About HGEM

About HGEM


HGEM has always been a pioneer, even being the first to coin the term ‘mystery dining’ back in 2003 when the company was originally founded as the Mystery Dining Company.  

Since then we have continued to seek innovative ways to empower hospitality in a competitive and rapidly changing market and today work with over 5000 restaurants, pubs, hotels and caterers internationally. Scroll through our journey to see past milestones and where we’re heading.


2018 - Launch of the The Hub. A powerful new platform with interactive reports, peer benchmarking, and the ability to stream data from different sources. One source of insight about your guest experiences; keeping your managers focussed Launch of the The Hub. A powerful new platform with interactive reports, peer benchmarking, and the ability to stream data from different sources. One source of insight about your guest experiences; keeping your managers focussed
2019 - We're cooking up new features for The Hub every month. Among those coming soon are datasheets and social review responses We're cooking up new features for The Hub every month. Among those coming soon are datasheets and social review responses
The 2020s - We’re always looking to the future. Expect to see lots of innovations in forecasting and responsiveness that build on advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. But hospitality will always be a people business and so will we - it's just that we'll be able to use these 'bots to be cleverer and faster. We’re always looking to the future. Expect to see lots of innovations in forecasting and responsiveness that build on advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. But hospitality will always be a people business and so will we - it's just that we'll be able to use these 'bots to be cleverer and faster.
2003 - We pioneered the use of the term Mystery Dining as a specialist form of mystery shopping; more suited to the deeper levels of interaction that are more common in hospitality than retail We pioneered the use of the term Mystery Dining as a specialist form of mystery shopping; more suited to the deeper levels of interaction that are more common in hospitality than retail
2004 - Bye bye paper reports! Back when the internet was young, we pioneered the use of the internet for next-day report completion and delivery Bye bye paper reports! Back when the internet was young, we pioneered the use of the internet for next-day report completion and delivery
2006 - Going global. We’ve been visiting all the international wagamama sites since that time, covering over 40 major cities around the world. In 2017, we also introduced the ability to complete all communications in French as well as English Going global. We’ve been visiting all the international wagamama sites since that time, covering over 40 major cities around the world. In 2017, we also introduced the ability to complete all communications in French as well as English
2008 - The aftermath of the smoking ban. We worked closely with pub companies to transform their business model as food became an increasingly important differentiator The aftermath of the smoking ban. We worked closely with pub companies to transform their business model as food became an increasingly important differentiator
2009 - Introduction of online reporting. We take it for granted now but, at the time, this broke the mould and enabled managers to gain insights when they chose to rather than when they received reports Introduction of online reporting. We take it for granted now but, at the time, this broke the mould and enabled managers to gain insights when they chose to rather than when they received reports
2010 - Introduced analyst support for clients. We have long recognised that collecting feedback and assessments is only the start; it’s what you then do with it that matters. So custom reporting and interpretation became a core part of our service Introduced analyst support for clients. We have long recognised that collecting feedback and assessments is only the start; it’s what you then do with it that matters. So custom reporting and interpretation became a core part of our service
2011 - Death of the comment card! We began building custom feedback sites to help operators to listen to their guests and track their perceptions Death of the comment card! We began building custom feedback sites to help operators to listen to their guests and track their perceptions
2012 - Introduced learning management solutions. This enabled businesses to articulate the connection between the training people receive and the experience they deliver to guests, as well as to engage employees and track their results Introduced learning management solutions. This enabled businesses to articulate the connection between the training people receive and the experience they deliver to guests, as well as to engage employees and track their results
2013 - Pioneered the use of the term Guest Experience Management. Little used at the time, now many businesses embrace the concept, sometimes even using the job title Guest Experience Manager Pioneered the use of the term Guest Experience Management. Little used at the time, now many businesses embrace the concept, sometimes even using the job title Guest Experience Manager
2014 - Introduction of a support package for major events. Based on our experience with teams on the ground at Royal Ascot providing up-to-the minute intelligence Introduction of a support package for major events. Based on our experience with teams on the ground at Royal Ascot providing up-to-the minute intelligence
2016 - Development of the GEM Wheel. Used to frame your intended experience, to measure performance against expected standards and behaviours, and to align training with operations Development of the GEM Wheel. Used to frame your intended experience, to measure performance against expected standards and behaviours, and to align training with operations
2017 - Launch of the GEM Mobile App – a great aid for managers to view results for multiple locations while on the move. And we introduced French as a supported language for completing and communicating visit reports (we visit all European Pret sites weekly) Launch of the GEM Mobile App – a great aid for managers to view results for multiple locations while on the move. And we introduced French as a supported language for completing and communicating visit reports (we visit all European Pret sites weekly)
2018
2019
The 2020s
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Our People

Many of our people have joined us having worked in the hospitality industry and so it truly has shaped who we are and the way we behave. We understand the pressures and challenges of your teams because we have been there and we’re passionate about supporting you to deliver a great guest experience every time.

Gary Bond

Gary Bond

Senior Web Engineer

I care most about getting stuff done right and helping my team to focus on that too.

Jenny Steele

Jenny Steele

Business Analyst

Helping the business to identify their goals and working effectively with IT and systems development to deliver them.    

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith

Head of New Business

I always take a strategic interest in our clients, to ensure that any commitments made at the start are fully reflected in the way we deliver results.

Sally Whelan

Sally Whelan

Founding Director

Sharing insightful guest experience information to enable hospitality operators to become ever more hospitable. 

Amy Herriman

Amy Herriman

Mystery Guest Advisor

I really enjoy talking to the mystery guests of HGEM. Especially when you can tell how excited they are about their next visit!

Steven Pike

Steven Pike

Managing Director

It's really important to me that we put our clients in the driving seat and coordinate all our resources in pursuit of your objectives.

Rich New

Rich New

Client Insight Manager

I’m passionate about having clear purpose and goals to what we do and that is to drive value and actionable insights for our clients. There is nothing better than helping clients make informative decisions through our research and advice that improves their customer service.

Ella Baron

Ella Baron

Visit Fulfilment Coordinator

I enjoy chatting with our mystery guests about their visits and working within such a positive team.

Paul Watts

Paul Watts

Technical Lead

Leading the technical team to design and build fantastic software to help our clients have the very best insight into their business.

Nick Fisher

Nick Fisher

Mystery Guest Advisor

I really enjoy my role as everyday is different and the team are really friendly.

Paul Pritchard

Paul Pritchard

Business Intelligence Manager

It’s really important to me that our data is secure, accurate and accessible and that our reporting infrastructure is fast, reliable and always available.  We always ensure our reporting is engaging, actionable and insightful.

Jason Horn

Jason Horn

Head of Client Success

I love being part of the HGEM team, seeing the customer journey and road mapping with our clients what’s important to their guests' experiences. I want to make every customer interaction entertaining and memorable building loyal brand advocates as an extension of the marketing team.

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Join Us

Our people are our most valued asset – they are what sets us apart from our competitors and make our clients want to work with us. So, we are always interested to hear from like-minded people keen to work for a company that rewards, challenges and supports its employees. If you are interested in joining our team please send your CV to hr@hgem.com and we will contact you when we have a suitable vacancy.


Our Mystery Guests

At HGEM we are fortunate to have a fantastic community of mystery guests that we try hard to nurture and support as stakeholders in 'empowering hospitality'. In return, they go the extra mile to provide detailed and practical feedback on their experiences.

Mystery Guest 57893

Mystery Guest 57893

"I really appreciate being able to have a night away and explore somewhere new. I even enjoy the report writing. I am constantly surprised by the gems I've found eating at places I'd have never tried with my own money."

Mystery Guest 82635

Mystery Guest 82635

"Through the eyes of a customer, sharing my experience with companies that I otherwise might never have chosen to visit and sharing great opportunities that allow them to be first for customer service."

Mystery Guest 64520

Mystery Guest 64520

"I like being able to feel like my experience as a Mystery Guest is being heard by the places I eat at. That my feedback might help improve service or reward those doing a good job."

Mystery Guest 61441

Mystery Guest 61441

"When I now go for a drink or meal, whether I’m on a Mystery Visit or not, I tend to take notice of my environment a lot more than I used to. I also can identify good customer service and appreciate how hard staff work whilst looking after their customers."

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