Lynne Zappone Undercover

Undercover Boss Recap: Lynne Zappone CTO Popeye’s Chicken 3/2/2012

Undercover Boss is heading down to Louisiana tonight as CTO Lynne Zappone goes undercover to get the real feel of what working at Popeye’s is like. Popeye’s serves more than 200,000 pounds of chicken and Lynne Zappone is the CTO. She is not from the South but is a single mom raising her daughter. She says she has been with Popeye’s for 5 months and she is there to make sure the employees are happy and have the training they need to succeed. She talks about how Popeye’s helped the victims of Hurricane Katrina after the storm. She says she is going undercover to look at the company’s employees and see what is needed to keep them happy. She meets Erin and he will train her. Erin says she has it down but she needs to pick up speed and starts ragging her.

Aaron talks of wanting to climb the ladder and he is really showing Lynne what he would do if he was running the restaurant. Aaron gets into the groove and is trying heard to keep up. He starts yelling at employees and gets an attitude with people out front. He is foul mouthed and the customers see and hear it. She heads to the next job and she meets a trainer that has been with the company for 27 years named Gina. The manager comes in and tell Lynne to keep her hands visible so the customers will not think she has dirty hands. Lynne drops a whole sleeve of cups and they hide them. Lynne goes to cleaning and there is a broken pipe in the wall of the bathroom. They have no equipment like toilet brushes and just use spray and paper towels.

Lynne finishes the first day and has a few ideas on what need to be done to improve the customer experience and employee happiness. Now she meets Josh at the next restaurant and this store has a lot of “vibrant” employees. Josh talks about lunch and wants to go to Taco Bell. He tells Lynne that eating at the restaurant is expensive. Lynne thinks they need an employee discount. She heads to the back and butters biscuits. Josh likes the support he gets from his fellow employees and Lynne likes it that the management sticks up for them.

Now she heads to Mississippi to work as a janitor. This store has a dedicated maintenance man to keep it clean. First, she gets a lesson in parking lot cleaning. Doug, the maintenance man, cleans this parking lot every day. Now Lynne gets a first hand experience on cleaning garbage cans. Doug talks of how Popeye’s does not have an employee of the month program. Doug actually buys special soap for the eating area because it is not harmful to kids. Doug volunteers to cook for his church and he invites Lynne to come along with him and serve people. Lynne is in tears as she leaves Doug.

Now Lynne brings in the employees she worked with and spills the beans on who she really is and what she was doing at the stores. First, she tells the Aaron he is going to get a shot at being a trainer and he will have a mentor to teach him those skills. Doug gets big compliments on his work ethic. He is told Lynne is starting a new employee recognition program and he is the first recipient. $10,000 dollars is donated to his church. Josh is up next and is told they will be getting an employee discount again. He gets a $20,000 dollar scholarship for school. Lynne says he is also getting $10,000 dollars for a car or help with his living expenses. Gina is up now. Lynne tells hers she is great at her job. She tells her she will make sure the restaurants will get all the cleaning tools they need at each store. Gina also gets a family reunion in New Orleans. Lynne is going to set up an employee relief fund and she is the first recipient. She is getting $10,000 dollars to help get her life back on track.

Photo courtesy of: CBS


  1. neal says

    I am so dissapointed in Popeyes for this episode. They dropped the ball in so many places. First the lady who lost everything during Katrina and was fired after 20 years for failing to return to work when displaced. Then rehired as a new employee which she now has credit for 7. I would have expected such a dedicated employee to be told that this was an error and you will be considered retroactive for all 27 years concurrent. She did everything to continue working for a afst food chain non the less.

    Poor Doug, the man who spent his own money paying for child safe chemicals to keep restaurant clean while he had nothing after losing everything to Katrina. Popeyes made a $10k donation, which is a tax writeoff, and gave him nothing. Not even to cover what he spent personally. He lost everything and he got nothing. Is this what a major corporation has to offer? They were looking for publicity, but lost me as a customer. I bet the network provides $30k to give out on each show. I bet Popeyes gave nothing to match. I remember the Time Share guy (Diamond Resorts) who paid off $250k when his employee got swindled on selling their own business and they had to take 2 jobs each to make ends meet.

    I don’t see Canjun hospitality, only a greety CEO who didn’t even dare to take the job of seeing her staff and sent out the CTO clown as one staffer put it. And boy was he correct.

    Back to eating Roy Rogers chicken and KFC.

  2. Brian says

    I can’t believe how bad Doug got the shaft. 10k donation in his name and employee of the month but nothing to actually take home for himself when he deserves the most out of them all. God knows how much he has spent in products for the company and they cant do better. Looks like KFC for me

  3. Pat Bringol says

    Lynne, you shoul go to store # 10665 in Central, LA. They are the worse about getting orders correct when someone orders to go. We live 18 miles from there, because this is a rural area and on 2/21/12 my husband picked up our order of what I wanted and his also. He went inside to order. I ordered a 3 wing fling, and he ordered a 2 pc dinner with mashed potatoes and a roll. He did not check the order before leaving the store. When he arrived home, we had two orders of 3 wing flings. He hates white meat, but he was not going all the wa back to the store to get what he ordered. That’s how this crew gets away with this. Everyone lives a distance and is not willing to spend the gas money to return and get what they really want. My husband just had open heart surgery on Nov.21, 2011, so his mind is not back to normal- usually he would have checked the order. But WHY do we as customers have to check our orders. We should be sure when we leave that what we ordered and paid for, we walk out with. My husband called the store and really got the run-a-round. I have kept the recept in case you need to see it. This is a problem many peope in our area have and voice their dislikes about wherever we go. Also, this crew is very rude. Thanks for listening. Regards, Pat Bringol

  4. Scott says

    I can’t believe that a company that starts a television program states a 2 Billion a year and only donates the least amount possible.
    I will NEVER eat at Popeye’s!

  5. BOB says

    She tried, but gifts were not comensurate with seniority or people’s situations or causes, e.g. $30,000 to new employee, $10,000 to 27 year employee fired for not being able to return on their timetable after her Katrina evacuation? They could have shipped food once a week to the food kitchen for a year for next to nothing at wholesale?

    She is new and I am sure her findings were not appreciated at all, in all my experience. She seems to have good intentions, modern competency, and this assignment put her in an awkward position.

    No employee appreciation program? No employee discount, forcing them to go elsewhere for lunch? No toilet brush? Wanting credit for fixing broken plumbing in the rest room? Company has apparently been run by its accountants for quite a while.

  6. carl says

    Their chicken looked really good til the end. How cheap can a company be. 10 k to a church soup kitchen? Doug should send them a bill for the cleaning product he has had to buy.Would never give them a dime of my business.

  7. KJ says

    Doug the Janitor is the most giving person of all. Why Couldnt Popeyes give him something too? This was the first episode of undercover boss to not make me cry. It actually has made m angrily enough to say something. Now, Im definitely not eating at Popeyes. Could have given the man something.

  8. Taki says

    Lol @ ANN. I was thinking the same thing! The company could do better and the funny thing is I could see some of the disappointment on the other face when they were told about what they will get.

  9. Ann says

    I was embarrassed, Lynne, by how cheap your company was at helping people on the show. Absolute embarrassment–$10K to the church feeding the hungry. Are you kidding me? anyone else would have given 5 to 10 times that much. And then the rest. You were giving coins and chump change to people in need. It’s not okay. I hope your company learns generosity one day.

  10. samuel says

    God bless you Lynne Zappone. I’m touch by how you understand other people’s goals, problems and all.

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