“People come for the Food. They return for the Service” -- Tom Colicchio, on “Top Chef”

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our mystery shopping services:

  • restaurant openings
  • ongoing quality assurance (most clients do monthly shops)
  • transitioning from opening night to preparing for food critics 

Guests have expectations prior to entering a restaurant. The higher the menu prices, the higher the expectations. To foster repeat business, operators must meet guest expectations.

Our service provide actionable data gathered during a meal experienced by your typical guest. Customized reports may include:

  • telephone administration
  • greeting staff
  • service staff
  • food
  • housekeeping and atmosphere
  • bartenders
  • management

Why invest in a Mystery Shopping program? 

Our formula: enhance the guest experience PLUS maximize sales opportunities EQUALS increased revenue. Our service measures how your staff is implementing your standards of procedure. We are an extension of your ongoing employee training program.

  • Increase positive guest experiences, reduce negative experiences.
  • Service, good or bad, is the number one factor cited by guests from a memorable dining experience. If a guest has a negative service experience, they won’t return.
  • Word-of-mouth, first-person or via Social Media, is the primary source of referrals. 95% of patrons will not communicate a negative experience to an employee. 100% will spread their negativity to friends and family, many on websites like Yelp!
  • Reduce the cost of attracting new guests. Focus on the level of hospitality provided to your  current patrons.
  • Keep staff “on their toes”. The next person served may be a “mystery shopper”. increase the likelihood staff follows your standards of service.
  • Decrease the cost of hiring and training new employees. Your staff will have heightened understanding of expectations and accountability. They’ll earn more money via recommended sales strategies and ways to enhance the guest experience. A happier and more productive workforce decreases turnover.

i-SPY reports include:

    • YTD figures by location, year-to-year comparison, YTD companywide scoring, YTD industry benchmark comparison
    • Custom templates based on your standards of procedure
    • METRICS – measures each service standard, highlighting strengths and weaknesses by location
    • Corporate charting – month to month scoring charted by location
    • Superior food narrative for your culinary team to dig into
    • Pictures of food and alcoholic beverages
    • Action list of how your staff enhanced the guest experience and maximized sales opportunities 

training to be an i-SPY Mystery Shopper

  • Our shoppers are Independent Contractors
  • Applicants sign an Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) before offered a tryout assignment. The ICA states info gathered is for our clients and forbidden from public consumption
  • Applicants who meet our criteria may be offered a tryout, allowing us to test for accuracy
  • We match shoppers for assignments to reflect your typical diner
  • Typical meals are for the shopper plus one guest
  • Custom manual for each restaurant with explicit instructions
  • Orders as your typical guest. If a party for two normally orders a pizza, an appetizer and wine, that is what we order
  • Reports submitted within 24 hours so the data is fresh


Trendsetting operators and celebrity chefs are on the cutting edge of food and design. They are typically successful — nobody is 100% successful! — as they appreciate the importance of hospitality. Our reports become a part of your executive team’s ongoing employee training program. 

Michelin Guide

High-end establishments court those celebrating an occasion, foodies and critics, and travel guides such as Michelin. Think Vetri in Philadelphia, French Laundry in CA, Per Se in NYC. Owners appreciate the clout they carry. Our team understands critical standards evaluators of such guides inspect for. This could be the difference between a One-Star, Two-Star or Three-Star rating. In 2020 only five NYC restaurants earned three stars from Michelin.

Fast Casual 

Franchises and chains take a concept to numerous markets. Success is based on each location’s ability to follow standards of procedure and consistent preparation of food. Our reports provide measurable data to compare stores and  may be used as part of employee bonus programs. 

Client Testimonials