Measuring the Compliance of Restaurants’ Brand Standards with Mystery Shopping

How Restaurants Are Using Mystery Shopping to Measure Compliance to Brands Standards

The food industry is a sector that will never go out of style. Every moment a new restaurant is launched offering new dishes, a distinctive theme and a unique customer service style. This works in the customer’s favor as they are given a wider variety of cuisine and restaurant choices. However, this also poses a challenge to restaurant owners to earn the trust and loyalty of customers.

With the tightening competition among restaurants, you’ll notice little difference in the pricing and food menu. Sometimes even the taste of food is indistinguishable. The differentiating factor lies in the consistency of food quality and service delivery. In order to provide these services unfailingly, brand standards compliance should be closely observed.


Complying with Brand Standards

There are 4 main reasons why you need to ensure employees comply with your restaurant’s brand standards:

1. Quality

In the food industry, it’s very important to have an exceptional product. The quality of food, including its taste and presentation, ranks first in the criteria customers look for in deciding where to dine. Rules in food safety and handling should be strictly observed in order to ensure high-quality products are served.

Unlike typical retail shops, once food is served and consumed, it can’t be returned. This means you must carefully observe the quality of your products and compliance of company policies.

Brand standards are put in place to maintain not only the identity of your restaurant but also to ensure the quality of your products and services. In addition, ensuring compliance is essential in order to follow regulations made by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

SeeLevel HX mystery shoppers assess whether or not your food quality remains consistent every time they visit your restaurant. They can also observe if you are in compliance with the FDA. With the insights provided from our database of 650,000 secret shoppers, you will be able to see if anything is amiss and quickly implement a solution.


2. Consistency

Do you ever notice how your favorite snack tastes the same no matter the store you purchase it from? It’s because these snacks are made using the same process every time.

Similar to a recipe book, brand standards help maintain consistency in various aspects of your restaurant. The quality and taste of the food you serve, the kind of service you offer to customers and the overall atmosphere of your restaurant should remain the same each and every time you open your doors to consumers.

Patrons return because they trust you can give the same positive experience they received when they previously dined with you. They will notice if the quality of your products decreases, and this will negatively affect customer retention rates.

Mystery shoppers can check if your restaurant, and any of its locations, are staying true to the brand standards you have implemented. From the secret shoppers’ insights, SeeLevel HX can create a comprehensive report detailing any inconsistencies found on a brand, region or individual store level.


3. Expansion

As your business grows, monitoring operations and ensuring each branch delivers the same quality detailed in your brand standards become increasingly difficult.

Some restaurants also use a franchise model to grow their businesses. In this structure, the responsibility of running the branch is given to the store owner who is required to follow the brand standards set by the franchisor. This is a faster and more cost-efficient way of expanding stores across the country, but one drawback is that the brand as a whole takes the hit when the quality of any franchise drops.

If you’re running this kind of business model, you might find it difficult to keep every franchise in check. Sure, you might have regular evaluations and training programs in place, but they might not be enough to make ensure compliance and quality at all times.

Mystery shopping programs can help assess whether franchises are complying with your brand standards. SeeLevel HX can evaluate the product quality, speed, service, presentation, cleanliness and employee performance for every store, no matter how many locations you may run.


4. Knowledge

You might change your menu, shift to a different location, or adjust your pricing, but the rules for maintaining food safety and service delivery should remain the same. Having a brand standards manual makes it easier to train new hires on the practices and processes the restaurant follows. It acts as a constitution everyone must follow to ensure the restaurant operates as expected.

No matter who handles the food, brand standards compliance should remain the same. By employing the services of a mystery shopper, you can see if employees are following the protocols they were trained to implement.


Building a Brand Standards Manual

In the restaurant business, a brand standards manual is a must-have to guarantee customer experience delivery is consistent across all shops and channels. It will guide you in maintaining the quality of the food you serve, the service you deliver, the brand image and message you present to customers and the training you provide to employees. It will contain instructions that hold true no matter the needs of your customers or the size of your restaurant, your employees and your menu.

As a mystery shopping agency, we can help assess your compliance with existing brand standards. Our comprehensive reports can offer insights into where you should adjust your brand standards guide for the better. And if you don’t have a branding guide yet, we can help define the unique qualities of your restaurant. We can identify the services that you can and can’t offer so you can develop a realistic brand standards manual your employees can adhere to.

Build a Brand Standard Guide Manual Plan



Brand standards are defined to help restaurants, or any business, remain consistent in the quality of their service offerings to customers. A branding guide is especially helpful for those in the food industry who serve delicate products prone to contamination, spoilage and other negative effects that can stem from mishandling.

Conducting a mystery shopping program to assess the compliance of your restaurant’s individual locations to its brand standards can have a tremendous impact in ensuring a quality customer experience is provided. The valuable insights and feedback mystery shoppers provide come from the perspective of a customer, offering you genuine data from the very people you serve.

Whether you want to make sure your restaurant complies with the brand standards you have set, or you want to start building a brand standards manual, SeeLevel HX can lend its expertise to help you achieve consistency in delivering quality to customers. Contact us if your restaurant is ready to ensure compliance across all its locations.