Undercover Boss Features Baja Fresh CEO David Kim

If you’ve never watched the CBS reality TV show, Undercover Boss, the show’s premise follows the CEO or some other high level executive (“boss”) of a large corporation going incognito to see what life is like working in the trenches. The episodes are fairly formulaic where the boss works with overworked, under-paid and under-appreciated employees facing very tough family or personal circumstances. The boss realizes how wonderful his staff is and rewards them afterwards with some sort of donation, gift, scholarship or vacation as well as a promotion and new career path within the company more suited towards their skills or passions. Usually, there is some crying by both the boss and the employees.

This past Sunday, Undercover Boss had their first Asian American boss, David Kim, who is the CEO of Baja Fresh Mexican Grill. Kim had the worst disguise ever with a fake goatee. In past episodes, the boss usually undergoes some physical change into a pretty good disguise – like growing facial hair, shaving their beard or dying their hair, and even wearing glasses where the disguise is actually half-way decent. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), it seems like no one at Baja Fresh actually knows what the CEO of the company looks like, but Kim gets away with his disguise–if only to look pretty goofy.

We discover that Kim and his family lived all over the world as their father was a former diplomat for South Korea, but eventually settled into a more normal lifestyle with the United States. Kim, his brother, and a bunch of investors took over Baja Fresh a few years ago from Wendy’s International. There’s a Baja Fresh in the Silicon Valley city that I live in, but I didn’t know the chain had over 256 restaurants in 29 states. The episode proceeds as usual, as Kim does a feeble attempt at all the front line type roles and meets great employees trying to make it life under difficult life circumstances. You can catch the full episode here. It’s nice to see an Asian American business leader profiled though!

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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