How Would You Respond

You do a mystery shop and the food is awful to the point where you cannot eat it. While not in the guidelines, it's generally against the rules to send the meal back to have the kitchen make it correctly.

Do you send it back so you can get a meal that you can eat? Or do you trash it and put it in the report?

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

I almost NEVER send food back or request my food to be remade. I don't trust pissed off cooks or teenagers.
If the guidelines did not state that I could not send it back, I most certainly will send it back. That's what a normal diner would do.
Unfortunately, I would not send the meal back. It would probably take me until the next morning, at least, to be able to write a professional report. So, I might just email my scheduler to say that the shop is done; I have the pictures and the receipt but cannot possibly complete a good report until early in the morning. btw, I have had to do just that and have never had a scheduler pull the shop. If one did so, I would figure that I was DONE with that particular scheduler.

In addition, I would hope that the scheduler would give me first dibs on a really nice future assignment. (Have had that happen following such a disaster, too.)

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
If it says in the guidelines not to complain or send back the food, like the Chipotle guidelines, I would throw away whatever part of the meal was inedible and describe it in the report. If the guidelines do not address what to do in the event that an item is inedible, I would call my server and tell her it was inedible Most of the restaurant shops I do either allow inedible food to be returned or do not address it in the guidelines. In short, I would follow the guidelines. If not covered in the guidelines, I would make my own decision.
Morledzep, I do it in a very polite manner. I do know not to be imperious to servers. If it's handled properly there is little chance that the kitchen is going to react in the way that I think you are thinking. And if it's too burned or undercooked to eat, why wouldn't you say something?
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Morledzep, I do it in a very polite manner. I do know not to be imperious to servers. If it's handled properly there is little chance that the kitchen is going to react in the way that I think you are thinking. And if it's too burned or undercooked to eat, why wouldn't you say something?

Jas,

I have worked in kitchens, I've seen it first hand. I am NEVER rude to servers, their job is far more difficult than anything I have ever done for a living.
I have been a hostess, server, bartender, and floor manager. I guess I worked in places with nice people because no one I knew would have done something like that to a polite and respectful diner. Also, most of the places I eat these days have open kitchens.
wales, this was for a local sports bar. They are the MSC's only restaurant client in this area. When the food is good, I can't get enough of it. But when it's bad, it's very bad...inedible.

Ultimately, I know I'm not paying for it, but I would like to enjoy the lunch.

@walesmaven wrote:

Unfortunately, I would not send the meal back. It would probably take me until the next morning, at least, to be able to write a professional report. So, I might just email my scheduler to say that the shop is done; I have the pictures and the receipt but cannot possibly complete a good report until early in the morning. btw, I have had to do just that and have never had a scheduler pull the shop. If one did so, I would figure that I was DONE with that particular scheduler.

In addition, I would hope that the scheduler would give me first dibs on a really nice future assignment. (Have had that happen following such a disaster, too.)

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
rofl taco, I can't tell you how many bags of chips I've thrown away. When I first became a shopper for them, I returned the chips. I was told by the editor not to do that because it would out me as a shopper.

Huh?

@roflwofl wrote:

If it says in the guidelines not to complain or send back the food, like the Chipotle guidelines, I would throw away whatever part of the meal was inedible and describe it in the report. If the guidelines do not address what to do in the event that an item is inedible, I would call my server and tell her it was inedible Most of the restaurant shops I do either allow inedible food to be returned or do not address it in the guidelines. In short, I would follow the guidelines. If not covered in the guidelines, I would make my own decision.

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
I know, I've thrown away a LOT of chips. In fact, in recent months, I throw away more bags of chips than I eat.
The chips really seem to be going downhill fast. So far they haven't ever messed up the food in my bowl. Although, they did mess up my order this month. I ordered two bowls, a chicken bowl with no beans and a steak bowl with pinto beans. They gave me two chicken bowls with no beans. I was annoyed to not get my steak bowl but it was edible and tasted good (even though it wasn't what I ordered) and I ate it anyway and reported their mistake.
JAS, this place thinks they are known for their wings (not BWW). Half the time, the wings are gross. Today, I ordered nachos, and the chips were overcooked, chewy, and light and crispy (sorry, habit). I didn't send them back, but I didn't enjoy them either.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

Morledzep, I do it in a very polite manner. I do know not to be imperious to servers. If it's handled properly there is little chance that the kitchen is going to react in the way that I think you are thinking. And if it's too burned or undercooked to eat, why wouldn't you say something?

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
In a QSR or fast food place, you could easily dispose of bad food and then write about it later. In a full-service restaurant, it would look strange if you did not eat the food but did not send it back. The only thing you could perhaps do is to have it wrapped and then discard it at home. I have only come across one MSC (the beleaguered one where shoppers were recently posting about non-payment) that stipulates that shoppers should never complain about food (unless there's a risk of illness). (Their reasoning is that doing this will make you stand out and increase the chance that you will be identified as a shopper.) The others either say to do just the opposite and say something, or don't say one way or the other what to do. I would send the food back if it's really bad and there's nothing in the guidelines that prohibits this.
Unless the guidelines stated otherwise, I would return the food.

Scheduler and Editor for Shoppers' View
www.shoppersview.com
christinew@shoppersview.com
616-608-1594
One of my shops that had to be ordered online, they gave me someone else's bowl. It was steak and I ordered chicken. I had to return it because it wasn't mine. I did put that in the report with no consequence.

Another bowl that I ordered in the line was all wrong. The beans were mushy, the chicken had pieces of steak in it and the rice was crunchy. Even the tomato salsa was off. I had no recourse.

@roflwofl wrote:

I know, I've thrown away a LOT of chips. In fact, in recent months, I throw away more bags of chips than I eat.
The chips really seem to be going downhill fast. So far they haven't ever messed up the food in my bowl. Although, they did mess up my order this month. I ordered two bowls, a chicken bowl with no beans and a steak bowl with pinto beans. They gave me two chicken bowls with no beans. I was annoyed to not get my steak bowl but it was edible and tasted good (even though it wasn't what I ordered) and I ate it anyway and reported their mistake.

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
I agree with the others that would act normally and return the food, unless against the guidelines. My guest was served under cooked salmon at Famous Daves when they used to be shopped. The second try was worse. We returned that and ordered something else. A manager never checked on us and the server was not very sympathetic.

If not on a shop; I would have asked for a manager and left after the second failed attempt. I'd have also insisted, during the first return, to also return my entree and having it prepared again so my guest and I could eat at the same time.

FREE Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com]; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
honny, i know and have done the one your talking about...first time food was horrible, and I said no more, then I ordered the wrong thing, second time, better, but not even close to a 10, about a 6...I just don't do them anymore.
Ordering again would effect timing, but, i would say something (i think). Bad report is your only recourse. bummer not to enjoy your meal.

When you know better you do better....

Oprah
This is slightly off topic, but years ago I did an Olive Garden where one of us was required to order a steak meal and the other item could be anything from a list of four or five entrees, none of them traditional pasta Olive Garden fare. Half an hour after the order was placed, the server came out to say that they were out of steak. I ordered a second item from the list. I was given a "free" dessert as compensation. Two or three days later, the editor asked why I wasn't satisfied with the meal. I honestly told her that if I had been a "real" customer and I wanted a steak that wasn't available, I would have offered to pay for the drinks and gone across the parking lot to the steak restaurant and gotten a steak dinner. No way would I have ordered a fish dinner and been "satisfied" with either the food or the free dessert. MAYBE if the replacement entrée was comped instead of a dessert I hadn't wanted, I would have been satisfied, but to pay full price for something I didn't want? Uh, no!
Wut. If it's not in the guidelines, it's not against the rules. As long as you're not just being annoying, act as you would as a normal guest.

I alert the staff to the problem ("This is cold." ) and let them suggest what to do. Like, I've been told by the waitress that she'll talk to the cook, leaving the plate with me, then she comes back and tells me that he says it's not cold. Ha ha, okay, the cook is psychic I guess.

Anyway, they need to know the problems with not just service but food preparation and how it's handled. Most places that I frequent stumble over themselves to make things right; it's just typical customer service these days.

@HonnyBrown wrote:

You do a mystery shop and the food is awful to the point where you cannot eat it. While not in the guidelines, it's generally against the rules to send the meal back to have the kitchen make it correctly.

Do you send it back so you can get a meal that you can eat? Or do you trash it and put it in the report?


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2017 09:40AM by ShopWhisperer.
I work for cash, but if I did them, that would piss me off to no end.

@sassymmmm wrote:

Can you imagine to have that happen on a reimbursement only shop? UGH!!!!!

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
Not every client wants to know the problems. Some only want to know how good they are doing.

@ShopWhisperer wrote:

Wut. If it's not in the guidelines, it's not against the rules. As long as you're not just being annoying, act as you would as a normal guest.

I alert the staff to the problem ("This is cold." ) and let them suggest what to do. Like, I've been told by the waitress that she'll talk to the cook, leaving the plate with me, then she comes back and tells me that he says it's not cold. Ha ha, okay, the cook is psychic I guess.

Anyway, they need to know the problems with not just service but food preparation and how it's handled. Most places that I frequent stumble over themselves to make things right; it's just typical customer service these days.

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
Off topic (bear with me), I enjoy BJ's Brewery and do their shops, however, I went on my own (not a shop). The whole lunch was a mess, wrong order, took too long, bad experience (glad it wasn't a job). I wrote to Management and told them my experience and forgot about it. I just get an email saying they are looking into my letter and will be in touch with me. This tells me they want to know so they can remedy problems. For those they say, they only want good reports, not so.....purpose of MS'ing is to correct wrong. Honny, I would have sent order back, no reason for you to not enjoy your meal.

When you know better you do better....

Oprah
@HonnyBrown wrote:

Not every client wants to know the problems. Some only want to know how good they are doing.

I believe that your assumption is incorrect. There is no basis for it. A comment like this is not useful as it suggests that shoppers should ignore problems or otherwise falsify their reports. Outside of disgruntled shoppers blame shifting the reason for rejected reports, this is nothing but fiction.

FREE Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com]; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
@isaiah58 wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

Not every client wants to know the problems. Some only want to know how good they are doing.

I believe that your assumption is incorrect. There is no basis for it. A comment like this is not useful as it suggests that shoppers should ignore problems or otherwise falsify their reports. Outside of disgruntled shoppers blame shifting the reason for rejected reports, this is nothing but fiction.

Shoppers need to understand that nobody wants to hear problems, including the clients who are paying to hear how they are doing. It's much easier to hear how good they are doing. And the employees who are mystery shopped don't want a bad report. Neither do the location managers. Getting a bad grade is upsetting. Do mystery shoppers want to get a "6" on their reports? How many angry posts have we seen because a shopper got a 7 or an 8? Some shoppers even get upset over getting a 9. Do they want their reports rejected? Of course not.

Having said that, I've written a LOT of bad reports in the 8 years I've been MSing, some very, very bad. There are two reports (that I know of, there may have been more) I wrote that got the employee fired. I wrote a particularly bad Genghis Grill report a few years ago and the server and the manager were both fired, but the report was accepted and I got paid. But I have never once had a negative report rejected.

I'm with Isaiah on this. I'm not going to say that no shopper report was ever rejected because the manager at a client location didn't like a bad report or lied, but it has never happened to me. I have had the client pull the video and verify my report. I have had the client come back and ask for more information about a negative situation. But every single negative report was accepted and I was paid. I think, particularly in the case of new shoppers, it's easier for a shopper with a rejected report to say "well, they just don't want to hear the truth" or "well, the guidelines were wrong" or "I made LITTLE mistakes" or "well, maybe I did make a couple of mistakes, but the company has lots of room to improve."
@isaiah58 wrote:

@HonnyBrown wrote:

Not every client wants to know the problems. Some only want to know how good they are doing.

I believe that your assumption is incorrect. There is no basis for it. A comment like this is not useful as it suggests that shoppers should ignore problems or otherwise falsify their reports. Outside of disgruntled shoppers blame shifting the reason for rejected reports, this is nothing but fiction.

You are 100% positively incorrect.
While I agree it's not a majority, I have said time and time again that many companies shop for reasons other than to improve customer service. For instance I know of a client that is part of a worldwide company that simply wants numbers to show their headquarters in another country that they give great customer service. That company? Yep. Only wants to know how good they're doing.

Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil and you're judging what they do and don't believe.
Ok, so are you saying there are a small number of clients that would reject reports, refusing to pay for them, that were not 100% positive? I'd hate to know that any MSC would allow such clients to abuse us this way.

FREE Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com]; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
Irene and isaiah, I say that because I had reports rejected for negative comments on the staff or service. I'm going by my own experience, not a metric.

@Irene_L.A. wrote:

Off topic (bear with me), I enjoy BJ's Brewery and do their shops, however, I went on my own (not a shop). The whole lunch was a mess, wrong order, took too long, bad experience (glad it wasn't a job). I wrote to Management and told them my experience and forgot about it. I just get an email saying they are looking into my letter and will be in touch with me. This tells me they want to know so they can remedy problems. For those they say, they only want good reports, not so.....purpose of MS'ing is to correct wrong. Honny, I would have sent order back, no reason for you to not enjoy your meal.

"Life is a fight...FIGHT!"
Greenleaf
@isaiah58 wrote:

Ok, so are you saying there are a small number of clients that would reject reports, refusing to pay for them, that were not 100% positive? I'd hate to know that any MSC would allow such clients to abuse us this way.

No. That is not what I am saying at all. I never even insinuated that.

Talking tough is easy when it's other people's evil and you're judging what they do and don't believe.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login