Food & Beverage Mystery Shopping and Customer Experience Research Case Studies

Restaurant POP Audits Show What to Focus on and Where

A large fast casual restaurant approached Confero and needed detailed information on displays of point of purchase (POP) materials at its restaurants. The company had invested significant effort into creating and advertising the promotion, and execution at the unit level was critical its success. They wanted to ensure that the restaurants promoted the special offering through its materials, so that customers were immediately aware of it from both the outside and inside areas of the restaurant.  Specifically, they wanted to know if the restaurants displayed the current promotional materials at various places: drive-through menu board, other outside areas, inside menu board, register top, counter area, and food bags.

Management desired photos to see which POP materials were displayed in the different areas, and to determine the level of variation in execution of POP displays.  On the auditors’ reports, the photos also served as validation of the answers to the closed ended questions. Programming of the survey was critical, as management needed a way to summarize and compare results of all audits. Information from the POP photos needed to be translated into analytical data, so that the company could quickly summarize the results and provide feedback to units.

To add value to the visits, auditors visited both the drive thru and inside of the restaurant. They also reported on whether restaurant employees offered an upsell or mention of the promotion at both places. Through one audit, the company could learn about communication of the special through POP materials and its own employees' efforts to upsell.

To gather this information, Confero deployed auditors nationwide to visit over 3,900 locations in 22 major metropolitan areas.   The auditors took photos of both inside and outside POP materials and completed a survey following the visits. The auditors’ reports included the 6-7 photos of POP materials taken at each location. Using Confero’s reports, restaurant managers were able to view a snapshot of each visit, as well as weekly report summary, customized for their preferences. The data showed a summary of overall results for 3900 audits, as well as the ability to drill down to individual details such as which display areas were missing the required pieces, and which locations were not promoting the new special to its fullest. As a result, restaurant managers were armed with helpful information to improve the promotion’s POP presence and promote consistency across the footprint.

Revenue Generation via Upselling

A nationwide quick service restaurant chain, along with its beverage provider, partnered to conduct a drive thru promotional campaign. The beverage provider was interested in increasing fountain sales, but also in having the beverage fill evaluated by the mystery shoppers. The restaurant chain was interested in drive thru service times and key customer service behaviors. Confero worked with both companies to develop a nationwide on-the-spot rewards mystery shopping program. Employees were rewarded for meeting specific criteria at specific customer touch points, such as greeting and thanking customers. Following the shop visit, the beverage fill was measured and then reported along with the mystery shop results. As a result of this promotional mystery shopping partnership program, fountain sales volume increased, suggestive selling improved by 36% and both companies received the cup size and fill information needed to make sizing decisions for the future.

Menu Test Marketing

Confero was approached by a national advertising and promotion firm, which represented a foodservice chain. The chain was preparing to roll out new menu items and was conducting tests in two markets. The success of the test would determine a possible national roll out and senior management was concerned that employees did not understand the new items and would not mention them. Confero devised a mystery shopping contest to educate and encourage employees at the test units to suggestively sell the test items. Confero mystery shoppers tested for suggestive selling of the product, along with auditing the placement of the point of purchase materials featuring the new product. Sales of the test product improved which allowed the chain to achieve a sufficient sample size for the menu test. The product was successful and rolled out nationally, on time.