More than ever, it's been found that hospitality matters in a restaurant, according to Hotel News Resource. The actual challenge is now determining how exactly to deliver the welcoming feeling associated with good restaurants. Some consumers are opposed to the influx of technology inside the places they choose to sit down to a meal, while others actually enjoy the convenience of typing in their orders ahead of time to avoid waiting in line. To know exactly what consumers want, the best approach is to use a mystery shopper.
The advantages of customized, raw data
One of the major areas where mystery shoppers can benefit restaurant owners is their ability to quantitatively measure various timing issues, such as the time before someone asks if they would like to be seated or the time it takes to receive the food after making an order. Many people might be surprised by how exact these numbers need to be for a good experience. A professional mystery shopper has to have very precise ways of measuring time using his or her phone and watch. This means that it shouldn't be an issue trying to figure out how long a customer will wait for something on average. A person can be provided this information quickly and easily as simply one more part of the mystery shopper report.
Having these times measured is becoming increasingly crucial in the customer service business, according to Retail Info Systems News. The best way to get the information is through discrete, unbiased mystery shoppers.
Mystery shoppers are also trained to do whatever they are told in their preparatory letter that explains how to eat at the restaurant. They can ask exactly the questions you want asked, and they can order exactly what you want ordered when you want it and however you want it served. If you want to test employee attitudes, then send a mystery shopper at the end of the day and have him or her order something time-consuming to cook.
Truly excellent mystery shoppers are experienced enough to completely blend into the background so as to be unnoticeable. Nobody will know that you sent someone to check up on the staff. As such, you can conduct an extended campaign of mystery shopping in order to see what the numbers are like before beginning a customer service programming, and following the numbers until they reach whatever level of satisfaction you believe appropriate to the restaurant.
Mystery shoppers don't need to please anyone or make anyone happy with their report. They answer directly to the company that hired them through the mystery shopping service, which means they don't feel a need to only report on positive service. They can give completely unbiased feedback about how well or poorly they were served. This doesn't mean harsh criticism if it isn't deserved. A good mystery shopper provides extremely precise and concrete feedback, such as the exact doneness of a steak and the exact words spoken by the wait-staff.
This feedback is invaluable because most people aren't going to give it to you this discretely. A restaurant critic might - or might not - offer valuable feedback, but by that time, the restaurant has already been reviewed. Even worse may be Yelp, which tends towards hyperbole and consists of a blend of trustworthy comments, rants and fake reviews. The best way to get private, extremely direct and informative feedback without the possibility of hurting a restaurants' reputation is to hire a series of mystery shoppers in order to regularly gage the quality of service being performed.
The staff at the restaurant won't ever know they've been mystery shopped, but the direct and informative advice you give them will help them out more directly than if you simply watch them or read reviews of your own restaurant online.