When you think about Mystery Shopping, you may not assume that it’s something that can benefit your restaurant – but there are a number of different areas you, your staff and your venue can benefit from having a Mystery Diner come in and evaluate your restaurant.
Getting constructive feedback for your establishment isn’t always easy – it’s especially difficult in the service industry when each customer is going to have different standards and expectations from your service. Food reviews online can help to provide a valuable snapshot of how your restaurant is generally performing, but this information has to be tempered with the knowledge that some people will never be happy, some are looking for issues, and others might never have visited – but added their opinion anyway.
Having reputation management that is both proactive and reactive will help you clear some of these difficult areas, but to get the best view of your business, you need to look at it from a multitude of different angles.
Something is Going Wrong – But You’re Not Sure What
Many restaurant owners fall into the trap of not monitoring their venues and suddenly find that things have either gone wrong, or their offerings aren’t as popular as they once were.
When a situation has been left unmonitored for quite some time, it can be difficult to pinpoint the areas that are working, the ones that need improvement, and the ones that need wholesale change.
For many, the knee-jerk reaction is to change everything, and essentially start from scratch. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but if you don’t need to change everything – then why spend the money doing it?
Mystery Shopping, or in the case of restaurants – Mystery Dining, isn’t about giving away freebies and hearing what you want to hear – it’s about working with a reputable company, that can help you develop a checklist of areas that need evaluating, and bring you targeted feedback that not only helps improve service, but works towards an inclusive marketing strategy.
What Can a Mystery Shopper Actually Offer Your Venue?
Before the Mystery Dining takes place, you need to work with your Reputation Managers, Marketing Managers and the Staff on the front line who are the most familiar with customer sentiment. By working together, you can identify which areas are having problems, and what needs to be evaluated.
Your Mystery Shopper isn’t coming in to ‘catch people out’ or point fingers of blame. Your staff should have no idea who they are, and for the best approach – shouldn’t even be aware that a Mystery Diner is visiting. This will allow a fuller, more realistic view of the day-to-day running of your business.
The Mystery Shopper is in a unique position, where they are visiting as a customer, but evaluating as a stakeholder.
Whether you’re looking to try a new menu, change the décor, or even change the floor plan – getting a 3rd Party opinion, which is non-biased, but based on Customer Experience and current trends, can give you a lot of usable data to work with.
What Can You Actually Take Away from This Valuable Experience
Once your Mystery Shopper has visited and provided their restaurant reviews, you will be able to see how your venue is performing on a nightly basis, what is resonating with the customers – or not, and what areas they believe you could benefit from moving in or away from.
The data that a proper, comprehensive Mystery Shopper report makes available, can inform your marketing plans, and ideas for the future and identify potential new trends that you could capitalise on.