Most corporate titans have no idea what it’s like to work in the trenches. But that’s not the case with 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto. Last year he did something radical. He spent a month undercover, posing as a new employee and learning the ropes. He made coffee, mopped the floor, and pulled the hotdogs from the roller-grill when they turned a week old. But let’s not give the man too much credit. His stint of real work was caught on camera for a new CBS reality show, “Undercover Boss.” In a recent interview with Oprah, he described the experience as “eye-opening and definitely enlightening.” He also used the feel-good sitdown to shine some positive publicity on his company. DePinto singled out one hardworking employee he met while undercover and awarded him with a free 7-Eleven franchise. Quite a prize, since a typical 7-Eleven franchise sells for about $140,000. (Now that’s what we call a convenience store.)
Pawns, King reach stalemate. Burger King and its franchisees are about as compatible as cats and dogs. The last 12 months has exposed plenty bad blood between the two camps, including lawsuits over the $1 double cheeseburger and countersuits over store upgrades. At least they can finally agree on something: soda rebates. We’re still not exactly sure what a soda rebate is but it’s serious enough to get the lawyers involved. Franchisees sued BK corporate, calling the rebate an illegal raid of funds. Burger King said it wanted to withhold the rebate and put the cash toward a national advertising campaign. But now comes word that franchisees will be granted the full rebate. So has peace finally descended on the kingdom? Fat chance.
What’s really in that stuffed crust? It’s every restaurant owner’s nightmare. A customer bites into his food and gets a mouthful of rat tail or pinky finger. It happens. In fact, it just happened at a Pizza Hut franchise in Australia. A customer was enjoying a slice when he discovered a dead cockroach baked into the crust. When word leaked to the local press, Pizza Hut corporate snapped into action and shut down the buggy franchise. “At Pizza Hut, food safety is our number one priority and we impress that upon all our franchisees,” said a company spokeswoman. The franchise underwent a full scrubbing and the store is now luring customers back with a special offer: one free topping. (We made that last part up.)