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What Do Pints Make? Prizes

Dec 18, 2007
Often when working in the hospitality trade you will be informed by the manager that at some point a mystery shopper will be coming in. This usually puts everyone on tenterhooks but there is no real need for panic. You are not supposed to know when the mystery shopper is coming in, hence the 'mystery' part, but anyone with any common sense can see that with a visit every month and usually on the weekend only eight days out of the month are worth worrying about.

The point of any company's mystery shopper program is to assess how customers are served and to assess their establishments on many different aspects. Firstly the mystery shopper would look at the appearance of the place, both the exterior and interior and mark it on how efficient the advertising is and how eye pleasing the decorations are.

This means as an employee your mornings work will be extended with tasks such as having to check and clean the advertising boards and keep the bar spic and span. To be honest when working in the trade I really hated days when we knew a mystery shopper would be attending for it stressed everyone out and increased my workload greatly.

On days when a mystery shopper is bound to come in you are left in the position of being unable to entertain regular customers. When you are rushed off your feet and have the manager on your back about keeping an eye out for the mystery shopper the stress level is soon raised. When I had been in the business it had annoyed me slightly, I knew exactly how to spot a mystery shopper as soon as they came into the bar for it was always the same formula.

It was often a couple, usually in their twenties or thirties who would order a pint of bitter and a coke. The coke was important for it always had to be served in a coke glass with ice and lemon.

Spotting any mystery shopper was not a hard task at all, my advice is to carry out your duties with no extra urgency, I had never made any special efforts for them. The way I see it is, if you are a decent enough bar person you can serve them how you would serve everyone else.

My past record with the mystery shopper program proved this, a consistent tally of 90 percent marks. But as always the manager will push you to get the hundred; personally I rarely thought this my concern for if I got a hundred in the mystery shopper score I would simply give the manager a fat addition to his pay slip.

When clocking a mystery shopper as soon as they walk in, look for the signs. If they are not regulars and you can see the both of them taking notes in their mind as they walk around the pub you have usually got a winner. As they approach the bar have no surprises when they order a bitter and coke, serve them according to the mystery shopper program code, complete with ice and lemon with a smile and a joke. As I said earlier do not give special treatment, as customers they should always be served with a smile and an affable nature anyway.

When the mystery shopper results come in and you are called in to go through them, usually on a day off when traipsing back to the pub early in the morning is not in your plans for the day attend and prepare to be accepting. If you arrive and the manager is beaming, the mystery shopper results must be good.

If you can gain a hundred for the pubs appearance and atmosphere a pat on the back is needed. As a bar person however your aim is to secure a hundred for your speed of service, good nature and proficiency with the products. After all the mystery shopper program is there to ensure impeccable standards are kept up, and while it is hard to give a hundred percent with every customer, your duty is to get it right at least ninety percent of the time.
About the Author
Shaun Parker knows the hospitality trade intimately and advises on mystery shopper programs. To find out more please visit http://www.performanceinpeople.co.uk
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