One of my absolute favourite kind of jobs as a long-time Secret Customer shopper involves a sit-down dining experience. These provide an opportunity to explore different restaurants and cuisines that you may otherwise not have tried before. You step out of your comfort zone and try new dining concepts while having your meal reimbursed and rewarded for completing the job.
Here are some tips put together specifically tailored for excelling in a Secret Customer dining role:
1. Do your homework: Familiarize yourself with the restaurant’s location, parking accessibility, opening hours, menu, and any special promotions or events. Take into consideration the budget assigned to the job and the breakdown of spend, if any. If you want to be respectful of managing your own spending and not exceed the budget, plan your spend in advance, and any questions you can ask the server to evaluate their product knowledge.
2. Make a table reservation and arrive on time: If the restaurant allows reservations, absolutely do it! If not, depending on the venue and peak hour times, be prepared for a long wait. Also, be respectful of the client and arrive on time.
3. Assess the ambiance: Take note of the restaurant’s atmosphere, cleanliness, and overall ambiance. Evaluate how well it aligns with the restaurant’s concept and target audience. Take discreet notes on your phone of everything asked on the questionnaire.
4. Observe staff interactions: It’s okay to eavesdrop, and it is rather encouraged! Pay close attention to servers’ and staff members’ interactions. Assess their friendliness, professionalism, attentiveness, and knowledge of the menu. Notice how they handle inquiries, special requests, and how they handle any potential issues that may arise.
5. Evaluate the service: Assess the efficiency of the service, including the time it takes to be seated, the speed of order taking, and the delivery of food and beverages.
6. Analyze the food quality: Evaluate the taste, presentation, temperature, portion size, and overall quality of the dishes you order. Consider how well they meet your expectations based on the advertised items of the meal on the menu and pricing.
7. Pay attention to details: Notice the cleanliness of the dining area, including tables, utensils, and restrooms. Observe how well and quickly tables are cleared.
8. Be discreet: Remember to maintain your undercover role. Avoid drawing attention to yourself or disrupting the dining experience of others. If at all an issue breaks out between other diners and staff, don’t indulge but remember key details for your report.
9. Provide constructive feedback: When writing your report, be thorough, specific, and objective. Include both positive feedback and areas for improvement. Provide actionable suggestions that can help the restaurant enhance its customer service and overall dining experience.
10. Maintain confidentiality: Respect the confidentiality agreement. Do not disclose your identity or any details about your assignment. And, as tempting as it may be, refrain from leaving a public review based on this experience unless it’s wholesomely positive and can’t be traced back to you.
Remember, the objective of a Secret Customer shopper is to provide valuable insights and actionable recommendations to help restaurants improve their service and enhance customer experiences. By following these tips, you can contribute to the overall success of the Secret Customer program and its clients.
Author – A.F.