Implementing a mystery shopping program: Where did it go wrong?
This case invites students to put themselves in the shoes of Delia, the company HR specialist responsible for the implementation of mystery shopping at Salsa, a chain restaurant. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the negative impact of this new performance appraisal system on employee morale. Salsa, located in the state of Florida, USA, decided to improve the quality of its customer service by implementing mystery shopping. Six months after this practice was implemented, the quality of customer service has slightly increased. At the same time, employees have grown increasingly unhappy with the practice. First, employees feel the company implemented mystery shopping to spy on them, so their trust in the restaurant management and corporate leadership has decreased. Second, employees of three service areas, kitchen, cashiers, and dining, do not like being evaluated as one big team and thought the old system that used separate criteria for each service area was fair. Third, the company did not provide a formal process for employees to appeal the results, ask questions, or provide suggestions related to the new practice. Observing the situation from Delia’s perspective, students will search for possible solutions to improve this situation.