‘Undercover Boss’ Appearance by CEO of Bucks County-Based Rita’s Italian Ice Proves Fruitful
Most traffic control at an average Rita’s Italian Ice location involves keeping patrons patiently in line. But on a recent episode of Undercover Boss, CEO Linda Chadwick found herself addressing an actual road occurrence. Ryan Mulligan unmasked what happened for the Philadelphia Business Journal.
As part of her role-reversal reality-show experience, Chadwick took jobs at Rita’s locations in Michigan, New Jersey, and Florida. She passed herself off as a retired schoolteacher looking to supplement her income.
The Michigan location had just put in a drive-thru window, a change Chadwick championed as a modernization move. It was the first day of the new route, and the franchise owner had skipped installing the corporate signage to direct cars.
Worried about safety, Chadwick had to break character, informing the owner of her true identity to fix it.
The flow of cars wasn’t the only onsite problem. Chadwick felt the shop’s leader had “gone rogue,” changing corporate policies on operating hours and treating the store as a pseudo-daycare center (she was allowing her two children to have free reign there during the work day).
At her other shifts across the country, she encountered faulty technology, unused corporate information, and ancient equipment. One register’s keypad was so worn, the numbers on it were illegible.
There were, however, upsides to her time scooping and serving.
At the Florida site, she was shown the ropes by an employee with autism who had been hired through the franchisee’s commitment to employees with special needs. The CEO and the trainer have become professional acquaintances, with the former asking the latter to speak at the company’s annual convention.
The eye-opening sessions at the other locations also led to corporate support. Chadwick provided funding for store upgrades. She also helped the working mother with childcare solutions.
More on Linda Chadwick and her informative time behind the counter is in the Philadelphia Business Journal.
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