As an employee of the Cheesecake Factory I am writing in this forum because no one physically will ever respond to any prior issues at hand.
I am fed up with recent events taking place in my store. The company spends ~2.5million or so a year on an outside company to secretly come in to the restaurant posing as guests to evaluate our services. The "mystery shopper" must remember dozens of questions, exact times, and details without any note taking.
This outside company services many restaurants and other business types. Without any training but only the incentive for a free meal, the shoppers evaluate numerous things throughout their entire visit but again all through memory to report at a later time.
Week after week, prior to opening the restaurant all staff are aligned and repremanded for their disgraceful actions from the prior shopper report.
We are told that we are worst in the company for service, that we need to get at least 100 % or we will be finding other jobs. We are told a quarter of the staff is looking to be fired. We were told that corporate is sponsoring an incentive plan to anyone who has the most improved scores will win a party (BIG DEAL), but that we as a team shouldnt even worry about it because we suck so bad we wont win anyway. Everyday this behavior gets increasing worse from management.
These scores are not at all a clear indication of this stores performance. In fact, our restaurants staff is exceptionally better than other area restaurant chains. The reason we have a 2 hour wait time compared to other restaurants is because of our exceptionally fresh food, and great staff. The people who work at our store are extremelly dedicated and very hardworking.
However, management gets bonuses for the scores in which the servers receive. This is why such a huge deal is made to push us to get above 100%. The fact is servers get absouletly nothing in return but either a pat on the back or a hard time day in and out. There is never any real incentive for the waitstaff to do better- we never see the money management gets. We are supposed to be a team and the leaders are very money hungry-driven and in direct result make daily negative comments about our poor service when infact its how the shopper is reporting it. We have caught many shoppers reports to be lies (partially).
It is the servers job to "feel" the guest for the mood they are in. If its a quick lunch break, get them in and out. But why must we take the downfall when shopper is in a hurry to get in and out and asks for the check halfway before the meal is completed and then dashes and later reports that a dessert presentation wasnt done (minus 6 points).
This person is only after the free meal and doesnt care about the real issue at hand. Or a women comes with a child and since we arent kid friendly and dont supply crayons or toys that the ambiance was bad and she didnt enjoy her time because her kid was screaming- yet thats our fault.
I could go on and on about how people twist things in their direction to make it the restaurants fault.
The shoppers are unaware that people who have worked for the company many years will get fired over the fact they had a bad shopper score. I believe too much emphasis is put into these shoppers and should be a mere suggestion.
I really feel the company should use the millions spent on shoppers to have better training or incentives within the company. This would not only raise the moral but keep staff longer and more loyal. Why waste the money on an outside company who isnt trained themselves and doesnt help us but help us better if the money was redirected back to us. This would better increase profitablity and wouldn't everyone be much happier?
East Coast (above mason dixon line)