The Definitive Guide to Business with Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis had the perfect response to this manager’s meltdown

When most people think of the word "boss," they probably think of someone with thick skin who's up for any challenge. But Tad Devlin, boss and owner of Honest Foods Catering is different.

On the latest episode of CNBC's "The Profit," serial entrepreneur and host Marcus Lemonis found the catering company owner flailing as his business lost 30 percent of revenue in 2015. The stress of keeping his business profitable made his emotions run high. In several exchanges, he took his frustrations out on his employees.

Honest Foods owner Tad Devlin gets into an argument with his pastry chef, Roni Tepper, while at a catering event for Chevrolet in Libertyville, IL.
CNBC
Honest Foods owner Tad Devlin gets into an argument with his pastry chef, Roni Tepper, while at a catering event for Chevrolet in Libertyville, IL.

In order to help save his business, Lemonis used tough love to show Devlin how he was treating his employees.

He gave Devlin a task: purchase a food truck to help expand the business. But, when Devlin returned with a truck that turned out to need at least $5,000 in repairs, Lemonis treated him as sharply as Devlin treats his own employees.

"Why in one sense are you in the weeds, in everybody's business, questioning everything that they're doing, but on something like this [food truck] you gloss over the detail?" Lemonis asked.

Devlin, irritated with Lemonis' reproach, deflected. "I'm asking for help in areas and I don't feel like I'm getting it," he said. "Give me a ... break."

While everyone deserves a break at some point when running a business, there's a higher set of standards and responsibilities, Lemonis reminded Devlin.

"I know you're tired, it's part of being a business owner and you know that," Lemonis said. "That's the choice you make when you own a business."

While Devlin struggled with Lemonis' constructive criticism, by the end of the conversation, Lemonis broke through to Devlin and taught him a lesson.

"You think I'm picking on you. I'm not," Lemonis said. "But I will tell you that now you know how your people feel."

With Lemonis' feedback, Devlin left with greater empathy for his employees, and a better understanding of how to treat them.