Mystery Shopper Dining Assignments
I visited the same location as a mystery shopper two Sundays in a row, the second occasion being yesterday. It was a mystery shopper dining assignment each time. The visits were very different and I’ll use this to illustrate what we should be measuring. It’s two visits to a national food pub chain. The restaurant industry is important to the UK economy. So, it’s important to get this right.
Mystery Shopper Dining: Level Of Trade
The difference in level of trade on these two dates was staggering. On the first date the venue was packed. I struggled to find a table and waited a long time at the bar to be served. That’s busy! Whilst ordering at the bar I was told that the wait for food would be around 40 minutes. This was a fairly accurate prediction. It took longer to use the toilets, longer to have the table cleared. And longer to pay but all of this is expected when it is this busy. And it’s here that I want to look at customer measures.
Mystery shopper dining is all about the customer experience. People want the best service. Mystery shopping helps define what that actually is. Because of mystery shopping restaurants and pubs get better at what they do. Because of the likes of you and me, the service improves.
Mystery Shopper Dining: What Could Have Been Done?
The only potential change would have been to have more staff present. Now I know that at this time of the week people need their time off and there’s more likelihood of someone calling in sick, so this isn’t always an option.
As a measure of the actual service the team gave me on that day, they could not have affected the delays. It was purely down to the heavy trade. The service was friendly and as efficient as possible and the delays were explained. The visit yesterday was to a virtually empty place. There were no queues, speedy service and the food arrived quickly. The team worked as well as they did the week before, but with vastly fewer customers.
It’s here that you need to consider what you are measuring. Service times in busier times can be extended and this is acceptable. If you’re unsure then speak to your mystery shop company, they will help you along the way.
If you want more information about mystery shopping then take a look at my book, available now. Filled with ideas, hints and tips. Hope it helps!