mcdonalds

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.

Very smart!

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.

It’s an interest free loan you have kindly provided to the company. Hopefully you have not failed to comply to any of their instructions.




Click if you still want to be a Mystery Shopper.

Click smile-icon for deals.

6 Comments for this entry

  • Vuxes says:

    $2/hr is way below minimum wage! This should be illegal…

  • Peter Rogers says:

    Thanks for this expose. Mystery shopping is never a high-paying job, but Shopping Science mystery shoppers are treated better than this! http://www.shoppingscience.com.au.

  • coquette says:

    Actually, GAP busters pay $5 for the evaluation and $6 for the meal. Doesn’t even pay for the petrol in most cases!

  • Ex GUT busters says:

    Oh, you are too kind.
    You forgot thet there are 3 timing points and you have to state it to the second.
    You forgot thet everything is going to be kept on CC camera and if you are even slightly wrong- : Gut busters…oops, sorry, Gapbusters, will not pay you.

    You have been over paid. what out, thye might want it back. My jobs were $7.30 spending taken from my supposed $13 pay.

    Yes, you mentioned the set menu, and it is to be strictly adhered to. You must have ice in the soft drink. You can’t say “no sauce”, or whatever.

    You wioll be phoned and harassed to do the work and even if you say “my cardiac specialist says I shouldn’t”, you are threatened that you will be fired. You live in hope that Gapbusters will allow you other jobs, but McDonalds is what you get.
    You hae to quality test the food- you only made a brief mention of this…You forgot the degree cooked for the fries, and the fact that fries are salted, but hash browns are not. One serviette per food item has to be accounted for and don’t forget the degree of melt in the cheese and the structure of the burger. ( or as the McDonald’s training schedule calls it, sandwich)
    Now add to the fact that he website it laden with graphics that take eternity to download, and you will be fired on the spot if you admit to using the store”s free WIFI whilst you are there. This is despite the fact that the staff at Gapbusters will tell you that WIFI is in store, when you say “But I have no internet at home, I have to rely on the one hour maximum a day in the library” ( so therefore don’t give me evening jobs or weekends, because the library is closed).

    A typical day was fighting early morning traffic to the city to get an in store breakfast job they called the night before, begging you to do and promising a $20 bonus (ha ha). It was flooded and no one could leave the store, so stranded 3 hours ) out came the laptop, because there is a maximum 6 hour submission deadline. Then, fighting floodwaters, move on to the lunch job and rush home to scan both dockets on the desktop scanner. Save it to USB and go out again in the pouring rain and uplooad the receipts and do the reports which time out using maccas wifi if you leave the webpage idle for more than a minute ( entering data is not counted as activity. You have to turn pages to stay logged). Of course, no booking available at the library for their superior internet connection. Spend 3 hours struggling to submit the report (I had already managed one very discretely whilst stranded in the morning’s store). Then go home.
    So that is drive to job 1, drive to job 2 drive home-scan, drive to a library-no luck, drive to another Maccas store, submit- go home. An 8 hour day.

    Then because I had been stranded in the store doing the job I was begged to do, I was fired. NO pay .

    Gapbuster don’t give their workers a phone number to complain. They don’t reply to emails…after all, they are automated addresses. They don’t get your pleas for help if there is a technical problem or if you ask NO for certain types of work.
    When they call you though, you try to complain. Some XXXX from XXXX says “you Australians, you’re all lazy.” Then you are fired.

    In all, I did 7 jobs with Gapbusters. I outlaid $50.50. In total, I was paid $51.

    That is 50 cents pay for what would have amonted to about 60 km driving and maybe 50 hours work.

    Gapbusters are losing their McDonalds contract. It is going to ISC. Now, on top of all that work you have to do, you also have to submit an additional 1800 character essay as well as the 55 (?) question survey.
    They promised me a $4 bonus.
    Oops…they forgot.
    Heard it all before.

  • JD says:

    Mystery shop is a waste of time and a waste of time. I rather see people give a online survey then have a mystery shop.

  • sabit131 says:

    GAPbusters are on the nose

    The organisation is the one used in Australia by Telstra, Athletes Foot, Australia Post, Fone Zone, LMG Liquor (to name a few) to test the efficiency of its sales staff in customer relations and selling product.

    The payment generally given by Gapbusters for this work is $10.00 for a single product inquiry and up to $15.00 for a multi-product inquiry. To receive payment gapbuster “XE’s” or Contractors are required to spend at least 20 minutes on each required visit in store and complete a web based questionnaire.

    In this questionnaire some scope is provided for informative comment but often answers have to be selected from a predetermined list of options which are unsatisfactory in the majority of instances, but an answer from the predetermined list has to be provided otherwise response will not be accepted. This I believe devalues the content of reports that companies receive from Gapbusters.

    Further to this, there is something fundamentally wrong with an organisation that sells product to improve customer sales and relationships, when it treats its own contractors (XE’s) with disdain and contempt. Their internal complaint handling process is as follows (unpublished of course) – in the first instance ignore issues raised, if forced to respond respond off topic, if complaint continues threaten removal from their data base, remove from data base. You would have to agree this is not a fine outstanding example of good customer relations and in my opinion raises serious question about the company itself given the product/services it sells.

    One would assume a company such as GAPbusters that sells product, promoting good customer handling procedures and relations, would naturally follow best practice in internal and external client relations. I assure you that Gapbusters do not, and from personal experience do not compare favourably with other companies that operate in the mystery shopping arena .

    Yes, I am a disgruntled Ex-contractor. I go to this extreme because when I tried to hold them to the same standards that they have their XE’s report on there only response was to follow the process indicated above. This is disreputable to say the least. Companies that use them should be informed of there double standards. I certainly am taking whatever steps I can to do just this.

    Do with this information as you wish, but I do hope That GAPbusters suffer some consequence from it. Please broadcast the information as you see fit and as far and wide as possible.