DePinto Goes Undercover


Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc.’s Joe DePinto is starring on CBS’ new reality show Undercover Boss, later this February and is appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about what he discovered walking in his employees’ shoes, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The show reveals the impact of decisions made at the corporate level, defining problems inside organizations and shining a spotlight on unsung heroes who otherwise might not come to the boss’s attention.

DePinto grew a beard, and wore glasses and one of the convenience store chain’s orange smocks for the Feb. 21 show and worked through the night delivering fresh foods to stores in North Dallas from the Lewisville distribution center with Igor Finkler, an electrical engineer who came to the U.S. from Kazakhstan with $50 in his pocket. Finkler is one of DePinto’s unsung heroes.

“He blew me away,” DePinto said. “His truck was immaculate. Every store we went to, the employees loved him, and when I asked about overtime, he said I should be able to get my work done in eight hours. Any more would hurt the company.”

At a new 7-Eleven bakery in Baltimore, DePinto had an I Love Lucy chocolate factory experience, trying to keep up with a high-speed doughnut line. On Long Island, N.Y., he cleaned store parking lots and restrooms, stocked shelves, made coffee “a lot” and worked the register. Employees were told he was a new hire named Danny who was being filmed for a training video.

“I thought it would be a cool experience, but I took away above and beyond what I thought I would,” DePinto told the Dallas Morning News.

The show lead him to expand the company’s program to identify talent. “The people I worked with have a lot of potential beyond what they were doing for us,” he said.

7-Eleven store managers and franchisees also are being warned to be ready for the potential of increased business-the “Oprah effect,” following DePinto’s interview with Oprah. Oprah Winfrey’s attention has repeatedly resulted in new-found popularity for books, merchandise and stores featured on the show.




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