We here at the Frog work with a lot of businesses, and we know that those businesses might occasionally compete against one another. And there’s nothing we like more than a good old fashioned brawl! No, I’m just kidding. But we do know that competition is everywhere, and you always want to know who your competition is and what they are doing. There are lots of ways to figure this out as well, but one thing worth doing would be your own observer and go in as a mystery shopper.
Now we’ve heard this term before: a mystery shopper is a person who goes into a business, such as a restaurant, and gives a detailed report on the quality of the service, the food or products, and so on. There are apparently mystery shopping services out there, but they can be a bit spotty, and the last thing you want to do is shell out your hard-earned cash to a service that’s not going to do much for you. So, when it doubt, you can always do it yourself.
If you choose to be a mystery shopper to your competition, remember that you must try to remain objective. Sure, you might make the biggest, baddest (not a word, I know) burger on the block, and you may recognize that when you sit down to have your competitor’s burger, but you should always be looking for things that they do well and possibly do better than you. You may have the better burger, but they might have the better fries or décor. Don’t be pompous, in other words.
Also, go in with specific ideas of what you’re looking for. If you have a burger place and you’re going into the other burger place, look at the elements you have in common and compare them. Also look at how you do things differently. And while you’ll obviously have your eye on the general appeal of the place when you walk through the door, don’t forget the little things. Look at how their menu is arranged, as well as their place settings. See how their tables are set up and what quality of product they serve. And as stated before, be objective. If something is better, then acknowledge it is and decide how you’re going to compete with this.
Of course, you’re hoping that you’re such a big shot that you won’t be able to walk into anyone else’s place without being recognized, like a local George Clooney. If that’s the case, you know that the restaurant will try extra hard to look perfect. So, if need be, recruit friends and family to be your shoppers. Make sure that they will be impartial as well. And make sure they’ll actually tell you the hard truth if something they do is better than what you do. Tell them to not worry about hurting your feelings because your feelings shouldn’t be hurt. You merely want to have a better-running business, and their information is going to help you.
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