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Friday, April 16, 2021

‘Undercover Boss’ CEO awards employee with breast implants in controversial show

Emily Yahr (c) 2014, The Washington Post. Dear CBS: When you have an “Undercover Boss” showcasing a Texas-based sports bar called Bikinis, starring a CEO who awards one employee with breast implants and fires another for not wearing a bikini on camera, why would you bury that episode in late December? That has sweeps written all over it!

Maybe it was because the network anticipated some backlash for its Emmy Award-winning, normally feel-good show, which sends a CEO “undercover” to see what’s really going on in a large business. Generally at the end, the boss awards an undervalued employee with a cash bonus or other prize, and there are happy tears for everyone involved. This time, it was a very special episode starring Bikinis CEO Doug Guller, an entrepreneur who craves attention and says things like “We’re a breastaurant. And I love the fact that we’re a breastaurant.”

“We focus on four things: Booze, food, sports and sex. Those four things are recession proof,” Guller explained, adding that the motto of the store (where the required waitress uniform is a bikini top, jean shorts and cowboy boots) is “sports with a view.” Cue the camera zooming in on one woman’s cleavage. “It’s obvious what gets our fans in the door. It’s our breasts. Not necessarily our chicken breasts.”

Guller explained that his servers work under the title of Bikini Babes. “We hire hot women, they know exactly what we’re all about,” he explained.

As you might imagine, this was an episode made for controversy. And mission accomplished. Guller, disguised as a bartender named Jake for the whole show, later revealed his identity and fired a bartender named Jessica, whom he immediately disliked when he saw she was wearing a t-shirt behind the bar. The reason: She was uncomfortable that there were cameras in the restaurant and refused to wear her bikini top.

“When I see that Jessica’s not in a bikini top, I was pissed,” Guller told the camera later, not addressing the fact that cameras were only there because of him.

During the show, Jessica also confided in “Jake” that she was looking to quit the first chance she got. So Guller pounced on her “lack of passion” for the job to fire her. Aggravating factors included her alleged overserving of one customer at the bar; plus the whole lack-of-bikini-top thing.

So at the end of the episode, when he revealed his true identity as CEO, he informed Jessica it was her last day on the job. “I’m sorry, Jessica, it’s not working out,” he said sadly. “Just so you know, I know a lot of people in Austin and Dallas. So I can really get your resume out there.”

Jessica wasn’t having it. “I’ll be sure to go to the guy … who just fired me, to help me get a new job,” she fumed before storming out of the room.

Later, he took a much different approach with a server named Grace, who admitted that she had been fired four or five times already for not showing up for work, and also killed downtime by playing on her phone. But Guller was impressed that when the restaurant was dead, she took the initiative to go outside and hula-hoop to attract customers. Plus, she loved the uniform.

“I love prancing around in a bikini, and as soon as I saw the outfit, I was down for it,” Grace told Guller-as-Jake. “The only thing I’ d change about the outfit is to make my boobs a little bigger, and that’ s about it.”

“I was really happy with what I saw today. I think Grace is full of energy. She’ s positive,” Guller raved to the camera. “There was a few areas where I think she lacked focus. But if Grace is given a little bit more training, I think that she can correct these problems, absolutely.”

At the end of the episode, he chided her for the phone issues, but told her that she was the “model” Bikini Babe. As a result, he was giving her a promotion to help with marketing and another special prize dealing with an “issue” she mentioned.

“Am I getting a free pair of boobies today?” Grace asked excitedly.

“Is that what you want?” Guller asked.

“Yes, I want a full C,” Grace confirmed.

“So I’ll make you a deal,” Guller said. “If you can make it through six months and you’re a rock star … I’m gonna put you in touch with the best guy in town, and we’ll make this happen.”

An inspirational tune swelled on the soundtrack. “I’m so flattered that he thinks I’m a model Bikini Babe,” Grace beamed. “I’m going to have new boobies, this just makes my job so much easier. Like, I don’ t even have to talk as much. They do all the talking.”

Guller also gave a kitchen supervisor named Henry a 30 percent raise and a $10,000 so he could take a vacation with his family. In addition, he gifted a supervisor named Megan by kickstarting her insurance and paying for her daughter’s medical care, along with another $10,000 for a new place to live. But thanks to his previous deeds on the episode, guess what the only takeaway will be?

Chances are, Guller won’t care: He just got free advertising with millions of viewers. “I just want to sell more burgers and more beers,” he said. “And if I have to do that via stunts, so be it.”

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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