Trading Places: Undercover Bosses

Five B.E. 100s CEOs who bravely stepped into their employees' shoes

Warren Thompson, CEO, Thompson Hospitality Corp. (Photo: Kevin Allen)

WARREN THOMPSON
SERVING UP SMILES

Warren Thompson, CEO of Thompson Hospitality Corp., has had food on the brain since he raised, produced, and sold hogs at the age of 12. Today, he heads a company that owns 21 retail franchises and manages 550 contract locations in schools, hospitals, and corporate dining centers.

Thompson, who projects generating revenues of $390 million in 2011, realizes the importance of a good customer experience. “We try to hire attitude. We can teach skills and develop skills, but the person has to have the right attitude,” he says. “We have to have people in our business who smile by nature.” Thompson Hospitality Corp. was be industrial/service Company of the Year in 2010.

Thompson is an advocate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, despite his claims that it will likely increase healthcare costs for his company by 10%. Thompson offers subsidized benefits to all his employees but is concerned that not everyone can afford it. “[Reform is worth it] because today I can walk into one of my cafeterias in Mississippi and I may have two or three employees with diabetes and no health insurance. How do I say to that worker, ‘I want you to smile every day and be happy,’ when she is worried about how she’s going to get her insulin?”

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