Many restaurant owners hire secret shoppers to help them evaluate staff, rate ambiance, and offer an unbiased opinion on food. But before you hire a service to do some mystery shopping in your restaurant, there are a few things that you should consider.
To start, make sure that you have a clear idea about what it is that you want to get out of the experience. Make a list of all your concerns about your business, and what you want to improve on. If you do hire a service to check out your restaurant, this will give them a really solid understanding of what you want to learn.
That said, make sure that you allow the secret shoppers to do their jobs – in other words, stay out of it. You will want a true picture of your business from an outside perspective, and that means that they might find problems or issues that you haven’t even considered. For instance, most secret shopper services will place a call to the restaurant to evaluate your employees’ phone skills. This might not be something that you would add to your list, but it’s something that secret shoppers are trained to keep an eye on.
Though it can be incredibly difficult, you can’t take these evaluations personally. Make sure that you take all of the secret shopper’s recommendations with a grain of salt, and look at the whole picture of your employees’ performance, not just their performance on one night. These secret shopper evaluations are great for shining a light on any number of problems in a business, but you know better than anyone where your business excels and where it might need more work.
Before you hire a firm, be sure to do your research and read reviews. Better yet, ask a friend in the business if they have used a secret shopper service and if they have any recommendations. These services vary in price, experience, and quality, and finding one that works for your type of business is extremely important.