UnderCover Waitress: Under Cover Analyzed

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Under Cover Analyzed

So, Rob Lynch went under cover as "Ryan" at the Tilted Kilt on CBS's Under Cover Boss. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I might have some comments on the situation. Heh.

Bear with me; not everything I have to say is negative. I think there are important, underlying implications in what I saw last night that were not what the restaurant was trying to portray. Also, this may be as much commentary on the show Undercover Boss as it is commentary on the restaurant Tilted Kilt.

First, the best line of the evening came from my companion with whom I watched the show: "This is just an advertisement for the Tilted Kilt." Yeah, pretty much. No business owner would agree to have the show broadcast if it didn't make the business look good.

Restaurant Work is Hard Work

It is always fun to watch somebody with no experience on the floor or in the kitchen figure out that what we do requires skill. I greatly enjoyed watching Lynch wander around the bar looking for a bottle opener. In this moment, I believe I laughed with him. Of course, any professional would have had a wine key in a pocket or pouch.

In that brief scene, we watched him look for a bottle opener, serve a bottle of beer without a chilled glass, charge the customer incorrectly and ignore another customer. Lucky for him it wasn't busy.

Rich People Don't Get It

Four working class people got lucky last night, and I do not want to deny them their good fortune. This is not about finding fault with the four people who were chosen to be filmed at length and given money.

Rob Lynch sounds surprised to discover that working people do things like work two jobs to make ends meet, have family members with expensive health problems, and have children who, regardless of their current needs, will never be able to pay for college (in the current system.) The restaurant industry is full of people working long hours and desperately trying to make ends meet. Lynch did not meet four especially unlucky people. Lynch met four typical Americans.

Money is finite, and it is a travesty that we don't teach people how to manage money in high school. I am thinking of the cook who was given $20,000 for a family of six so he could quit his second, part-time job. Unless he knows or learns how to make money grow, he will be looking for another part-time job in one year, maybe less.

Obviously, if he invested the full $20K then he would still have to work the part-time job for his daily bills. With some good advice, a diverse portfolio and (as always) a little bit of luck he may be able to eventually quit the part-time job permanently. Money is finite. I know people who would spend a windfall like this on their credit card debt, then go back to using the credit card so they end up in the same situation. Lack of understanding about how to manage money keeps some people poor.

Yes, I know, Lynch also gave his employees money for their kids' educations and to pay off existing medical and educational debt. This is more helpful than a small pot of money to quit a job that will be needed again when the money runs out. I think Kalliane may be the luckiest of the four because she is getting steered from the wrong track to the right track early, before she has serious financial problems. So, Lynch's generosity helped people and that's great -- I mean that --but in the grand scheme of things it is a drop in the bucket. We need system-wide change so more than just four chosen people can do better for themselves.


My favorite line in the show was, and I paraphrase, "Strip clubs do a better job of protecting the women than the Tilted Kilt." They do. They probably still do, for all of Lynch's promises.

For one, bouncers in strip clubs have one job and one job only: security. That's it. A customer gets out of line? He gets bounced out. Period. Nobody has the right to hang out in a strip club, and the club reserves the right to require you to leave.

At the Tilted Kilt, security is rolled into one man's series of tasks over the course of the night. Rolling silverware, dishes, maintaining tap kegs, storing and stocking and taking out garbage and recycling. Except, of course, when he is bussing tables. Who has time for security? No wonder the servers come up and complain about their treatment after the customers have left. "Security" is too busy to notice if something is amiss in the restaurant.

The employee was specific about how security training was lacking. He said he was told, "Don't hit them unless they hit you first." End of training. Lynch is wise to express concern; however, while Lynch and the producers of Undercover Boss are careful to say often that security will be improved, we never hear how Lynch plans to improve security. Lynch makes a point of saying on camera that the employee handbook gives security guidelines, but never lets on to what those guidelines are. Which brings me to my next point:

Lying Loud and Often

History professors will tell you: history has shown repeating a lie often and in a loud voice will cause some people to believe you. Fortunately, this strategy backfired recently for Romney. I didn't fall for it from Lynch.

I lost track how many times Lynch said, "We do everything we do with class." Not! Dressing women in push-up bras with their cleavage spilling out for all the world to see lacks class. You can't get around that. You can't get around the fact that Tilted Kilt waitresses are dressed for the strip club. It lacks class. Everything you do, Lynch, does not have class. If you wish to have class, you must dress your employees in uniforms with class. An overabundance of skin is not classy, it's slutty.

Lynch wants it both ways. He can't have it both ways. His establishment lacks class.

He gets on Kalliane's case for telling dirty jokes. That was the line Lynch claims "we do not cross." How was she supposed to tell? I felt sorry for her watching last night. I saw her as the victim if many mixed messages. When Shayna (in a different location) makes a point of deliberately and forcefully shaking her boobs back and forth while mixing a drink, this is a line it's okay to cross. Both types of behavior lack class, but Lynch approves of the latter. Very confusing for a young employee who is getting better tips for her "inappropriate" behavior while wearing inappropriate clothing.


Really? If my family required me to run around nearly naked I'd disown them. I guess only skinny women can be a part of Lynch's family. I'd love to talk to his daughter in private and get a sense for her true feelings about the Tilted Kilt. I have no idea what those might be.

Tilted Kilt also tries to bill itself as a family restaurant. Again, saying something repeatedly does not make it true. Lynch refers to "his competition" possibly being crass. Tilted Kilt's uniform is much more crass than Hooter's uniform. Of course, I think anybody who would bring children into either restaurant needs his or her head examined.

In closing, someone left a comment here recently that sums it up well: a family restaurant shouldn't need "security." I agree; but a crass establishment that preys on young women does.

More hypocrisy here!


  1. The best investment I think any person could make today (with 20K) is the purchase of a foreclosed condo. One guy purchased a 3 bedroom 2 bath condo about 5 units away from mine. He paid 10K for the unit. He gutted the interior and put about 12K into fixing it up.

    Now his daughter lives in it rent-free while attending college. lol

    So much for making an investment. When the daughter moves out, he can rent that sucker for about 900 bucks per month. Bye bye 2nd job. :D

    1. Awesome! I hope the TK cook reads this! 20K is a nice windfall if you know what to do with it.

  2. as far as i know, the cook was actually asked to quit his second job. if you watch the end of the episode again, listen to the way lynch talks about it..can you guess where he was working part time?? one of tk's competitors. also, he wont be looking for a new part time job because he was promoted, although it isnt stated in the episode.

    source: i actually work at the joliet location

    1. I'm glad to hear he was promoted so he won't be needing his second job in the future.

  3. I'm watching this now and was curious to see if anyone else felt the way I did. His reaction to the waitress, Kali, who told the jokes was when I decided I coudn't watch this show anymore. Too many obvious mixed messages. For him to judge his young waitress just about made me sick. The uniforms make the place look like a strip club. For him not to get this and to call his establishment classy.... ok well... Channel turning. Now. Yucko. And Kali, go get another job working for a classy company because you have great energy and need a role model who doesn't send mixed messages.

  4. Kaylie is now the Assistant Manager at the Mission Valley Tilted Kilt. Matter of fact she's worked at the Mission Valley location I think since it opened. I think she was hand picked to be in the episode for UCB. I just think this is scripted reality TV as usual. Any how, I have been served by Kaylie on more then a few occasions in the past. She was always very polite and did the beer trick thing on her head.


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