What is in this article?:
- Auntie Anne's executive shares 'Be the Boss' experience
- Benefiting from television exposure
President and COO Bill Dunn says going on a reality TV show can benefit a brand only when the goal of the show lines up with the values of the brand.
Bill Dunn, president and COO of Auntie Anne's.
The Lancaster, Pa.-based chain of more than 1,250 soft-pretzel shops will appear on the Dec. 16 episode of “Be the Boss,” which debuted Sunday on the A&E cable channel and was created by the producers of the show “Undercover Boss.” The latter show has allowed executives from Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, Cinnabon and The Tilted Kilt to gain positive exposure for their brands.
Auntie Anne’s part in “Be the Boss” rewards one of two unit-level employees — who are told they are competing for a corporate promotion — with a deal to become an Auntie Anne’s franchisee and have the typical franchise and startup fees waived. The runner-up receives the promotion.
Bill Dunn, the chain’s president and chief operating officer, said the competition should benefit more than Eleazar Puente of Woodburn, Ore., and Shonta Moore of Boynton Beach, Fla., the two employees who squared off for the show. Auntie Anne’s also gets a chance to tell the brand’s story to consumers and ultimately expand the roster of franchise partners going into business with the chain, he said.
“It’s rewarding to help somebody achieve the American dream, and that, for me, as the president, was the most important and rewarding part,” Dunn said.
Dunn spoke with Nation’s Restaurant News about Auntie Anne’s role on “Be the Boss.”
What did you learn about your brand after ‘Be the Boss’?
I’m not sure if it’s necessarily about what I learned, but it certainly did confirm a lot of what I’ve experienced, especially the level of commitment and passion in our franchisees and employees. The company was founded based on the principles of giving back, and as we were approached to participate in the show, we relied on our franchise business consultants to identify folks who would be good to compete in this. There were 80 different folks who went through the casting call.