Nearly 40 million people watched the new CBS reality series "Undercover Boss" when it premiered after the Super Bowl. This Sunday night, we'll see Cody Brooks, president and CEO of Hooters of America, Inc., leave the corner office and get up to his elbows in Buffalo wings and beer.
Brooks sat down with Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith to discuss what made him decide to go undercover.
"It was an opportunity. I didn't know if it was ever going to happen. We talked about it for a long time. It was a new series. I wanted to get back into it. It's been 20 years since I've been into the field - as we call it," he said.
In 1983, Brooks' father, Robert, joined six of fellow entrepreneurs to start the company in Florida and he ended up with the franchising rights and then the actual name. (Robert Brooks passed away in 2006.)
While out in the field, Brooks took notice of the different views his employees had of him and his father.
"Well, my father and I are different characters. He was much more strong armed. I'm more laid back. I manage by majority movement and my whole executive team gets together. My father was more of a single person; this is what we're going to do. There are some differences," he said.
Differences aside, Brooks took away a lot of valuable lessons taking on the jobs of his employees.
"Hooters is a private company, is a very family oriented company. And we're one big huge family and we bleed orange," he said. "So to find out that after 20 years of me being in the stores and after 26 years of the existence of the concept, Hooters still makes you happy, which is our mission statement.
"Our employees are happy, our cooks, our girls are happy, our managers are happy and the customers are happy. So we're still - after close to 27 years doing exactly what we started out do."
Although Hooters has stayed on target business-wise, many people still have a perception that Hooters isn't a "woman-friendly place," Smith pointed out.
"We work in a glass bubble, Hooters does. And we're held to a higher standard because of our name and what we do," Brooks said.
According to Brooks, Hooters "empowers women all the time."
"Thirty-seven percent of our corporate office and management staff are women, seventy-five percent of all of our employees are women," he explained. "We raised a lot of women. We just sent one of our vice presidents, who was a Hooter girl, to Rwanda recently to help better educate women and empower women. So there's a lot of things that Hooters does behind the scenes that we never get credit for, but the bad things you always hear about."
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