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Going undercover at Moe’s

Campus Correspondent

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08

On Jan. 18, 2013 CBS aired a new episode of “Undercover Boss” centered on Paul Damico, President of Moe’s Southwest Grill.

The reality show “Undercover Boss” initially appeared in Britain during 2009, when it was created by Studio Lambert, an independent production company based in London. In 2010 the show arrived in the United States with the airing of its first episode on CBS on Feb. 10. The premise of the show involves a person in a high management position in a company going undercover to experience firsthand the circumstances of the company’s front line workers. Managers go undercover by radically altering their appearance, and giving a false reason to employees for why they have a camera crew following them. At the end of the show managers reveal their identity to the employees they interacted with while filming, and generally set the employees straight or offer them praise for a job well done.

Damico took over as the President of Moe’s in 2007 to oversee the continued growth of the company. Growing up, Damico worked in the restaurant industry eventually putting himself through culinary school, and he has been in the industry ever since.

When Damico was younger one of his siblings came down with Hepatitis and was in need of a liver transplant as a result. A liver was matched to Damico’s sibling, but it would only last for two hours despite the fact Damico’s family lived six hours away from the hospital. Damico’s father’s boss sent the company plane to pick up Damico’s sibling, which got him to the hospital in time and saved his life. Damico wanted to repay this act of kindness, which he did at the end of the “Undercover Boss” episode.

Damico went undercover as a food service employee named Mark Richards at Moe’s, telling coworkers that he was a failed restaurant owner who was trying to get back into the business. His cover story was that he was competing on a reality show in an attempt to win his own restaurant, which explained the camera crew following him around on the job. The fake reality TV show host interviewed Damico’s coworkers in order to get input on his performance and whether or not he deserved to win. In adopting his disguise Damico went so far as to get fake tattoos.

Interestingly the Moe’s located in Storrs differs from the way Moe’s was portrayed on “Undercover Boss” in several ways. For instance the Moe’s in Storrs does not always greet customers with a hearty “Welcome to Moe’s!” each time they walk in like the Moe’s locations on the show did. One thing that can be said of the Moe’s in Storrs though, is that they always seem to have a line.


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