Baja Fresh is rolling out a mystery-shopping program across its 253 locations nationwide that will reveal undercover shoppers’ thoughts on food, ambiance and cleanliness. Baja Fresh is working with intelligence-solutions company Market Force to help pinpoint factors that yield customer loyalty, as well as highlight areas for improvement. Baja Fresh President Chuck Rink discusses what his company hopes to learn utilizing mystery shopping.
Is mystery shopping at restaurants a common customer-intelligence tool in the industry?
Yes, mystery shopping has been around for many years in the restaurant industry, and most chains continue to use it as a component of their overall quality-management program.
Will this be your first mystery-shopping program? Briefly, how will it work?
No, it is a replacement of our partner and the beginning of a journey toward improving the value and integrity of the program. We will shop all restaurants once per month initially and evaluate the effectiveness of additional visits in the future.
What insight do you hope to find?
We believe the mystery shopper is one important component of our overall quality management of the brand. Therefore, it is critically important we maintain integrity of the data through consistent evaluation of our brand standards with the right partner. Ultimately, we want to add value by providing timely, clear, feedback to operators on our operational-excellence standards in the restaurants.
How does Baja Fresh typically gather its customer intelligence?
We utilize multiple feedback systems including customer-care reports, interactive-voice-response evaluations and mystery shopper.
What are the challenges and opportunities for employing a mystery-shopping program?
Choosing the right partner is the biggest challenge. You want to find someone who shares your values on the importance of having an effective shopping tool. This takes commitment by their team as well as ours. We look forward to the new partnership and building value together by ensuring the continued evolution and effectiveness of the mystery-shopping tool.
What are your thoughts about using mystery shopping at restaurants?