NORMAN — Ron Lynch is too tall to slump into one of the booths at his restaurant and go unnoticed.
At 6-foot-6, the former Norman High and Oklahoma basketball player is used to being recognized. And it's not from playing on the Sooners squad in the early ‘70s.
Lynch is now the president of the Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed sports bar and restaurant. Since his height makes him easily recognizable, Lynch felt like he could never go into one of his “pubs” and not get a filtered response.
That's where CBS, the national broadcast company, came in. CBS called to ask Lynch if he wanted to be a part of their show, Undercover Boss.
“I said, ‘I'm 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, with white hair,'” Lynch said. “I'm going to be recognized immediately.”
CBS said they knew what to do.
They gave Lynch a brown wig and a thick brown beard.
“I looked like the dude from the Big Lebowski,” Lynch told The Oklahoman from his office in Phoenix, Ariz. “Actually, that's what they started calling me on set. They'd say, ‘Cue the dude.'”
Lynch spent 10 days working 12-14 hours per day undercover inside his restaurants. The next episode, which airs 8 p.m. Friday, focuses on a waitress that takes the “tilted” idea a bit too far.
”I just like to have fun,” the waitress said in CBS's promo. “I like to have people try to party.”
The Tilted Kilt is like a Celtic version of Hooters, with waitresses wearing short skirts and tie tops that leave their nearly flat bellies exposed.
“The Tilted Kilt is edgy and deals on sex appeal. And we won't back down from that or apologize,” Lynch said.
But Lynch didn't like some of the edginess the waitress showed to patrons. He said although it's a PG-13 atmosphere, they still want it to be classy.
Lynch wasn't able to talk much else about the waitress since the show hasn't aired.
But he learned a lot by going under cover.
“She was 19 years old,” Lynch said. “I couldn't lay out a 19-year-old on national television. It made me realize we hire young people, exceptionally young.”
This situation helped him realize his restaurants needed a mentoring program.
“It is an adult environment,” Lynch said. “The younger ones need a mentor with a mature attitude.”
He also learned that he wanted his managers to be closer to the “front lines” with the waitresses by sometimes approaching tables together.
Lynch learned a lot about how to run a business from being a part of sports teams, like the Norman and Oklahoma basketball programs.
He first began a career selling food at age 12. He sold sodas at Owen Field during Oklahoma football games.
Now he wants his pubs to provide a similar experience. The Tilted Kilt has nearly 73 locations, with two opening next week in Denver and Charlotte, N.C.
The Tilted Kilt in Tempe and Scottsdale are known for being the game day headquarters for Sooners fans in Arizona.
“We have about 300 fans,” Lynch said. “There are Oklahoma flags hanging from the ceilings.”
Although there aren't any Tilted Kilts in Oklahoma, Lynch said there could be one in Oklahoma City, and then Tulsa, within a year.
Lynch said he likes his pubs to be stocked with 50-60 inch flat-screen TVs that always feature the best sports games on television.
“When people watch the Sooners play, I want them to have the best view,” he said, “and that better be at the Tilted Kilt.”