Restaurants are places where customers come not just for good food but also ambience and customer service. Businesses today are banking on 360 degree customer experience to differentiate themselves from the competition. Starting from the look and feel of the restaurant to the promptness of the staff, every touchpoint counts. It therefore becomes imperative for restaurateurs to be aware of how their restaurants are perceived by someone from outside. Even a small slip might drive customers away. Hence, it is important for them to have a detailed and accurate customer feedback to help them identify the pitfalls in their service and/or execution. In this context, a mystery shopper fits in perfectly.
Many would wonder what mystery shopping is and why mystery shoppers exist. The answer to this question lies in the benefits that the practice brings along. A mystery shopper for a restaurant does something called ‘mystery audits’. He is like an auditor who judges the services provided by the restaurant without giving away the true purpose of his visit. He works in tandem with a mystery shopping firm that provides him with a set of parameters on which the quality of the restaurant in various aspects has to be judged. He visits the restaurant like a regular customer and takes note of everything from the time he enters till he returns. What’s interesting here is that all the expenses borne by the shopper are reimbursed by the restaurants themselves who have tied-up with the mystery shopping firm.
The importance of mystery shopping for restaurants reflects in the fact that an honest, detailed and accurate feedback is provided to the restaurant. This way, the areas of improvement are clearer than that in an unstructured approach. Whether the quality of food can be improved, or the prices are inconsistent, or waiting time is too long, the mystery shopper will answer all these questions in his final evaluation.
So, the mystery shopper not only gets to have the food of his choice but also gets paid for doing the audit and the restaurant gets quality feedback to look at. This is one great example of killing two birds with one stone.