Mc Donald’s restaurants pay people to eat their products. If you enjoy fast food, you might be interested to be one of them.
Does that sound too good to be true? You bet.
These people are known as Mystery Shoppers. They receive instructions from GAPbuster, a company which evaluates the shopping experience for certain companies. Mac Donald restaurants use their service to determine how well their restaurants are performing.
To become a mystery shopper you will get an online training and after passing the tests you can pick up assignments which suit you best.
For every assignment completed you will receive $10. Sometimes you might receive more, $15 or $20, if you are required to do a specific assignment.
So you will enjoy 2 free meals and get paid for it.
However it is not as rosy as it looks.
You will need a vehicle because you have to go through their drive-in. You will need a digital watch or stop watch because you have to time to the seconds. You definitely need to have a computer and internet access and finally a scanner or digital camera to copy your receipts.
You cannot go with someone else. You have to do the assignments alone. So forget about taking your girlfriend with you to enjoy a free meal. You need to concentrate on your job and not be disturbed by conversations.
You will be required to check how clean the areas are and that include the restroom. You will need to time how fast you get billed and served. You will have to evaluate the appearance and friendliness of the employees. Last but not least, you will taste the products and evaluate them.
There are 2 evaluations to be done: The Dine-In and the Drive-Thru.
In both cases you have to do the above. For the Dine-In you need to spend at least 15 minutes in the restaurant. You cannot just grab and go.
There is a certain time frame for you to complete the assignments. That is normally about 2 hours for both. The time frames are different depending if you are going for breakfast, lunch or dinner. For lunch, for example, you have to do the shopping between 11.30 a.m to 1.30 p.m. For dinner, it will be between 5.30 p.m to 7.30 p.m.
So if you are planning to drop by and grab something to eat you are in the wrong place.
Since you are to eat twice for the evaluations you might find it a bit pressured. Of course for some people that’s not an issue. You do not have to consume everything. After tasting the products you can dump them or take them home. But you have to taste them immediately while they are still warm.
You cannot pick any order you want. There are specific items to select. Picking the wrong one will mean you will not get refunded for your purchase. At time you have special orders. This means, you are to instruct the order taker not to include certain things in your food, like onion or sauce. You have to ensure that you get what you ordered.
After finishing the evaluations you have 6 hours to submit your results online. And this is the best part.
It may take you over an hour to fill in those informations. You may have to explain what happened when your results are not according to expectations. You go into a lot of gritty details. Some are repetitive. If everything went smoothly then it might be faster to get the report done. When submitting the report it might often not be accepted because your answers apparently contradict themselves. So you have to determine where you went wrong. You might spend another half an hour figuring out how to “unfix” the contradictions. Actually they may not be contradictions at all, just the program is designed in such a way, to accept only certain answers and do not give you the possibility to vary them.
Last but not least you have to upload your receipts. So you need to take a picture of them or scan them.
Once this is done, you have accomplished your mission.
Or did you?
Not so fast. After a few days or weeks you might receive an email. requesting that you provide additional information within 24 hours. Apparently your answers are not acceptable. Mac Donald restaurants can challenge the results since they are being evaluated for their performance.
So you need to recall what actually happened and fill in the missing information.
After spending over 3 hours on the assignments and spending gas to travel to the site and get paid $10 for it, you could not help wondering if this is worth it.
What do you get? $23? Well not really. You really did not enjoy the meal for $13 as you would have in a restaurant. You probably earn net $6, discounting gas and vehicle expenses. $6 for 3 hours work means you got paid $2/hr.
Gapbuster would probably pay way over if they hire people to do the evaluations themselves. The 2 meals would cost about $13 and are probably refunded by Mc Donald. So it has only cost $10 for Gapbusters to do an audit.
How much is it charging Mc Donald and other customers for that audit? You guess it.
One last thing, if you fail to comply to their instructions, like ordering the wrong items or not doing it within the time frame, you will not be refunded for your purchases.
Did I mention that your refund will come once a month? So if you have done 6 assignments you will have spent about $100 from your pocket and will only see them back at the end of the month.