The Definitive Guide to Business with Marcus Lemonis

Marcus Lemonis: How a controlling boss can destroy a company

When business guru Marcus Lemonis met the owner of catering company Honest Foods, he quickly sensed a problem: The boss didn't know how to treat his employees.

Despite its savory food and 8 percent net profits, the Chicagoland team was on the verge of a mutiny and the business on the brink of demise.

"If you really genuinely don't change, everybody at some point will walk out and you'll lose your business and I'll lose my money and they'll be gone," Lemonis, host of CNBC's "The Profit," warned on this week's episode.

Tad Devlin, known for having a controlling, temperamental nature, was constantly nervous about losing his business, so he transferred his panic onto his 12 employees.

"He worries that other people aren't doing their jobs, then he interferes and then he wonders why people can't do their job," Lemonis said.

Impressed with the company's mouth-watering food, Lemonis offered Honest Foods $300,000 for 33 percent of the business and proffered advice to Devlin on how to be a better leader.

Lemonis advised Devlin to cede control, delegate more tasks and trust his employees.

Marcus Lemonis works with Tad Devlin, owner and founder of catering company Honest Foods since 1997, to better manage his employees. Devlin had been known among his employees for being hot-tempered and crabby.
Source: CNBC
Marcus Lemonis works with Tad Devlin, owner and founder of catering company Honest Foods since 1997, to better manage his employees. Devlin had been known among his employees for being hot-tempered and crabby.

"Let the employees do their job and let them learn how to work together and let them learn how to solve problems on their own," Lemonis told him during a car-themed catering event in Libertyville, Illinois.

Lemonis' advice immediately worked. Once Devlin backed off and let the employees do their jobs themselves, Lemonis said, "the rest of the crew were like a well-oiled machine."

In addition to relaying greater freedom to employees, Lemonis recommended Devlin show greater appreciation toward them. "They want to feel appreciated, and a pat on the back sometimes just isn't good enough."

With Lemonis' persistent pushing, by the next big event — the 50th birthday party for CampingWorld and Good Sam Club Devlin was like a different person.

"I want you guys to help in making this company great," Devlin told his employees after the event. "And I just want to say thanks for being here, I really appreciate you guys sticking close by."

Huddling together and cheering each other on, under Devlin's new managerial approach, it looks like the Honest Foods team will indeed be sticking together for a long time coming.

Disclosure: Lemonis is chairman and CEO of CampingWorld and Good Sam Club.