HGEM mystery dining: Far beyond a free meal


HGEM mystery dining: Far beyond a free meal

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What gets measured, gets done

At HGEM we know that what gets measured gets done and that Mystery Guest Audits have a valuable role to play in ensuring consistent delivery of what the operators' team have been trained to do. It's pretty simple, really, but the motivation to be a mystery guest often gets misinterpreted as just an opportunity to get free stuff.

For our long-standing mystery guests this could not be further from the truth. Yes, being reimbursed for lunch or an overnight stay is definitely a perk but not the main motivator for the mystery guests who work with us. Our mystery guests are passionate about hospitality, they care about giving honest and constructive feedback to our clients and they have a common goal – they want to make the industry better.

To illustrate this, we interviewed one of our mystery guest, Sharon, about what attracted her to be an HGEM mystery guest. Sharon comments, "I used to be a heavy user of TripAdvisor so was very active in giving feedback online before considering mystery dining. One thing that has always struck me is that some of the complaints on online review sites are so touchy and negative. I have always wanted to give a fair and balanced view of where I visit. Some reviews are just ridiculous, and this isn't fair on operators."

Sharon continues: "Because of this, I wanted to review in a more structured capacity, so I knew that my reviews were getting taken seriously. Completing reports for HGEM has enabled me to do this and I haven't been on TripAdvisor since."

Sharon’s commitment to assessing food quality, customer service and venue atmosphere, is crucial but this combined with her desire to provide balanced and fair feedback and stand up for operators who are being unfairly given bad reviews online, is what sets our mystery guests apart from the competition.

Mystery Guest Audits are not feedback

Our mystery visits are not about “feedback”, but objective assessments. We encourage our mystery guests to observe and detail in their reports what happened rather than to provide their opinion. Opinions and other subjective feedback are reserved for online surveys and reviews.

It’s also important to note that being an HGEM mystery guest is not all 5* hotels and fine dining. We work with a wide variety of clients across a range of different sectors within the hospitality industry, and it fair to say some are more glamorous than others. But every client is important to us, and every visit requires the same level of commitment to ensure our clients receive the reliable and detailed assessments they need to improve and move forward. So, it’s important that all our mystery guests are as committed to assessing a quick service concept at lunch time as they are about providing live feedback at Royal Ascot.

Sharon says "Some of my friends signed up to HGEM but didn't want to continue once they realised the work that was involved in completing assessments. For me, I get satisfaction in getting the reports done to a high standard within deadlines, and knowing my feedback is either going to make a difference or get a team member some well deserved praise or a bonus."

An operator's view

HGEM's solutions help Dishoom get actionable insights on operations, online reputation, and dishes, to allow them to implement positive change.

Nina Panayiodou, Operations Director for Dishoom comments on her experience with HGEM:

Mystery guest audits allow us to monitor our order of service, food quality and full end to end experience, help us define problem areas and build action plans for resolution. We also use the audit report as training opportunity and will decide length of training required based on overall score.

- Nina Panayiodou | Operations Director
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