Undercover Boss Report: Moe's Southwest Grill

Categories: Organization

Executive Summary

This report is an analysis of Moe’s Southwest Grill. It shows theories of organizational culture, leadership, and motivation being identified and applied. Paul Damico who is the president of Moe’s Southwest Grill goes undercover as Mark Richards. He goes into different Moe’s Southwest Grill branches to see who is working and running the stores. He gets to meet the employees in his franchise and see how they are working in the work environment. Paul goes into different stores to see if they are inefficient or efficient and looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the services they provide.

As Paul goes to different stores he finds how each manager runs the shift and how the employees are treated by the manager. The Organizational culture is shown when the employees are following the values and beliefs of the company. The company staff also show leadership because the managers are leading the shift and they are controlling what is happening during work times.

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The managers control the staff which directly effects how well the restaurant will do at the time. Everyone also showed good engagement among the workers in the restaurants which is a better workplace for everyone if everyone is happy. This also showed motivation because all the staff members were working hard which is good for the restaurant. I also talked about the strengths the business had, an example I used was the work rate in the restaurants and the conflicts in the restaurants. I also recommended a solution to the conflicts which is what I would do if I had to find solutions to the problems they have.

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This report is about a fast food chain which is Moe’s Southwest Grill. The president of this company who is Paul Damico goes undercover during the episode of undercover boss. Paul becomes Mark Richards when he goes undercover and pretends to be part of a competition, but he is actually seeing how the business is running from the inside. The employees think Paul is part of a competition and they are judging him on a reality show to see if he will win the competition. Moe’s Southwest Grill sells burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and nachos which was founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia and Paul Damico joined the company in 2007. There are over 500 restaurants in 34 states which was in 2014 and the company was opening a new restaurant every 6 days. In this essay I will be talking about how organizational culture, leadership and motivation apply to the business of Moe’s Southwest Grill. I will also be talking about the issues and problems that occur in Moe’s Southwest Grill and the strengths the business has. I will also be recommending ways the business can work more efficiently and better within the communities the branches are in.

Organizational culture

The company I have used for this report is Moe’s Southwest Grill. Organizational culture is about values and beliefs which help dictate a person through their behaviors, the way they dress and also the way they perform in the workplace (Gotham Culture). Moe’s Southwest Grill shows organizational culture by providing a good with each having the same value and beliefs. Every store is run differently but all have the same goal with their high energy and talented people, the brand is growing very quickly. The brand welcomes every customer by the employees saying “Welcome to Moe’s” when the customers walk into the store. The website also greets the customer with a big “Welcome to Moe’s” sign when you enter the website.

This shows the brand values the greeting for every customer and during the episode of undercover boss when the employees teach Paul how to work in the restaurant each of them told him to greet the customers with “Welcome to Moe’s”. The atmosphere of the stores is similar where everyone is welcoming, and the staff are welcoming people who are all working hard to meet customer satisfaction.


Leadership is about how a business/organization set objectives/goals and how employees within the organization pursue to achieve the objectives/goals. Moe’s Southwest Grill shows a clear definition of leadership during the episode of undercover boss. The business has shift managers who are in charge of the employees during the shift and this person has to encourage the other employees to work more effective and efficiently. When Paul from the undercover boss episode goes into different branches, he sees how everyone is working during the shift and how the business is getting run through the peak and off-peak hours. One of the shift managers named Tito is 19 years old and he is very harsh on his associates, so Paul has a talk with him at the end of the show and explains that this is not good leadership because calling people names will not encourage the workers to work harder. Paul makes an agreement with Tito to show the co-workers more respect and accept to do all the positions in the restaurant. It may sound like a paradox, but a great leader isn’t someone who leads. It’s someone other people want to follow. An example of this is Janet who is part of another branch. She is a good leader and knows how to create opportunities for people, which is shown in the episode and she is working in the catering side of Moe’s. She is working hard to improve the catering side of the business which makes her a great role model for people to follow.

Motivation and engagement

In a business, motivation is always good for workers because it boosts morale which encourages workers to work more efficiently therefore increases profits. Motivation is shown in many services Moe’s Southwest Grill provides as they are passionate in what they do and stand for. Motivation is when individuals have enthusiasm to get something done efficiently and effectively. This makes employees at Moe’s Southwest Grill more efficient when they are making the food for the customer because they are enjoying it and want to see the customers happy which motivates them.

Another theory that can improve profit and growth is the engagement between the workers. When the workers can talk about their lives and how they have been, it can increase morale and people enjoy coming to work to see their friends at work. “Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give of their best each day, committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being”. It can be demotivating for someone’s will to work if they are not engaging with people in the workplace which can cause them to lose focus during work and this is inefficient for the business.

Problem or Conflict

One of the problems that Paul saw the business was having was the manual machine that cut up tomatoes to put in the food. Paul was using the machine and he was surprised the workers have to use this machine where it can be replaced with an automated version. “Contingency theory is when an individual makes a decision according to the situation at hand. As situations change different approaches become more appropriate and this is when decisions are formed”.

Another problem Paul had discovered in the business was one of the shift managers who was only 19 and was calling the hourly employee names such as ‘ding-dong’ just because they didn’t do a job properly. He also doesn’t do jobs like cleaning because he makes the hourly employees do those jobs. At the end of the episode, Paul has a talk with the shift manager and says he will give him another chance if he stops with this behavior. He is flying him to another state to teach him how to run a shift properly which will teach him how to treat his associates in a rightful manner.


One of the strengths that stood out to me is the employee’s goals and work rate at every store Paul went in to, all of the staff members were working very quickly and trying to take many as orders as they can. One of the stores Paul was at said they try to do the order in under 3 minutes which is very fast because the managers are in control of the food quality, teamwork and guest experience. This is a strength in a business like this because their main focus is trying to get quality food the customers ordered, out as fast as possible. I thought this was a strength because as a fast food business all the restaurants Paul went into had the same focus and goals.


One recommendation I would make towards the business is upgrading the manual labor tools to automatic machines. An example of this would be the tomato cutter, the manual machine takes up a lot of time and energy from a person which can be easily done with an electric machine that does the same job faster and only with the expense of the electricity it uses. This will increase company profits by a lot because if every store is using the same manual machine and if they upgrade, the cost of the labor will cut down by a lot because if all 500 stores did this they would save time. Another recommendation I would tell them to make is the staff they are promoting because one of the staff members that was shown on the show was 19 years old and he was a shift manager. He said he had only been working there for 9 months and he was promoted to shift manager 2 months ago. The people who work for Moe’s should look more into who they are promoting.

Limitations – Critique

Paul Damico who is the president of Moe’s Southwest Grill goes undercover as Mark Richards and says he worked at a high-end steakhouse previously. When he went to different restaurants he would tell the same white lie to secretly work at the restaurant. He would do this to see if the company needed improvements from the inside and not only from the profits. Moe’s Southwest Grill’s ethics are to be honest which Paul was going against because he was identifying as someone who he is not just to find how the inside of Moe’s really is. Paul had to tell this white lie which meant he was not being honest with his associates. An example of a white lie is if you’re throwing someone a surprise birthday party, and they ask you about it and you say there is no surprise party this is a white lie because you’re doing it for the overall good which is Kant’s Ethics. “Kant’s Ethics sought moral principles that define actions as inherently right or wrong, irrespective of any consequences”. I think during the time Paul was undercover was bad at the time because he was lying but overall it is good, and he will improve the business.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Undercover Boss Report: Moe's Southwest Grill. (2024, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/undercover-boss-report-moes-southwest-grill-essay

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