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'Undercover' Double-Cross

CEO surprises local Budget Blinds franchisee on TV show

Published: Friday, April 13, 2012 5:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 13, 2012 7:37 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo courtesy of CBS)
Chad Hallock, chief executive officer of Budget Blinds, at left, went undercover for the CBS series "Undercover Boss" to see if the franchisees are following the proper practices to make the business successful. Keith Bresnahan, not pictured, who runs the Budget Blinds franchise in Minooka, found himself among those who Hallock, or "Tom," dropped in on. The show airs at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13.

Keith Bresnahan of Minooka received an interesting phone call in the fall of 2011.

He said a TV production company was calling him to ask if they could do a show on his Minooka franchise of Budget Blinds.

Budget Blinds, the largest window coverings franchise in North America, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Bresnahan's franchise in Minooka began in November 2001.

"They said they were filming a second-chance reality show," Bresnahan said.

When the TV company personnel came to film their show, they introduced Bresnahan to "an out of work welder" named Tom who was looking for a second chance, a clean career slate. Tom would be following Bresnahan around for the day, then Bresnahan was to evaluate his quality of work.

Tom was trying to win a franchise, Bresnahan was told.

Bresnahan said the filming took place on location at two customers' homes, one in Morris and one in Joliet, on a Thursday.

It wasn't until after his day with Tom that the TV production company flew Bresnahan out to Orange County, California, that Saturday night to tell him on Sunday who Tom really was. "Tom" was actually the chief executive officer of Budget Blinds, Chad Hallock.

The whole day Bresnahan spent with "Tom" was a filming of the CBS series "Undercover Boss."

The episode will air at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, April 13, on CBS.

"CEOs want to make sure, all the way through their company, all the sales practices and techniques are actually happening the way they planned it out," Bresnahan said about Undercover Boss.

He said CEOs leave their professional offices to go out into the work field to experience it first hand.

Hallock wanted to go undercover "to see if the franchisees are following all of the practices that make Budget Blinds a success," according to CBS's website, www.cbs.com/shows/undercover_boss.

While on the job, Hallock works undercover on a sales consultation, tries to figure out how the franchise owners conduct their marketing, and works in a production factory and with an installer.

"When I was approached with the opportunity, I took it without hesitation, Hallock said. "To be able to work with the franchisees that have made this company a success was something I could not pass up — even though I haven't taken part in an in-home consultation or installed a blind in quite some time."

Bresnahan was shocked when Hallock came around the corner in the office in Orange County in regular business attire, rather than the Budget Blinds polo he had been wearing the previous day. He said more details of the unveiling will be aired tonight.

He said his mind started racing, trying to remember everything he had said and done throughout his time with the CEO.

"I'm a little excited and a little nervous," Bresnahan said about his TV debut Friday. "It was definitely the experience of a lifetime."

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