Six months after the airing of the February 28 CBS "Undercover Boss" episode featuring White Castle owner and executive Dave Rife, the family-owned company and its team members have been busy applying the lessons they learned to increase success in their professional and personal lives.
Since the show's airing, Rife was promoted to the position of assistant vice president. As a member of the company's Executive Council, he will play a crucial role shaping future direction for the company.
"My experience in working undercover has given me a unique insight into how we can create an even better company for all of our family, including our employees," Rife says. "As we focus on remaining a family-owned company for generations to come, we're looking at how we can keep our best people at White Castle and help them pursue their work and their life aspirations."
Especially after working with team members Jose Gonzales and Joe Brown, however, Rife wanted to provide an opportunity for even more learning.
Gonzales and Brown accompanied Rife and other White Castle executives to the National Restaurant Association Show and took part in a number of industry training sessions.
Before its episode aired, White Castle increased Gonzales' scholarship to attend Chicago's Kendall Culinary School to $20,000 over four years. The National Restaurant Association provided an additional $10,000 in scholarship funds. The Association also arranged for Rick Roman, owner of The Signature Room restaurant on the 95th floor of Chicago's Hancock Building, to act as a mentor for Gonzales. Kendall's Dean, Christopher Koetke, is working with the company to ensure that Gonzales has all the support necessary to succeed in the school's four-year program. In addition, White Castle's marketing and product development teams have begun preparations for testing Gonzales' salsa verde as a topping for its burgers.
Joe Brown has met extensively with White Castle's training department to shape the "Leaders of Tomorrow" training program. In October, Brown will be a member of the inaugural class. He was recently promoted to the position of crew manager. On a personal level, Brown has used funds from the $5,000 trust established by White Castle to provide music therapy for his visually impaired son Jordan.
Rife, who shared weight loss and fitness experience with team member Donna Davis, continues to support Davis in her fitness goals. To date, she has lost nine pounds by eating better and exercising. To encourage team members to make wellness a priority, White Castle is now covering co-pays for preventative healthcare, including regular physicals.
White Castle's benefits department also is exploring a pilot Health Fair program in the Cincinnati region to encourage wellness and enable team members to manage their health proactively.
After the episode aired, Rife revisited the WCD plant in Covington, Kentucky, to express gratitude to the second shift team for all they do to help build the business. Productivity at the WCD plant is up and team members are focused and working well together.