Hospitality – Mystery diner experience # 1

Introduction – Mystery diner experience

This case study of a mystery diner experience is on one of the café franchises of a multinational coffeehouse-style café chain.  This café chain has been around for over 30 years, and they have café franchise stores all around the world.

This café franchise’s is in a suburban shopping centre and their objectives are to make their customers’ experience a memorable one. Their energy and love for coffee is noticeable when their customers drink their coffee and eat their food made from excellent local produce.  Their place is where people go to sit, relax with a coffee on their own, or with friends/family and maybe eat a cake or some delicious simple foods.

Their only food competition is a couple of take-away outlets in the shopping centre.

Problem – 

The client wanted to know how this café franchise was performing with their customer service and whether there could be improvements to make them a better more profitable café.  Having this information would allow them to act to directly assist this business with their issues and improve revenues, which in turn would advance the stability of the return on their asset investment.

Plan – 

The plan was to conduct an undercover customer visit to the cafe to assess the various points of customer contact.

Process –

The mystery customer’s task was to visit the café, order a coffee and something to eat. Specific criteria related to customer service, and their delivery of it were evaluated.

Discovery –

The mystery diner visited the café around lunch time.  They found that although items in the cabinet were well presented, there was either a low amount of food products or absence of specific food in the cabinets. There were many gaps with numerous items already sold out.

There was no greeting by the staff member when the mystery shopper came up to order. The staff member behind the counter, and who took the order was found to be unfriendly, unhelpful, not genuine or interested, neither were they enthusiastic or confident about what they were doing.  Upon approach to order, no questions were asked as to how they could serve the customer.  There were no smiles given and they seemed to be distracted.

No specials of the day were mentioned, neither was there any upselling. When the food came, it was visually unappealing, the wrong items were delivered and there was no apology for the mistake.

It was also observed that empty plates and glasses on other tables were not removed promptly by the server.

The server was not professional in their manner. They were abrupt and disinterested in any questions about the wrong order. Their approach was to get the order delivered as quickly as possible and appeared to be in a hurry.

Consequently it was found that this café performed very poorly overall.

Payoff –

Having insights on how the frontline staff were behaving, their knowledge of the products they were selling, the display of food in their cabinets during a lunchtime session meant numerous positive outcomes could be addressed.

The café could work on training and improving the customer service the staff provides, ensure they employ the right kind of people, train them on the importance of being able to make food suggestions if necessary, and upsell with their drinks and food.

Knowing this and working on it would help them increase their customer retention and loyalty, stand out from their competitors even if there were only two and they were takeaways, and importantly increase their revenue to stay alive and grow and ultimately advance their stability of the return on their investment in the café.

The Praise –

“I found the experience of working with Through Customers Eyes easy, the information extracted insightful.  I would recommend Through Customers Eyes to any business who needs to gain this valuable information to help them boost their bottom line”