Undercover Boss: President of 1-800 Flowers: Where are They Now?
On the season finale of “Undercover Boss,” Chris McCann goes undercover in the 1-800 Flowers business that his brother founded.
Company Name: 1-800 Flowers
Undercover Boss: Chris McCann
Are They Still There?: Yes!
The dramatic season finale of season one of “Undercover Boss” features one of the biggest florists and gift shops in the world, but the episode seems to be more about sibling rivalry. The founder and CEO of 1-800 Flowers, Jim McCann, has asked his brother Chris to go undercover. Chris is the president and COO of 1-800 Flowers, and agrees to go undercover at his brother’s request because they both agree Jim would be too recognizable. Jim’s face was well known from company advertisements, but Chris would be able to go under the radar as he worked the front-line jobs within 1-800 Flowers.
Although being president of 1-800 Flowers is a prestigious title, Chris McCann hopes that one day he will be the CEO in charge. He also hopes that by agreeing to go undercover, Jim will start to see Chris more as a business partner than just his little brother. So, Chris prepares his disguise and assumes the name Patrick O’Reilly for his week on “Undercover Boss.” His cover story is that he is an out-of-work house painter who is now a new recruit for 1-800 Flowers.
Job #1: 1-800 Flowers Store in New Jersey
The president of 1-800 Flowers knows that the company couldn’t operate without creative and talented florists who bring the flower arrangements to life and prepare them for delivery. So, Chris McCann begins his “Undercover Boss” journey by training with a floral designer named Pauline. On the morning Chris begins his shift, Pauline has to prepare around 20 floral arrangements. As Chris quickly learns, it’s a lot harder to do than it looks!
Once the rush is over, Chris learns more about Pauline’s experience working at 1-800 Flowers. The COO is dismayed to hear that many of the flower arrangements are old and outdated. He also doesn’t like that Pauline wants to design new arrangements herself, but she’s had no opportunity to do so and she hasn’t received any ongoing training to help her achieve her goals.
Job #2: Fannie May Factory in Ohio
Few things go better with flowers than a box of chocolates! So, Chris travels to Fannie May Factory in Ohio to learn how the chocolate sold by 1-800 Flowers is produced and distributed. As the COO, Chris has been asking factory managers how they can pick up the pace and increase productivity. But once he is on the line himself, he realizes how hard it is to meet the existing goals. Chris has trouble keeping up with the fast pace of the factory, making a mess and letting chocolate fall all over the floor.
For this shift, Chris is trained by a line operator named Nicole. While Chris is frantic and stressed, Nicole is calm and reassuring. Chris thinks she could be a great manager one day. But despite Nicole’s competency, he is dismayed to learn that Nicole has no say in how productivity goals are set at the factory and there is no incentive program for exceeding expectations. He is also frustrated to learn that the higher-ups in the company haven’t been communicating with people like Nicole as much as they should be. Instead of enforcing unobtainable productivity goals in the factory, corporate and managers should be talking to the people on the frontlines to learn from them and plan accordingly.
Job #3: 1-800 Flowers Store in Boston
The president and COO’s next stop is one of the most profitable 1-800 Flowers stores in the nation. Chris wants to learn this store’s secret to success so he can share it with other locations. He quickly realizes that the secret is Dee, the store manager. Dee is great at forming relationships with her customers and they come into the store because they love her.
While this seemed like Chris’s best shift yet, it quickly turned into a stressful one when Dee’s boss came in. Dee’s boss had previously met Chris and recognized the company president. Thankfully, Chris was able to pull him aside and ask him to keep his secret. Chris just barely avoided having his cover blown in the middle of his week on “Undercover Boss.”
Job #4: 1-800 Flowers Store in Waban, MA
Chris travels to another 1-800 Flowers Store in Massachusetts where he meets Sheryl, another great store manager. When Chris arrived at his shift, he was hoping to learn how the store adapts to local customers. However, he was disappointed by the lack of customers that actually came in to shop. Sheryl explained that people don’t seem to understand what 1-800 Flowers is and they assume it’s an online business only. As such, Sheryl has trouble attracting new customers. Chris knows she will need his support to fix this.
Job #5: 1-800 Flowers Store in Brooklyn, New York
When Chris enters his final job at a 1-800 Flowers Store in New York, he is hoping to meet a younger generation of employees who can help grow the business over the next decade. He sees a lot of potential in José, a 19-year-old production manager who has moved through the ranks of the company despite his young age. José tells Chris that he had to get a job at a young age to support his family after his dad passed away. As Chris has also lost his father, he related to José’s story and was inspired by his ambition.
Of course, this seemingly great shift had to have some drama. The store gets a surprise visit from Jim McCann, the founder and CEO of 1-800 Flowers. Chris is frustrated because he worries Jim will blow his cover and he is annoyed that Jim seems to feel the need to check up on his baby brother. During his visit, Jim tries to make Chris as uncomfortable and awkward as possible because he knows Chris won’t be able to do or say anything back.
The Big Reveal:
Before Chris can reveal himself to his employees, he needs to reveal his feelings to his older brother. After he calls the CEO out for intruding on his final job, Chris shares what he learned and how he thinks it should affect the future of 1-800 Flowers. Now that the brothers are on the same page, it’s time to surprise their employees at company headquarters.
Chris tells Pauline that he loved working with her and compliments her talent. He reveals that he is going to make Pauline’s dream come true by setting her up to train with the 1-800 Flowers design council. After her training, Pauline would get the chance to design a new floral collection. In the weeks after the “Undercover Boss” episode was filmed, she got to help design the Mother’s Day flower collection for the following year.
Chris wanted Nicole to know that he was aware of how hard she worked, and that he was impressed by how calm she stayed in the hectic factory. Because of his experience with Nicole, Chris was going to make sure she would have a say in setting reasonable productivity goals in the factory going forward. He also started a company-wide incentive program to reward workers like her who exceed goals in all of the factories.
This proud boss tells Dee that she is the secret to her store’s success and that he was blown away by the relationships she’s created with the customers. In order to thank her, 1-800 Flowers would be naming a new floral arrangement after her. Called “Dee’s Paradise,” some of the proceeds from this new arrangement would also help fund a scholarship program for aspiring floral designers.
Chris wanted Sheryl to know that he recognized her for the person and florist she was and that he wanted to help her get customers in the door. Chris connected Sheryl to the local marketing team to help her attract new customers. In the weeks after the episode was filmed, business at this 1-800 Flowers store was already starting to pick up.
When Chris looked at José, he saw ambition and the future of the company. He offered to be José’s mentor and helped put the young manager on track to become the youngest franchise owner in the history of 1-800 Flowers. When José is ready, Chris has pledged $25,000 to help him start his own franchise.
Where is Chris McCann, President of 1-800 Flowers, now?
According to Linkedin, both Chris McCann and Jim McCann are still in leadership positions at 1-800 Flowers. Since the “Undercover Boss” episode aired, Chris has achieved his goal of running the company. Six years ago, he was promoted to the role of CEO. While it seems like Jim has taken a bit of a step back from the company, he is still involved as a chairman.