Ron Lynch, president of the Tilted Kilt restaurant franchise, will be featured on “Undercover Boss,” an Emmy-award winning show on CBS. The show features business executives who go undercover as entry-level employees. (Photo by Robin Kiyutelluk)
Ron Lynch, a local business developer and the president of Tempe-based restaurant franchise Tilted Kilt, will be featured on the Nov. 9 episode of CBS’s “Undercover Boss.”
“Undercover Boss,” an Emmy-award winning show, gives executives the opportunity to get a look at the inner workings of their businesses by impersonating entry-level employees.
Executives alter their appearances and assume different names so their employees will not recognize them.
Lynch said CBS contacted him to appear on the show.
“They noticed our rapid growth,” he said. “We are still a small franchise, but we are growing faster than anyone in the restaurant business.”
The Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed sports bar featuring kilt-wearing servers, has expanded to more than 70 locations nationwide.
Lynch became involved with franchising and growing the Tilted Kilt restaurant in 2005 when he partnered with original owner, Mark DiMartino.
Lynch was involved in developing Schlotzsky’s delis at the time and was looking to do something different.
“I thought that the concept could really grow,” Lynch said. “It was different, off-beat, edgy and tilted like the name. I think people were looking for that sort of thing.”
Lynch said he was exposed to scenarios during the filming for “Undercover Boss” that he wouldn’t have seen if he went into the restaurant as an executive.
“I got the opportunity to work with servers,” Lynch said. “I got to hear firsthand what customers were saying about the restaurant. People talked to me very candidly.”
Chantal Lewis, who works as a server at the downtown Phoenix Tilted Kilt, said servers face particular challenges, such as learning the menu items, specials and scheduling.
“Sometimes we have to change our schedule in order to accommodate busy times, but it’s worth it,” Lewis said.
Lynch realized his “Undercover Boss” experience made him want to change some aspects of how he runs his business.
“Since I got to see what was going on in our restaurants, I realized we had a lot of young, 18- to 19-year-old employees that were working in an adult setting,” Lynch said. “I thought that we needed a mentorship program for them, where they could work with an older, more experienced employee to help them on the job.”
Bartender Sarah Dineff said she often does the training at the downtown Phoenix location and acts as a mentor.
“It’s difficult at first, but I love being a trainer and mentor,” Dineff said.
Lynch said he wants to challenge the managers of his restaurants to get closer to the action and to hear what is going on at the tables.
“We are opening our lines of communication to employees by creating a section on our website for feedback,” Lynch said.
Dineff and Lewis both agreed it would be positive if corporate management communicated with restaurant employees.
“I think it would have a bigger impact,” Lewis said. “Corporate management would know what we go through on busy nights.”
Lynch said he was happy to have filmed the show.
“It was a great experience, but I was so tired afterward,” Lynch said. “After four to five nights of regular sleep, I realized the full benefits of being on the show.”
“Undercover Boss” will air at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 on KPHO channel five in Phoenix, and the downtown Phoenix Tilted Kilt will hold a viewing party.