Chain Restaurant Brand – Mystery Shopping Was Not the Answer


Casual restaurant chain with 200+ locations nationwide.


Management was confident in the restaurant’s concept, food and décor but wanted to ensure their employees were really and truly focused on the opportunities that inspire guest loyalty.

Client had tried mystery shopping in the past but the programs didn’t have the impact management had hoped they would. The feedback became predictable and employees weren’t consistently buying in. Reports stacked up on busy managers’ desks and accountability suffered as the data became stale.


After in-depth conversations with management, Coyle agreed that mystery shopping was not the answer.

Instead they created an incentive program that measured ‘moment-of-truth’ touch points that happen every night in every restaurant. The incentive program was elegant because it was concise and direct. There was no need to recalibrate or update programming; it was an easy fit. Most importantly, there was no scoring; units were simply ranked based on how well they capitalized on opportunities to make guest experiences memorable.

The Coyle team felt a deep responsibility to make sure busy restaurant managers were only getting data that was critically important to coach and train. It quickly became clear that rank within the company was the jet fuel for progress.

Coyle created incentive scorecards that are delivered through a mobile-enabled platform built for the fast pace of the restaurant industry. Customized roll-ups show the big picture for corporate management, and the best performers are showcased while lower performers know exactly what they need to do to improve. For this client, the rank within the company was the motivating force to stay sharp, eliminate recurring errors and celebrate the wins.


Within a few weeks, the client began seeing improvement at nearly every restaurant location. Both management and employees continued to be engaged in the process.

Through collaboration, Coyle Hospitality was able to develop an innovative solution, scale it and do a roll-out to all 200+ restaurant locations in a matter of weeks. The results were immediate and quantifiable.

Top executives received positive feedback from the field and was able to deploy corporate support where it was needed. Most significantly, guest satisfaction went up, exactly as management had hoped.

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