Baja Fresh General Manager Received $50,000 Franchise from CEO David Kim on CBS's "Undercover Boss"
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Baja Fresh General Manager Received $50,000 Franchise from CEO David Kim on CBS's "Undercover Boss"

Local Resident Awarded One of the Biggest Gift in the Show's History

LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Jose Manzanarez credits his focus on the American Dream to his upbringing—the blood, sweat and tears of his parents. In an episode of the hit CBS reality series "Undercover Boss" that aired last night (April 10), Manzanarez's own hard work and dedication were front and center.

The result was as much a surprise to Manzanarez as it was to the large viewing audience that the Emmy-nominated show commands each week.

After posing as a regular member of the rank-and-file workforce, Baja Fresh CEO David Kim presented the general manager with his own franchise—valued at more than $50,000—and a year's personal mentoring to ensure the success of the company's most recent—and youngest—franchisee.

"I will not let you down. I will not let my family down," an emotional Manzanarez said. He called his sister as soon as he found out to let her in on the good news. "Who does that? People with a good heart. People that want to make someone's dream come true."

For Kim, being able to help others follow their dreams is a reward in itself.

"America is the greatest country on the planet," said Kim, the author of "Ignite!: The 12 Values That Fuel Billionaire Success" ( "People are what matter most. I wanted to give the Baja Fresh family a piece of the American Dream I've been blessed to experience. Giving ignites success. I tell our employees, 'Don't follow you dreams—chase them!"

Manzanarez pursues his dreams by inspiring others to fulfill their potential. Teamwork has always come naturally for Manzanarez, a talented soccer player who quickly developed on-field leadership and taught teammates the value of working together. His experiences as a guide and mentor have assisted him in becoming a highly regarded general manager for Baja Fresh.

"As the coach of a store's team, I am responsible for pushing the staff to victory each day and together, it is accomplished," Manzanarez said of his belief in empowering his team and encouraging them every day to obtain the best outcome. "I enjoy working for this company as it has provided me advancement and the motivation I need to continue pushing myself further as a professional."

"In the beginning, when I agreed to be on 'Undercover Boss,' I set out to inspire the members of our family," Kim said. "In the end, they were the ones who inspired me with their drive and professionalism. I'll look forward to watching José grow as an important member of the Baja Fresh family and as a person."

Baja Fresh (, the fast-casual Mexican pioneer known for its fire-grilled hormone-free meats, now operates or franchises 255 Baja Fresh restaurants in 24 states and Dubai. David Kim said he wanted to go on CBS's hit show to reconnect with employees and to ensure that the company's passion for freshness—Baja Fresh maintains a strict "no can openers, no freezers, no microwaves" policy in its restaurants—is being carried out. The executive says he was extremely pleased with what he saw.

Each week, "Undercover Boss" follows a different executive as they leave the comfort of the corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their companies. While working alongside their employees, they see the effects their decisions have on others, where the problems lie within their organizations and get an up-close look at both the good and the bad while discovering the unsung heroes who make their companies run.

The Emmy-nominated show follows high-profile chief executives as they slip anonymously into the rank and file of their companies. Currently in its second season, "Undercover Boss" was television's number one new series in 2009-2010, setting a record for the most-watched premier episode of any reality series in television history.



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