Mrs. Fields has been selling delicious cookies to the public since 1977, when young mother Debbi Fields opened her first store in Palo Alto, Calif. The company grew into a franchised chain, popping up in malls across the country. But growth eventually stalled and the company is emerging from its second bankruptcy in the past seven years.
On the new OWN docu-series "The Customer Is Always Right?" struggling companies turn to their long-time customers for feedback and new ideas on improving their bottom lines. In this first episode, Mrs. Fields hires two customers to work alongside employees at its headquarters to implement real improvements to its business model. After one week, the changes they make are presented to a focus group. If the group likes their ideas, the two customers each win $10,000.
“I am a little nervous about giving two consumers the power to create whatever they want for the Mrs. Fields brand,” says Carol, executive chef at Mrs. Fields, in this sneak peek of the premiere episode.
The two customers taking over the cookie-maker’s headquarters are Teri Shoustal and Rebecca Harvey, who want to push for a new cookie recipe.
“We came in with all of our ideas and excitement, and [Carol] was a little standoffish,” Rebecca says in the video.
“But, I get it,” Teri says. “Who are we? This is her job, she’s been doing this for a very long time, and we come in and start giving our ideas and ordering her around a little bit, so I get it. I guess we need to tread lightly.”
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