10 secrets of the mystery diner’s work at a restaurant

Have you ever received a mystery diner at your restaurant? No, we are not talking about the customer that is hard to figure out or the quiet one who is hard to please. We’re talking about a diner in the restaurant world that can quietly make any restaurant go belly up. Do you know who we are talking about?

Let’s define the term:

Mystery diner at a restaurant

It is a person that masquerades as a customer and who is in charge of evaluating different aspects of the restaurant from the diner’s perspective in order to ensure that it meets the requirements of a culinary experience.

Who hires a mystery customer?

Mystery customer restaurantThe owner of the restaurant, in order to have a more comprehensive overview of how their business is running and of the team’s performance.

Mystery customer restaurantCompeting restaurants, to obtain information about the services, quality and strategies that are used on the market.

Mystery customer restaurantGovernment agencies, to verify that the establishments are adhering to the law and the minimum standards for the hospitality industry in the area.

It is important that the team are always ready to receive them and, more importantly, pass this evaluation. How? By discovering the 10 main secrets about their work. We will reveal them below:

Mystery customer restaurant banner

Mystery customer restaurant Available staff: The first thing that the mystery customer will observe upon entering the restaurant is how many people are working in the dinner service and if the staffing is adequate for the demand at that time. They will also check if they are wearing the uniforms properly and have a pleasant appearance.

graphic number two Mystery customer restaurant Customer service: The mystery customer will particularly check if they are served on time upon arriving at the establishment, if the service is friendly and assertive, if the staff introduce themselves and take care of their needs as soon as they enter. Afterwards, they will review how they are treated during the service and upon finishing.

graphic number three Mystery customer restaurant Cleanliness and setting: They will also analyse the level of cleanliness at the entrance, the parking lot if applicable, the dining hall, restrooms, etc. along with the ambiance, if the music or noise is tolerable, if there is adequate lighting, if the smells are pleasant and if the temperature is comfortable.

graphic number four Mystery customer restaurant Accessibility: Another important point in their evaluation is to see if the restaurant’s entrances, ramps, and hallways are safe and if the restaurant is tailored to handicapped people.

graphic number five Mystery customer restaurant Wait times: They will measure how long it takes to carry out every activity, especially the amount of time taken to place their orders, how long it takes for said orders to arrive at the table and the time between dishes, if they manage to pay the bill quickly, and the time that the team takes to solve contingencies.

graphic number six Mystery customer restaurant Product knowledge: Another secret of their job is ensuring that the staff that serves them is familiar with the offering and provides complete and detailed information about the dishes and beverages.

graphic number seven Mystery customer restaurant Quality of the offering: Of course, they will analyze the menu and its physical appearance and see if it can be understood, if it is properly written, the arrangement of the selection as well as the prices and quality of all the food compared to the expectations that are sold.

graphic number eight Mystery customer restaurant Interest in the customer’s needs: This is a very important point, especially in these times of personalised service. The mystery customer will confirm if the staff has understood their preferences, if they are interested in satisfying them, and if they are offered solutions.

graphic number nine Mystery customer restaurantSales strategies: The mystery customer will also observe if the staff has used strategies such as cross-selling or upselling to offer them better products, promotions and increase sales.

graphic number ten Mystery customer restaurantRetention: Finally, they will see how they are seen off and what reasoning or actions do the staff take to motivate them to come back and make them a regular customer.

Once their evaluation has ended, the mystery customer produces a full report of all the information that they have gathered on their culinary experience at the restaurant.

The interesting thing to understand is that the mystery customer is an excellent tool for improving the restaurant business . Whether an analysis conducted by an external company or by the restaurant itself, these are objective evaluations that serve to fine-tune those details that always elude you, and they also detect more serious errors that could jeopardize your business.

Are you ready to receive a mystery customer in your restaurant? 

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