I was confused about "ZOUP!" restaurant requirements

Email I sent to this company. I feel the food reimbursement if part of the deal: I think the "YOU MUST CONSUME ALL FOOD ORDERED AT THE RESTUARANT" that got me.

Dear Sir or Ma'am,

I have done over 300 mystery shops and found this requirement pretty ridiculous and "down in the weeds"

1909 Landstown Centre Way, Unit 160 (ZOUP!)
Landstown Place
City Virginia Beach

Shop requirements removed by mod - possible proprietary info

Does "ZOUP!" have nothing better to do when than worry that a shopper is going to order more than they can eat and take some home? Am I in "trouble" if I take 1/2 of my sandwich home? REDICULOUS. The chestnut here is "reasonably eat" of course.

When I do shops for a wing shop -you are damn tootin' I buy the MAX food allowance.
I do not order it as take out, but if I cannot eat it all I take the rest home. SO WHAT? I understand the requirement not to order "take out" - but what if you order by accident, or otherwise more than you can eat? Is a shopper supposed to know pre-ordering how big an item is? And even if they do- SO WHAT?

Ridiculous. They pay for mystery shopping is low enough as it is.............now apparently you are placating ridiculous requirements to "clean our plates" and not order the max food allowance that your OWN guidelines allow. And yes, some people can eat a large soup. Guess I will be stuffing 1/2 eaten sandwiches in my pocket book and bringing my own takeout containers. winking smiley


Mod note: Title has been edited to more accurately reflect this topic and to not disrespect the MSC. The shop requirements have also been removed.

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I guess we are reading it two different ways. To me they are disallowing take out orders or unusually large orders for dine in with the intention of taking the food home. I don't see an indication you have to consume every last bite or even that a doggie bag is not allowed if the amount of food is reasonable. It seems if you order soup and a sandwich and only eat half a sandwich it wouldn't be odd. If someone dining alone orders two or three sandwiches for dine in only to eat just half of one it would be awfully strange.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I don't know the specific shop but restaurants I do are either 'dine in' or 'carry out' and the 'dine in' ones allow no take out orders. It is very tempting when stuffed and taking doggie bags already to order dessert 'to go' if there is still money left on the reimbursement, but that is not allowed. I have never gotten question from any company if from one entrée per person there are doggie bags.
Agree with the other posters here. I think the intent of the instructions are that you must eat at least some of all the ordered items in the restaurant. I read that as:
Ordered: 1 soup and 1 sandwich. Took 1/2 sandwich leftover home in a to-go box. ---- OK
Ordered: 1 soup and 3 sandwiches. Took 2 1/2 sandwiches home in a to-go box. ------ Not cool
I know that's not exactly what the instructions you quoted above said, but that's how I read it.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
The people who run the Zoup shops are extremely nice. I'm kind of shocked at your email to them. They just want a dine in to be a dine in, not a take out.
I don't have Zoup in my area but the MSC that offers this is the best in the industry. I have seen the same instructions for their other clients and it makes perfect sense. As long as you don't order items as take out and order what a "normal" customer would eat you are fine. I am a light eater so I always take leftovers home and have never had a problem. If the instructions bother you, just don't take the assignments and leave them for the rest of us.
@catlassy wrote:

Email I sent to this company. I feel the food reimbursement if part of the deal: I think the "YOU MUST CONSUME ALL FOOD ORDERED AT THE RESTUARANT" that got me.

Dear Sir or Ma'am,

I have done over 300 mystery shops and found this requirement pretty ridiculous and "down in the weeds"

1909 Landstown Centre Way, Unit 160 (ZOUP!)
Landstown Place
City Virginia Beach

I am guessing that ZOUP is the client. Am I correct in reading that you wrote/emailed the client? If so, you have totally violated your ICA with whatever MSC has this client.
I read it as the OP sent the email to the MSC, not the client. I agree that if the letter went to the client, it's even more inappropriate.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
We don't have ZOUP, but I do frequent a particular buffet. The buffet doesn't allow take-out unless you're paying for it, so for a shopper to attempt to do so would maker her memorable. I am thinking that the OP shot off her nose to spite her face. The letter will get forwarded to the MSC and she'll be out of not only ZOUP, but every other client that MSC has.

Please remove the verbiage for the shop assignment. It's violating confidentiality.

Now scheduling travel shops for the day after Christmas through mid-January.
I interpreted the OP's post the same way as CaliGirl. I think the OP's e-mail went to the mystery shopping company, not to the client. Communicating with the client is something that a shopper who has done more than 300 shops would know better than to do.

Regardless, I agree sending that e-mail was ridiculous. It doesn't matter whether the OP read the intent of the shop announcement correctly or not. As independent contractors, we take the jobs we want and we pass up what we don't want. Why waste time to take a customer (the MSC is our customer) to task for the requirements of their shop? And why risk alienating a customer for the satisfaction of sounding superior? If you want the job, take it. If not, don't take it.

It sounds like the shop posting annoyed the OP and her e-mail was a poorly-thought-out spite response. She must still be annoyed or she would be embarrassed to post and tell the world. Spite letters or e-mails rarely end well. It's the kind of e-mail you keep in your Draft Folder for a couple of days or you send it to yourself rather than your customer. Unless the MSC is very, very nice and extremely forgiving of a shocking slap-in-the-face e-mail, the OP may well be deactivated, or she may go to the bottom of their list.
I'm speechless. I cannot believe a professional would send such an e-mail. We are independent contractors. We have the right to not accept an assignment if we do not like the requirements.

P.S. Next time you might want to spell-check before hitting the "send" button.
It's best to vent on the forum. When responding to the MSC, best to not send anything until there is time to think it through.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
This is pretty self-explanatory: They want you to eat what you order and not take extra home. It sounds like a buffet line or cafeteria style, in either case, neither allows you to ask for a "to-go" box.

Golden Corral now offers a box for $2.99/4.99 where you can fill a box "AFTER" you eat a full dinner buffet. This avoids those who want to fill a box with food and not pay the full price. They do also offer by the pound buffet "to-go" where you fill your box by the pound.
Honestly, this whole drama could have been avoided by a simple email to the scheduler asking for confirmation of the guidelines. Simply asking them, "Hey, am I reading this right? Does it mean I have to clean my plate? Or if I'm unable to finish my sandwich, may I bring it home without violating the guidelines?"

The answer may have been that the shopper needs to clean their plate...or not. I have asked for clarification on guidelines that I thought were a little over the top, then decided on whether or not to do that shop again. However, flying off the handle is truly unprofessional response. Like others have stated, we have a choice on which assignments we take. Burning bridges serve no one.

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.
For those that have not done a Zoup shop, it is not a buffet style restaurant. It is a fast casual, where you order upfront what you want. Although maybe a little poorly worded, the guidelines have always been clear. Do not order more food than can be reasonably consumed in one sitting. However, this does not mean you can not take food home. Also the guidelines used to say no XL soups, because they are for Take out only and we are not to order any food for take out!

Lady Marius
Canadian Mystery Shopper
I just copied and pasted the address that the OP had in their post and it came up as a Zoup's address in Virginia Beach. But, OP stated that they sent an email, so it must have been to the MSC?
I don't know why the OP got so worked up.... It seems pretty clear, as others have stated, that the guidelines do not want you to order take out and/or do not want you to order more food than a person could reasonably be expected to expect to consume. (Hope that makes sense!) I don't do a lot of dining shops, but my experience has been that the maximum allowance just barely covers what one person, or two if allowed, can reasonably consume. The assumption made by the OP that you can't take home half your sandwich or your leftover salad seems really odd to me.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
The OP pretty much used the subject line to embellish the requirements. I see nothing in the actual instructions that require one to clean their plate or that there are no doggie bags allowed.

That being said, I have performed several upscale restaurant shops that do not allow doggie bags. Almost every restaurant shop I perform does not allow carry-out.

It is highly probable that the OP is not familiar with restaurant shops on general.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
Zoup is very similar to Panera except they don't bake their bread and don't have the extensive bakery/pastry section that Panera has, and they also have many soups that they rotate to serve 12 different types each day. I love their shops and love the MSC.
You can add cookies to your order as well if you want to come closer to the reimbursement.

You can add cookies to your order as well if you want to come closer to the reimbursement.

No dessert 'til you clean your plate! winking smiley

Shopper in California's Bay Area
I think it's fairly common to be asked not to over-order, no? I have been doing a lot of different restaurant shops and they all have some requirements about what you can order and that you can't order takeout (unless, of course, it is specifically a takeout shop). There's also one I do that specifically mentions that you cannot split entrees with a guest. This is a rather low paying assignment, and it's perhaps telling that this is the only one that I do that has this requirement.

I feel like when there is a misunderstanding, a better way to approach it is to ask a question, as someone mentioned above. Even if you are 100% sure you are right and the other person is "REDICULOUS," you can avoid making the situation more "REDICULOUS" or making yourself look "REDICULOUS" if you approach something confusing as a conversation and not a confrontation.
I have done a few Zoups. In fact, I am doing one next week. The assignments usually require you to done in for lunch or dinner. They give you the choice to make without a commitment. The first time I did a shop for them, I ordered the Take Two. I had the salad with my soup. It was too much for me to eat. I took 1/2 the salad home with me. I think I noted it in a he report. There was no problem. I agree with the others that yiu misinterpret the directions. They want you to eat in the restaurant vs ordering takeout. This is so you can make your observations.
I have been doing upscale restaurants for another MS company. They always have that no doggie bags are allowed. And this s where there is usually more food than you can eat. And the reimbursement doesn't allow much wiggle room to order anything extra as there is a bar visit the hat must be made. Appetizer & dessert are optional but if ordered, must be shared by you & your guest.
At the end of the report, they asked us how the experience could be improved or better. I noted that the lie T should allow shoppers to take doggie bags home. They will just throw it away. Can't donate it to food banks. They are already paying for it. And it's not unusual for people to request leftovers be boxed up. The server will ask if you want them to box it up I bet they are surprised when I tell them no. I have taken home leftovers a few times with no consequences. I just don't do on a regular basis.
What is rediculous, anyway? Is that when you do diculous over again? Can you do prediculous and postdiculous too?

What is rediculous, anyway? Is that when you do diculous over again? Can you do prediculous and postdiculous too?

I'm still wondering what "down in the weeds" and "chesnuts" refer to on a soup assignment! smiling smiley
Yes, I understand no takeout- and that is not a problem. I know not to order take out- but they are sayiing MORE than that. If you read their requirement carefully you will see that you "should not order more than you can eat while at the diner." ALL FOOD IS TO BE EATEN AT THE RESTAURANT: Which is kind of getting down in the weeds. They put in a max food amount for a reason- so they should stick to that reimbursement and SHUT UP about the doggie bag/ left overs issue. Me thinks these cheapskates have too much time on thier hands.
Yes I understand it is not take out. When it says "dine in" I do NOT order take out-- but I can not always finish what is one my plate or all the items ordered. My point is that they are going overboard by saying "all food must be consumed at the restaurant" - which means NO doggie bags (wasted food). Reciculous.
The max reimbursement used to be less. The MSC raised it so that shoppers can take a companion along, which was very generous of them.
READ what the actual instructions say- I DO find this de facto "no leftovers" policy REE-DICK-U-LUS. If some people want to throw away a 1/2 eaten sandwich- go ahead. I won't. "ALL FOOD MUST BE EATEN IN THE RESTAURANT" -is that clear enough? 'Nuff Said.
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