Frequently Asked Questions About Secret Shopper Services

What is a secret/mystery shopper service?

A secret/mystery shopper service is simply the act of sending a diner into a restaurant with a pre-determined criteria to score the experience. This allows the owner or operator a view into the typical guest experience at their location.

Why should you be wary of secret shopper services?

Secret shopper services can vary widely depending on who is executing the service. Many service providers have turned to gig-workers to execute their shopper services, this leads to a less impactful evaluation that is more akin to a Yelp review than a tool you can feel confident referencing to coach your team.

How to choose a secret shopper provider / 5 questions to ask before you hire a secret shopper

When choosing a secret shopper provider your primary focus should be to ensure that the people you’re working with understand the concept of your restaurants and your vision, or what it is you’re trying to accomplish by hiring a secret shopper service. Here are some helpful questions you can ask:

  • How long have you been providing a secret shopper service?
  • How much control do we have over when the service occurs, which dayparts or revenue centers should be focused on?
  • What is the criteria? Does it align with your style of service and concept?
  • What does the final report look like, and what kind of feedback should we expect on the completed report?
  • WHO will be conducting the service? Do they have a background in hospitality, food and beverage?
How are secret shopper services applied to different concepts?

Secret Shopper Services can be tailored to a specific concept or service model. Often the criteria structure remains the same while adjustments are made to the individual questions to accommodate any nuances within a concept or service style. The core elements of customer service, professionalism, cleanliness, and execution apply to any concept.

What is included in a secret shopper/mystery shopper report?

Our completed report will include our pre-determined criteria scored on a yes or no basis. This criteria is broken into sections like Valet, Host Service, Food & Beverage ,Teamwork, Facility Cleanliness, etc. Our industry professionals will also include written summaries by section to give you a better understanding of what led to the associated scoring, and which team members were involved. Additionally, photos will be included for food and beverage items as well as any other applicable observations.

How can a secret shopper help improve my restaurant’s bottom line?

The secret shopper service can reveal any number of subjects that will improve bottom line profitability. These could be material, like portion control on plates served to guests or over-pouring from the bartender; or they could be operational issues that hinder the guest experience and make it more difficult to continually build sales. Operational issues could include things like skipped steps of service, servers not offering dessert or coffee before delivering the check, slow service at the valet, or an unwelcoming host interaction.

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