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Mystery Shop Scenarios

Mystery Shop Scenarios

While most of the mystery shops we conduct for our clients are traditional in the sense that the instructions are straightforward with customary expectations, there are occasions where our clients have specialized requests requiring a specific scenario. Clients request these types of shops for a variety of reasons, but their primary motivation for conducting these shops is so they can get a sense of how their employees react and behave in these circumstances.

Some examples of scenarios used in shops, across the industries we service, are below.

  • Restaurant:
    • Allergy and Dietary Restrictions – posing as a guest with a dietary restriction of some nature to ensure that the employee is following the proper protocols on handling guests in this situation.
    • Celebrating Special Occasions – indicating that you are celebrating an anniversary or birthday, to ensure that the restaurant is acknowledging the event in some way.
    • Bar Compliance – monitoring the cash and product handling of the bartender; paying in cash to make sure the proper process of ringing drinks in, and cash and tip handling, is in place.


  • Retail:
    • Brand Comparison – asking sales associates their preference on a variety of brands to see which brands they are recommending to their customers.
    • Returns and exchange – often a two-part shop with a purchase, then a return or exchange at a later date to make sure that the employees are following proper procedure and adhering to return policies.


  • Higher Education:
    • University Comparison and Competitor Shops – often our higher education clients will request one shopper to conduct calls and tours for their institution, as well as other competitor schools in the same area. They are looking for a direct comparison of costs, accreditations, program layouts, enrollment numbers, and start dates, among other things, to see how they measure up to their competitors.


  • Fitness Centers:
    • Previous Member – posing as a previous member of the club, who is looking to reevaluate their decision and possibly reactivate membership. Clients conduct this type of shop to ensure that employees are following the proper procedures and offering the appropriate promotions to reobtain the membership.
    • Fitness Limitations – imitating a potential member with certain restrictions based on health issues, to ensure that employees are recommending the appropriate fitness training and highlighting the areas of the facility that would serve this type of guest, given their limitations.


While these examples cover the most common types of situations that our clients use for their scenario shops, there are many others that can and have been used. It is important for the shopper to not only understand the scenario that they are being asked to play out but to understand why it is a part of the shop.