All A’s: That’s what the top five retail chains that participated in the annual CSP/Service Intelligence Mystery Shop received for overall brand performance.
In the 12 years of the mystery shop, foodservice has played an increasingly larger role, as it has in the industry as a whole. Deeper audits on the food experience have been added, helping retailers assess their strengths and weaknesses.
It turns out the industry is in dire need of such audits: While the top performers in the mystery shop have never dipped below 84% in any of the foodservice attributes, there’s little room for error—especially when it comes to food safety.
Cameron Watt, president and CEO of Intouch Insight, which conducts the annual mystery shop, has been surprised at the high percentage of locations that either aren’t keeping food at safe temperatures or are merchandising expired product. A score in the 80s may sound decent enough, but that means 10% to 20% of stores that are not meeting food-safety requirements.
“If the petro-convenience industry is truly going to step up and compete in foodservice, these are the types of things that must not only be improved but be looked at as critical failures each and every time they are not achieved,” he says. “The foodservice competitors certainly do!”
At the same time, mystery-shop participants scored well for overall appearance of key foodservice areas, as well as marketing and promotions. Where the rubber meets the road will be how retailers execute both innovative marketing and menuing ideas and operational excellence.