The article focuses on things to consider in selecting the right mystery shopping firm for the hospitality business. Mystery shopping firms help measure and provide information on service delivery in the hospitality industry. To select a firm that can develop an effective mystery shopping program, it is suggested to look for one which has expertise in the hospitality industry and local market area.
The article discusses the author's experience as a secret shopper in restaurants in the U.S. She admits that the reason why she accepted the job is for the free meals. Her main responsibility is to report on the operations of a restaurant when managers are not around. However, she admits that the job is quite difficult. Furthermore, she admits that she once altered her report to prevent a waiter to be fired by the management.
The objectives of this study were to design a prototype mystery shopper program for Air Force Services that included recruiting and training of shoppers, recognition of employees, and to test, evaluate, and modify the Air Force Services mystery shopper program, based on the results of the prototype program. Knowledge gained from the prototype program can be applied to independent hospitality operations, along with other military lodging and foodservice programs.
To facilitate the selection process, we developed a restaurant rating scale using a mystery shopper approach. This study entailed 20 questions that covered all elements of the consumers’ dining experience in a table-service restaurant setting, as well as a comprehensive mystery shopper training program to ensure consistency of quality in the evaluation process.
Hospitality operations depend greatly on measuring the quality of services and products delivered to their customers, several methods are used, but mystery shopping is the most preferred. Mystery shopping is a process that uses industry professionals to evaluate the products and services offered by hospitality operations through living the actual guest experience and engaging in normal guest - staff encounters and interactions, leading to final evaluations to be reported to concerned management in order to improve the overall performance.