What restaurants do you gladly pay for?

Now that I've been shopping for a few years, I find it hard to actually use my own money and pay for a meal, unless the food is something I really crave. I regularly shop Panda and Habit Burger grill and I now won't eat there unless its for a shop. I shop Sharky's mexican and will pay for that food if I'm craving a particular salad. We don't have a cheesecake factory in my town, but I'd probably pay for that. ( I wish I could find the company who shops them).

I also find it hard to turn off my "shopping" brain when I'm eating out. I go into the restroom and talk to myself about the cleanliness. Do you do that too?

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Cheaper, casual restaurants and fast food, I will still buy from them even if I don't have a shop and I'm in the mood for their food. Expensive restaurants, I always look for a shop before I consider them. In fact my "dates" schedule with my wife revolves around whether I am able to get a shop. Yeah I'm a cheap date smiling smiley

As for the "shopping" mode when visiting a restaurant, yeah that is hard to turn off... But at least I remember to refrain from sending messages to myself grinning smiley I find myself often saying after walking out "Glad I wasn't shopping to day or they would be soooo failed..."
We've got a dozen or so restaurant shops for this month and they run the gamut from fast casual up to upscale (but short of fine dining which I find is overrated). Nevertheless every Sunday my son comes over and we explore some restaurant in the area (since shops rarely allow more than 2 persons). We tend to find hole-in-the-wall local non-chain restaurants and some of them are not only cheap but better than just good. And no, when I'm there I generally am too busy visiting to pay much attention to shop criteria. When it is gross or slow yes, the shop criteria will come up to measure them against.
@calicakes wrote:

I also find it hard to turn off my "shopping" brain when I'm eating out. I go into the restroom and talk to myself about the cleanliness. Do you do that too?

I was in a fast food shop and asked for a burger and soda. I paused, looking at the guy, he just looked at me and finally asked, "Anything else?" I was waiting for him to offer the combo and it wasn't even a mystery shop.
I gladly pay for Mom and Pop restaurants, the few that still exist around here, and any place that serves high-quality seafood. Succulent oysters, savory calamari or an exceptional sashimi is worth its weight in gold. I rarely do reimbursement only shops these days, but for crab cakes and sushi, I'd walk the plank.

@calicakes wrote:

I also find it hard to turn off my "shopping" brain when I'm eating out. I go into the restroom and talk to myself about the cleanliness. Do you do that too?

I actually like being in shopper mode 24/7. It tends to keep me sharp and focused. Kinda like having super powers.
Yeah, we don't go to any chain restaurants on our own dime. The only restaurants we will visit when not doing a shop are all locally owned with outrageously great food--and they aren't upscale though they generally aren't cheap. I can turn off my shopper brain pretty easily after a few glasses of wine or cocktails. And it's really refreshing to know that I can have 3 or even 4 (if someone else is driving) during the course of the evening instead of being limited to 1.
I pay for Rubios now. Just got addicted to the gourmet tacos while I was doing shops. Now I don't go nearly as often but sometimes I need a Rubios fix. It was great when I was reimbursed. Hate to admit this but I will go to Five Guys on my own dime occasionally also.
Rubios? Marco Rubio drops out of the Presidential race and now he has opened his own restaurant?
There are a couple of local chinese buffet restaurants here I gladly pay my own dime for. Really good food and a huge splurge is only $10 per person.

Her Serene Majesty, Cettie - Goat Queen of Zoltar, Sublime Empress of Her Caprine Domain
I rarely do food shops. They are too much work (timing, collecting names, counting servers) for me to enjoy my meal. I eat out once every week or two on my own dime (actually, my husband's dime).

I appreciate diners like First Watch, franchises like DuClaw's and upscale restaurants.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Yes, our local Chinese restaurants, a non-chain sushi restaurant, and our local family owned Mexican restaurants (that are owned and operated by Mexicans). Gladly.
I love fish and I think The Causeway in Gloucester is one of the best, at least the best fish chowder in New England. Most of the small out of the way places are my favorite. I want good food, not fancy. I have eaten at the best and most expensive restaurants in Boston, I always leave saying, "That was way over priced."
I luckily MS all 25 restaurants on my college campus. They loaded my dining card for $20 each!! I am going to be eating there tell I die lol. I dont want to eat out again.
I never pay money for any restaurant that is the type that might be mystery shopped, not because I might be able to get my meal reimbursed, but because there are so many independent eateries whose idea of marketing is simply to provide good food, treat customers right, and let the word get out.

Chain food - be it fast food garbage like McDonald's or fancy joints like Ruth's Chris - can never stand up against the independent who would never employ an MSC.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2016 05:47AM by Rousseau.
Tell me a campus that shops ALL restaurants on a college campus.. Doubt this story too....
You might have one food service shopping all the food services on a campus but that would be rare.
Andy2 some of your stories are far fetched......

@.Andy2 wrote:

I luckily MS all 25 restaurants on my college campus. They loaded my dining card for $20 each!! I am going to be eating there tell I die lol. I dont want to eat out again.
Oh! They just opened up a Cheesecake Factory here! Here's hoping I find the MSC. Someone loan me their sleuth glasses, hat and pipe?
Look on their web site.... they used to post it....
@spicy1 wrote:

Oh! They just opened up a Cheesecake Factory here! Here's hoping I find the MSC. Someone loan me their sleuth glasses, hat and pipe?
Chick-Fil-A.
Some local Chinese restaurants.
Some local Mexican restaurants.
Qdoba.
Chipotle.
Snooze.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
@Tarantado wrote:

Chick-Fil-A.
Some local Chinese restaurants.
Some local Mexican restaurants.
Qdoba.
Chipotle.
Snooze.

I'm going to Chipotle training tomorrow. I actually do not care for Chipotle, however my spouse loves it which is why I'll shop it.
@calicakes wrote:

I'm going to Chipotle training tomorrow. I actually do not care for Chipotle, however my spouse loves it which is why I'll shop it.

You will enjoy the training. It's a nice change to see a MSC that focuses on training and is vocal about their expectations.
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