why Restaurants Hire Mystery Shoppers

Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, is a method by which businesses evaluate customer service, employee performance, and overall guest experience. 

But, Why Do Restaurants Hire Mystery Shoppers, and what are the benefits?

In the restaurant industry, mystery shoppers provide valuable feedback on everything from food quality to service standards. 

In this blog, we will explore the benefits of hiring mystery shoppers for your restaurant and how they can help you improve your business. From identifying areas of improvement to measuring employee performance, we will show you why mystery shopping is an essential tool for any restaurant owner. 

By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of the importance of mystery shopping and how it can help you take your restaurant to the next level.

Benefits of Hiring Mystery Shoppers for Restaurants

Benefits of Hiring Mystery Shoppers

Restaurants hire mystery shoppers for various reasons and here are the 5 Benefits of Hiring Mystery Shoppers for Restaurants:

Improving Customer Service: 

Mystery shoppers can help you identify areas where your customer service needs improvement. They can evaluate things such as greeting customers, taking orders, and handling complaints. This information is beneficial to train staff and improving overall customer service.

Stand-alone restaurants, food chains, cafes, and drive-in restaurants periodically conduct mystery shopping activities to improve their customer service. Some of the leading ones are Mcdonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, etc.

Identifying Areas of Improvement: 

Mystery shoppers can also help you identify other areas of your restaurant that need improvement. This can include issues with food quality, cleanliness, and overall atmosphere. By identifying these areas, you can take steps to make changes and improve the guest experience.

Measuring Employee Performance: 

Mystery shopping can be a great tool for measuring employee performance. It allows you to see how your staff interacts with customers, handles various situations, and follows company policies. This information can be used to provide feedback and training for your staff to improve their performance.

Enhancing Overall Guest Experience: 

By using mystery shoppers, you can gain valuable insights into the guest experience. This can help you make changes that will improve the overall experience for your customers. This can lead to increased satisfaction and repeat business.

Compliance and Legal Protection: 

Mystery shoppers can also help you ensure that your restaurant is in compliance with all legal requirements, including health and safety regulations. This can help you avoid costly penalties, and fines, and protect your business from legal issues.

By hiring mystery shoppers, restaurant owners can gain these valuable benefits which can increase the customer experience and better revenues.

How Restaurant Industry Uses Mystery Shoppers

How Restaurant Industry Uses Mystery Shoppers

The restaurant industry uses mystery shoppers for various reasons such as,

Dining experience evaluations

Mystery shoppers can evaluate the overall dining experience at a restaurant. This can include evaluating the food quality, service, and atmosphere. They can provide detailed feedback on everything from the taste of the food to the cleanliness of the restaurant.

Telephone and online ordering evaluations

Mystery shoppers can place orders and evaluate the speed and accuracy of the service provided. This can be especially useful for restaurants that rely heavily on takeout or delivery orders.

Staff training evaluations

Mystery shoppers can evaluate how well staff are trained in customer service, food preparation, and other important aspects of the restaurant.

Evaluation of new restaurant locations

Mystery shoppers can help in evaluating the layout, decor, and overall atmosphere of the new location. This can help restaurant owners make important decisions about how to run the restaurants and what challenges are waiting ahead.

Tips for Hiring Mystery Shoppers for Restaurants

Choosing the right company

It’s important to choose a reputable mystery shopping company that has experience in the restaurant industry. Look for a company that has a proven track record of providing accurate and detailed feedback.

Setting clear objectives

Before you begin using mystery shoppers, it’s important to set clear objectives for what you want to accomplish. This can include identifying areas of improvement, evaluating employee performance, or measuring the effectiveness of promotions and special events.

Providing appropriate training

It’s important to provide appropriate training for your mystery shoppers. This can include training on the specific objectives of the mystery shop, as well as training on how to provide detailed and accurate feedback.

Communicating effectively with your team

Effective communication with your team is key to the success of mystery shopping. This can include providing information about the specific objectives of the shop, as well as sharing feedback with your staff and making changes based on the results of the shop.

Incorporate feedback and make changes

After receiving feedback from mystery shoppers, it’s important to incorporate it into your business and make necessary changes. This way you can improve customer service, employee performance, and overall guest experience.

Why do Mystery Shoppers prefer Restaurant Mystery Shopping?

Restaurant mystery shopping is amongst the most sought-after assignments for obvious reasons. 

  1. You get to try out great new cuisines for free. 
  2. If the company allows you to take along a person, you can even impress your girlfriend. 

What do Restaurants look for when they are hiring mystery shoppers?

In the case of restaurant mystery shopping, the ability to understand and rate food is critical. Not everybody can become a mystery shopper for an eating place. It is necessary to be able to appreciate the various flavors and have considerable experience in the food industry to give an opinion of value. 

Again different employers look for different demographic profiles when hiring their shoppers. A pizza parlor may prefer a young teenage agent who will be best positioned to comment while a hotel coffee shop may be looking at a seasoned traveler.

Where to find mystery shopping opportunities in restaurants?

To find a job specifically in the restaurant mystery shopping domain, it would be a good idea to visit various job boards and leading mystery shopping company websites. You will find job listings as well as comments on the company hosting them. 

You can also read our guide on how to find mystery shopping opportunities.

You will get answers to important questions like – How much will it pay, how much I can spend, Can I take along somebody. You can find out if there are any certifications that you can get to make you better qualified for the job. 

If you are new to the industry, you can download our list of 400+ List of Leading mystery shopping companies. These sites also give you event dates, tips on best practices, fraud companies, and other useful information.

What do secret shoppers look for in restaurants?

Secret shoppers typically look for a variety of things when evaluating a restaurant. Some of the key areas they focus on include:

  • Customer service
  • Food quality
  • Cleanliness
  • Atmosphere
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Telephone and online ordering
  • Special promotions and events
  • Staff training

Why mystery shopping is exciting and enticing?

Apart from restaurant mystery shopping, some of the other great assignments include experiencing a spa service. Imagine people who go to work as covert agents in a spa. I cannot think of a better way to earn my living. 

It appears to be the single most relaxing job ever made. Even better than a spa are assignments that give you a reimbursable amount to spend or a voucher for their retail outlet. The only thing better than coming home with a leg massage is having something to wear on the leg.


It is important to remember that at the end of the day restaurant mystery shopping is a serious job. It may be better than many other jobs but is still a job. It is possible to enjoy the meal as a covert eater but not necessarily what your partner is saying. 

The focus will need to be on things like cleanliness, speed of service, manners of the staff, and of course the food quality and presentation. People who are looking to make a quick buck or are just interested in the eating part usually are not good options as mystery shoppers.

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