be drawn in. So Kim has been busy doing that, from introducing a new line of smoothies called slim blends, whose USP is that these beverages are under 350 calories per serving, and another range called wellness blends, where fresh and organic produce is used to create smoothies.

While Kim is extremely pleased with his strategies and changes to driving in more business, he is however curious to know how his employees feel, and the customers' thoughts on these new changes. So, he decides to go in the guise of a failed fashion retailer named Sung Lee and visits some of his franchises to get honest, unfiltered views of his employees. The things that Sung Lee found out while he was undercover left him feeling shocked and surprised at the way things were operating in the franchises.

In the first franchise he visited, he interacted with store manager Skylar. Skylar left Sung Lee surprised and unhappy when he wrote off all the new changes introduced by the owner. The manager felt that the customers weren't too pleased with the new items on the menu and preferred the older ones. He also blamed the owner for messing with what was working perfectly fine, and thus affecting the revenue of the store. When Sung Lee heard such harsh feedback about his strategies, he was taken aback but decided to work on them. Sung Lee learned an important lesson that before introducing any new, major changes, the employees would have to be told about it first, and also explained about the importance of these changes, and the expected advantages of these new changes. 

When he visited another franchise, he was shocked to see that the store didn't have enough equipment to adhere to the protocols and standards set by Smoothie King. Wan was unhappy to see how the shortage of the basic equipment was causing undue stress on the employees and adversely impacting the business. He was also not satisfied with the basic infrastructure and hygiene of the store. Wan addressed these concerns by reaching out to the franchise owner and setting a deadline to ensure that the store adheres to all the standards and protocols to continue its operations. By the end of his undercover mission, Wan was left feeling humbled and grateful. He was glad to have interacted with the employees first-hand, and received such rich insights into the operations, which he otherwise would have never known from his CEO office.

'Undercover Boss' Season 10 airs every Friday at 9/8c on CBS.

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