Undercover Boss Canada, episode 7: bad hair extensions and a coffee shop in crisis
On this week’s episode, Second Cup CEO Stacey Mowbray went undercover to figure out why Second Cup is losing out to “competitors” (translation: Starbucks and Tim Hortons). Although her repeated use of the term “front lines” is annoying—they’re coffee shops, not war zones—Mowbray’s backstory endears her to us: she was the first person in her family to go to university, and she worked her way through school with part-time jobs. We also applaud her willingness to don some seriously bad shaggy layers and dark eyeliner, all in the name of coffee reconnaissance. But is it enough make her an everyday hero? All the details, after the jump.
Ratty extensions taken care of, Mowbray heads to her hotel for the week. (By the way, are the hotel stays really necessary? Every week, the narrator acts like it’s ghastly, but the CEOs never care. Plus, Mowbray could have easily commuted, since she only went to Toronto-area shops. Just saying). She actually makes a decent coffee shop employee, though she messes up her latte art with big glops of milk foam. We’re most impressed that Mowbray actually implements her employee’s suggestions, making a policy to donate leftover food, expanding the company’s catering business and closing down a struggling café on Queen Street West. (Hold on, Queen West hipsters don’t like chain coffee shops? How very surprising.)
She gets all Rambo in the roasting factory, ripping open sacks of coffee beans with a lethal-looking tool.
Sometimes, it seems like she’s never spoken to a customer before. Supervisor Simone tells her, “Just say, this is your total.” Mowbray says, “Okay.” Then—silence. Simone: “Soooo…you can just tell her.”
Sure, her attempt at making a heart on the top of a latte is bad, but at least she admits it. “Oh, man, that is not good,” she says. “Not good.”
She sticks around for a musical performance by one of her employees.
Mowbray was serious enough about the concept to go to a coffee shop that was in really bad shape (the machines didn’t work and the drinks weren’t hot).
Hired. (As soon as she learns to make a decent latte heart.)