If you’re at all familiar with secret shopping, as it applies to the dining industry, you’re probably aware of how it works. An anonymous diner or two visit a restaurant – almost as a private investigator might – and fully report on their experience using a pre-existing set of criteria and questions. Costs for these services are typically high and limit the majority of their use to larger corporate restaurant groups and chains. While these reports are often valuable, at Quizine, we felt the model could be improved upon. Below are some of the shortcomings we’ve attempted to address.
More Data Points
Generally, secret shopper companies send in one shopper per week, or month. While that one shopper’s report is valuable, it only reflects a single visit. Many things can go wrong in a single visit that don’t always indicate storewide problems. For example, I recently ate at a restaurant that was using Quizine. I was beta testing and everything about the experience (other than how flawlessly our app functioned ) was off. Greeting, service, food quality, wait times – everything. But, were we the one table that put them over the edge? It’s hard to say.
With Quizine, our goal is to be able to send in as many data points – otherwise known as guests completing a Quizine quiz – as the restaurant desires. This is controlled through a deal offer. Quizine allows restaurants to offer a deal to its user base to incentivize a visit. If a restaurant wants more feedback, they can simply offer a richer deal, as well as control how many are available. Obviously, more data points results in a more accurate snapshot of how the restaurant’s front of the house operations are functioning.
In addition to the secret shopper company charging their fee, the meal that a secret shopper will consume – and it’s typically a couple – is also covered by the restaurant. Usually it’s a full meal with cocktails, wine, appetizers, entrees and dessert.
We thought, what if the restaurant offered a deal to incentivize a visit instead of covering the whole check? This gives a restaurant an enormous amount of flexibility. For one, it allows a restaurant to simply drive traffic through the doors. By offering multiple deals, a business can control what is asked and to who it is asked. Two, it offsets the cost of the meal to the consumer.
When a secret shopper completes an assignment, they’re typically required to complete their report within a few days. Of course, a few days isn’t so much of a long time that the memory of the experience will be unclear. But, it does allow the secret shopper time to reflect. If the true objective of the report is a transparent snapshot of exactly how a restaurant is functioning, that objectivity can be cloudy after allowing the secret shopper time to sit with their experience. On top of that, there’s a delay in simply obtaining the data.
Quizine collects data in real time. As guests complete Quizzes, reports are immediately accessible. This isn’t necessarily ‘more ideal’ or ‘less ideal’. Removing the ability to reflect upon an answer is simply another way of gathering data. In an ideal scenario, a traditional secret shopper would visit the restaurant once per month or bi-monthly while Quizine’s users would visit much more frequently. Comparing both reports on an ongoing basis would reveal an accurate assessment that neither system alone could describe.
Traditional secret shopper reports can be lengthy and take hours to complete. We attempt to address this issue by breaking down the questionnaires into smaller chunks. With a steady stream of Quizine users completing a minimum number of Quizzes, lengthy reports can be spread amongst the larger sample of guests.
Quizine’s main feed pushes a restaurant’s deal offering out to its local user base, driving traffic. Getting a marketing tool included with a data collection service is a pretty nice bonus.
Both traditional secret shopping and the way we do it at Quizine provide value. If you’re at all curious about Quizine, hit us up on our Contact Page. We’d love to hear from you!