CEOs from ten of Canada’s biggest corporations stealthily join the ranks of their own unsuspecting workforce in the anticipated new series Undercover Boss Canada. Each episode features a prominent executive from a Canadian company who goes incognito among their employees. The executive, in disguise, works with their staff who believe they are simply training a new recruit. Each “boss” takes an often emotional journey, discovering the effects their decisions have on others, the perception of the company, and who the unsung heroes of their workforce are. Most importantly, they learn how to apply what they have gained from the experience – both for their company and for themselves.
Chicken wings were originally sold in bars as a way to boost booze sales. Former mud wrestler, fight promoter, and man-about-town Rick Smiciklas jumped on the beer and wings wagon in 1999. Now he heads a franchise operation with over 100 locations, but the company has had a roller-coaster history with losses reputed to be running into millions of dollars. Recently, Smiciklas cleaned house, thinned corporate operations, and announced the dawn of a new era. But revealing plans to work in disguise in his own restaurants, so he can make other fixes to his franchises, makes his teen daughter worried. She thinks he’s too feisty to keep calm and complete his undercover work week. It’s an ominous warning, because it’s not long before the Undercover Boss is on the rampage, blowing his cover and getting into explosive confrontations about business operations. Will the Wild Wing man regain his composure in time to thank and reward his staff?
The nation's pest control industry generates $600 million in annual revenue, and Orkin Canada is the nation's leader. But it's not just rodents they’re having to keep under control – it's outside rivals, ready to bite a chunk out of their market share. President Gary Muldoon is anxious to ensure the company is playing to its strengths, and that staff have good customer service skills as well as professional know-how. But when he’s on the road, working in disguise under an assumed identity, he soon discovers that staff lack some of the tools to make their working life easier, and that good hard workers are over-scheduled and pushed to their limit. When his working week is over, he calls the staff he met to HQ… and his touching words leave one worker in tears…
The construction industry is booming. Even in this turbulent economy, it provides work for 1 in every 16 Canadians. Clark Builders is responsible for creating commercial and industrial buildings. It was launched in 1974, back in Yellowknife, with just a dozen employees. Today it is a $600 million a year powerhouse, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, with a nearly thousand-strong workforce throughout the Western provinces. Andy Clark, the Executive Chairman and Company Founder, believes that every time the company takes on a project, it has an opportunity to strengthen its reputation - or ruin it. He says: "My name may be on the door, but it's the guys on site who make the company." Keen to find out what those guys think of the company he runs, and to discover ways to improve productivity, he puts on a tool belt for the first time in 30 years and joins his building site crews. But what one worker says leaves him so distraught, his entire undercover mission is jeopardized when he takes off his disguise and reveals that's he's not the new guy in town – he's the boss!
Life on the road takes its toll when the bosses of North America’s biggest independent cabbies, Beck Taxi, work in disguise. General Manager Gail Souter and Operations Manager Kristine Hubbard are mother and daughter. Together, they run a business that has takes 15 million passengers a year to where they want to go. But with tough City Council regulations and high overheads, drivers are struggling to make a living.
There’s been a boom in boutique hotels across Canada and our taste for more intimate, and unique stay experiences has affected the way the resort industry does business. Bellstar Hotel and Resorts is one of the rare Canadian companies doing well in this niche market, despite the volatile economy. In less than ten years the company has quadrupled in size and is now seen as a major player in the Canadian West. The CEO – a former national long-distance track star – is now pushing for Bellstar to become one of the top resort companies in North America. But when Ed Romanowski joins housekeeping staff, he struggles to keep up and makes startling discoveries about the business he's running.
Brandi Halls as a top job at cosmetics giant Lush. But she's cut down to size when she joins the frontline to work in disguise and find ways to improve the company. It's not long before the secret Director of Brand Communications throws the factory into chaos - not to mention overtime.
Canadians spend over $1.5 billion a year on car maintenance. Mr. Lube has built its reputation on quick oil changes, but as it expanding its slate of services, are staff keeping up? When CEO Stuart Suls works in disguise, he discovers he can't even install windscreen wipers, let alone deal with what's under the hood.
Freshii has captured the market in healthier, fresh, fast food. Boss Matthew Corrin opened his first store in 2005 and now he has 80, around the world. But when he dares to work undercover in his own Canadian franchises, he makes surprising discoveries. One worker literally rubs salt in his wounds when he struggles to cut up tomatoes.
Pizza is a $40 billion business in North America. Canadian boss Domenic Primucci has been making them since he was a kid, and as his company, Pizza Nova, prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday, he thinks its a perfect time to work undercover, in disguise, in his own stores. He is growing his chain of franchises, but is Pizza Nova's "mom and pop" feel being lost as a result of brand expansion?
Mary Brown's Chicken is the nation's biggest homegrown chain of quick-serve chicken restaurants. The Newfoundland-run company has embarked on aggressive expansion, to give rivals a run for their money. But can they maintain brand consistency in the process? CEO Greg Roberts turns chicken fryer for the week... And what happens when it's over results in the season's biggest employee rewards.