One Dyer County native recently learned firsthand in a national competition designed to test the mettle of employees who wish to advance to a senior management position.
Dyersburg High School graduate Terry Love was featured on the A&E series "Be the Boss" in early December. The appearance, offered to only two employees of 140 Melting Pot restaurant locations across North America, placed Love in a heated competition with Jason Long of Warrington, Pa.
The series debuted on A&E in the fall of 2012 with the slogan, "From Average Joe to CEO." Created by the Emmy award-winning creators of "Undercover Boss," the competition-based series allows a company CEO to put two employees through a series of challenges.
The Melting Pot was featured on the show's Dec. 9 episode.
Love and Long were chosen by Front Burner Brands CEO Bob Johnston to appear on the show. Front Burner is the restaurant management company for The Melting Pot restaurant chain.
Love, who holds a degree in baking and pastry from Sullivan University, currently lives in Louisville, Ky. with his wife and two children. He has been a part of The Melting Pot in Louisville for more than eight years. Starting as a server when the restaurant opened in May 2004, Love worked his way to a position as key manager and key server.
Patrons entering the Louisville Melting Pot often request "Fondu-ologist T-Love" for the experience of a "Perfect Night Out." Love brought that enthusiasm and love for his customers to the competition.
"The guests are the best part about my job," said Love in a question-and-answer survey after taping the program. "I have always been a people person and it's a rewarding experience when I am able to make them happy."
Love's fondness was reciprocated. He described one of his best experiences on the job as a surprise from a group of his regular customers.
"One of my regular tables surprised me with a Christmas gift," said Love. "They brought me a crème brulee torch so I could make them crème brulee chocolate."
During the competition, Love was removed from his comfort zone. He and Long faced challenges that took them from milking cows at a dairy to an in-depth look at making cheese. The employees were put to the test to showcase the restaurant's strategies to create a perfect night out for their guests.
At the end of the competition, both Love and Long were rewarded.
Love received a promotion and the new title director of team member communications. The new position allows him to travel throughout the country to speak to team members about their customers' experiences. He will also have an opportunity to speak to the franchise community at The Melting Pot reunion in Mexico and the operators' conference in Baltimore next year.
"(Being on the show) has given me the opportunity to not stress as much about life and bills. I can now spend more time with my family. It's given me motivation to keep working hard at what I do and I am excited for my future in the company," said Love. "My work life hasn't changed much. I am still doing what I wanted to do and that is making people happy. I am excited for my new position and opportunity to start at the beginning of the new year. The chance to work directly with Bob Johnston has made this all the more special to me; I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot from him and other corporate staff members."
Love will continue to be employed at The Melting Pot restaurant in Louisville, so his family will not be uprooted.
Long earned a Melting Pot franchise of his own in the competition.