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Columbia Moe’s worker featured on ‘Undercover Boss’

krupon@thestate.comJanuary 18, 2013 

— Janet Moak watches the CBS reality show “Undercover Boss” every week.

So the catering director for four Columbia-area Moe’s Southwestern Grill restaurants said she was stunned when she realized she had been set up to be on the show – and never even suspected it.

“I absolutely never had a clue. I can’t explain it,” Moak said. “It was like the deer-in-the-headlights look, exactly what you see on TV.”

The episode featuring Moak is set to air at 8 p.m. today on CBS.

The show features Moe’s corporate president, Paul Damico, as he trains – in disguise – with employees to get a first-person look at how his company’s restaurants operate. At the end of the experience, he reveals to the employees that he is actually president of the company and has a one-on-one meeting with select employees – including Moak – to tell them what he has learned.

Moak said she originally was asked if she would agree to be part of a new reality show pilot but was not given many details. “It was all very, very vague and kept pretty simple,” she said.

As part of the contrived reality-show pilot, Moak trained Damico on how to do her job and he went along on sales calls with her.

“He comes in and spends some time learning the ropes of catering,” she said. “He did a really good job.”

In a preview video clip on CBS’ website, Moak and Damico visit Image Makers Salon on Farrow Road to pitch Moe’s Catering. Damico introduces himself as “Paul” and quickly corrects his name to “Mark.”

“I felt like I made a colossal mistake,” he says in the video. “While I said my real name, I don’t think that she (Moak) heard me. I think I just dodged a major bullet.”

Moakcouldn’t give many details about the show before it aired but said she was happy she was part of it. She said she doesn’t regret anything she said to her undercover boss as he worked by her side.

“Absolutely not because everything I did was 100 percent me,” said Moak, who has held her position with the restaurant chain for two years. “I do love my job, and I fully believe in what I do.”

Moak will watch the show tonight at a private viewing party, and some Midlands-area Moe’s are offering “buy one, get one free” burritos after 6 p.m. to celebrate.

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