5 things to include in a restaurant mystery shopping report

Mystery shopping a restaurant can be a delicious and fun experience, but if you're report writing skills aren't up to snuff, you could miss out on the meal reimbursement.

Mystery shopping a restaurant can be a delicious and fun experience, but if your report writing skills aren't up to snuff, you could miss out on the meal reimbursement. Clients use these reports to evaluate mystery shoppers' performance. Because your report is so important, you need to make sure you're including the right details.  

Host or hostess's performance
Details in mystery shopping reports are what will get you paid, and the gathering of these details starts the moment you enter the door. What are the host staff members doing when you enter? Are they at their post, helping a customer or on their phones? The client will want to know what exactly the host staff members are doing. When writing your report, be honest and include everything. If the staff members weren't at their post, say where they were and what they were doing. Try to get the names of the employees you interact with before you get seated. If you can't, get their names when you're seated. Some restaurants train their employees to introduce themselves and others do not. Either way, make a mental note to add it to your report.

Cleanliness
Cleanliness is also something you can start assessing the moment you walk in the door. Look at all aspects of the restaurant, including the floors, walls, ceilings, lights, tables, counters, plates and silverware. Pay attention to the cleanliness of the restaurant the entire time you're on the job. 

"The server's answers to your questions will show you how much they know about the menu."

Wait staff's menu knowledge
Make sure to ask questions about the menu when ordering both drinks and food. The server's answers to your questions will show you how much he or she knows about the menu. Also add if the server told you about the restaurants special offerings or the soups and desserts of the day. Most restaurants want their wait staff to know the menu well, so this information will look good in your report. 

Food and drinks
The information about the food and drinks is some of the most important. You want to list how long it took to get your food and drinks, if the food was prepared in the way you ordered it, if the portion was what you expected, if it was the right temperature and how it tasted. When commenting on taste, include whether or not the dish or drink was too salty, too sweet or  imbalanced in any other way. Also mention the presentation of the food. Although you're probably not thinking too much about the price because you're hoping to be reimbursed, including whether or not you thought the food was reasonably priced is always helpful information.

Many restaurants will want to know how quickly the plates were cleared from your table. Many restaurants will want to know how quickly the plates were cleared from your table.

Service
Service encompasses many different aspects of the dining experience, including how the wait staff treated you, if the food was brought out at the same time, how often the wait staff checked with your table, how quickly plates were cleared away and more. Try to keep a list going either in your head or on your smartphone. Restaurant service happens quickly, and it can be hard to remember everything later when you're writing the report. Taking notes with your smartphone works great, because to the wait staff it just looks like you're texting. The notes you take on the service you've received can extend all the way to the point when you pay your bill.