Subject: Mystery shopping as an online business
Program: Goodwin Hospitality Mystery Shopper Program
Cost: Free to join but you must pass several written tests. Apparently it is only open in the U.S.
Owners: Cannot be ascertained. However the program is based out of Concord, NH.
It has been in business since 2010.
Mystery shopping as a way of generating income online, (or offline) has been around for years. Usually it involves an individual hired by a company to be willing to give up his/her time by performing chores such as shopping, eating at restaurants, going to movies, trying out products, etc.
In most instances the individual would only be paid in the form of compensation for whatever event he participated. In the examples above it would be trying out, purchasing clothes and getting reimbursed, eating at specific dining locations, or attending specific movies.
Joining this opportunity – The bright spot is you will get to eat!
As a follow up, usually the mystery shopper would be required to fill out a form describing in detail his/her experiences. It is important to the company setting up the shopping experience that they receive well-detailed information from the individual. This would eventually allow said company to have a better understanding of the need of consumers as well as providing a better product.
You will see my whole entire take on the realm of mystery shopping later in this article. To be honest one certainly could not achieve “financial freedom” with mystery shopping listed as his/her main source of income. It could be the case however, that you could have at least one great meal eating out a restaurant and better yet it could cost you nothing! Still you can’t deposit a N.Y. prime rib filet mignon in your bank account, now could you?
***If by chance already getting involved with Mystery Shopping is not your thing, as an alternative here is my top recommendation for you to learn how to run a legit online business from home. ***
The Goodwin Hospitality Mystery program explained in detail:
Okay so you’re really interested in being a mystery shopper for this company. That is if you pass muster initially through the completion of the company’s application/questionnaire.
Now they only focus in on the dining/hospitality industry. So if you’re looking to get a great deal, ladies on a pair of expensive Gucci high heeled pumps, sorry but this company would be something that you’re not looking for to purchase that shoe.
They do have the following restaurants in the U.S. that participate as part of the program:
Little Caesar’s Pizza
Ben & Jerry’s Hooter’s
Hometown Buffet Nothing Bundt Cakes
PJ’s Coffee Yogurt Mountain
Atomic Wings Buffalo Wild Wings Grille & Bar
Dunkin Donuts Guido’s Pizza
Wild Wing Café Apollo Burger
The Cheesecake Factory Wayback Burgers
With the last restaurant listed above, “Cheesecake Factory”, I personally can attest to the fact that of those on the list it probably is the highest class restaurant that I saw. Having been to the restaurant at least a half dozen times in my life, I can attest to the fact that the food is spectacular!
Their assortment of salads is excellent, and their “Kobe” burgers, (coming from the best selection of beef possible) is probably the best cheeseburger that I have ever tasted in my life.
And if you like cheesecake for dessert, this restaurant literally has dozens of different flavors to choose from! The name of the restaurant says it all when it comes to eating calorie-filled sweets!
So how do you register with this company to be a mystery shopper?
As I stated above, registration is free and apparently is only open in the United States. To officially become a mystery shopper affiliated with Goodwin hospitality however there are several tests that you must pass before you can be selected to participate in the program as I have indicated above.
Besides registering online and providing such basic info as your first/last name, an email address, phone #, city where you live and state, (only the U.S.) you also must pass the following tests:
As with every completed assignment you must also submit a created report explaining of your mystery shopping experience, you would be tested on your actual writing ability. Can you form the proper sentence structure as you articulate your thoughts, and follow the basic rules of English grammar?
An example test would be your ability to describe in detail the restaurant experience as you dined . You have to post tangent comments on the restaurant itself and the décor, the appeal of the food upon delivery, the waiter/waitress, the taste of the food, portion size and value.
You also would be asked in a second test to explain intellectually about yourself as a person. I would assume with both tests you could not write as a 7 year old- second grade elementary school student and expect to be hired. I would assume that at bare minimum, we would be talking about a high school education.
The third test would involve you having to read 7 – 8 specific statements as instructions about a dining experience.
After reading each statement and compiling what was memorized in your mind, you then would be asked several questions geared to analyze how well you understood the instructional statements. Looking at the questions myself at the site really simplistic in nature, I can only assume that unless one really didn’t get it, that failing would almost be close to impossible.
There also is no time limit for taking this final test. I mean that same 7 year old kid, assuming that he/she reads well as mentioned above probably would pass this test.
However as this third test is really about following basic instructions and then assimilating the facts together . . . Hate to say it but not everyone is going to pass considering the statistical literacy of adults at the present time in the U.S.A!
So how do you get paid for your time?
Okay so you enjoyed your meal at that restaurant and want to know how much you would get paid. Hold on partner as in some instances you don’t. Not even one penny. Instead, you would just get a free meal!
According to the company’s set rules all shoppers are paid a set flat rate amount upon completing their assignments. That includes filling out a detailed questionnaire about their dining experience online and then submitting the completed and detailed form.
Before accepting the mystery shopping assignment the paid amount would be displayed online at the site. From there the individual could either accept or reject the offer.
As posted on the site regarding payment examples, I took the time to copy and paste below four different actual dining experiences that would result in four different payment amounts eventually given to the participant:
• The assignment pays $50. You spend $50 on dinner while completing the assignment. You receive $50 to cover the amount you spent, including tax and tip. Think of it as a free meal!
• The assignment pays $50. You only spend $40 on dinner while completing the assignment. You still receive the full $50 to cover the amount you spent and make a $10 profit!
• The assignment pays $50, but you spend $70 on dinner and travel expenses while completing the assignment. You still only receive $50. Think of it as $50 towards your meal (like a gift card).
Thus with the bill you would owe at the dining establishment plus any travel expenses added in, you would lose $20!
• The assignment pays $50 and does not require that you purchase anything. You make $50 just for your time visiting the business and completing a report!
In a company statement at the site, all individuals who work as mystery shoppers are not considered employees of Goodwin Hospitality.
As far as reimbursement other than the food, Goodwin gives no additional money to the shopper to cover expenses. This would include: Extra food purchased by the shopper beyond the set amount, parking, gas and mileage traveled, expenses if taking a public form of transportation, (taxi, city bus, etc.). Nor would you receive “compensation” from Goodwin in the form of an hourly rate or salary.
Goodwin does not pay out funds by check, or in the form of cash. Instead arrangements for payment to all mystery shoppers participating in the program are done through Pay Pal. Thus you must have a verified Pay Pal account set up to participate in the program.
Also shoppers are usually paid within 30 – 45 days after submitting an acceptable report and valid receipt coming from the dining establishment to which they frequented.
My overall view about this mystery shopping site:
I will be quite blunt. While this is not an outright scam it comes awfully close!
You would be absolutely foolish to think that you could earn a decent living with this program. Be serious, assuming that you dine out and are given $50 to spend by the company. However you only spend $40 out of that amount. So that’s $10 that you actually made going into your pocket.
However then figure in gas, or fare if you take public transportation and how much would you end up ahead? A few dollars at most?
Also consider the fact that it could take you up to 45 days to receive that $10 you earned completing this “shopping” assignment. To me that’s a turnoff, why the long wait?
Yes, assuming that you’re not assigned to eat out at Dunkin Donuts, (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that unless you have dietary restrictions against their often fattening food) for dinner repeatedly, you might actually end up having a great meal.
My suggestion would be that you pray that a lot of assignments involve “The Cheesecake Factory” or “Buffalo Wild Wings” above as their food selection is superior to the others. Also if you’re not offended going to Hooter’s, their food does taste pretty good as well.
But don’t fool yourself folks. Like other mystery shopping experiences involving buying clothes at Nordstroms, or going to a movie at your local theater, dining out weekly is not going to pay for your mortgage.
It’s really no way to generate an honest online income for yourself!!
So Is There Truly a Legit Program Out There? YES!
Look there is a lot of junk out there, all online business opportunities that you should avoid at all costs such as this Mystery Shopping program!
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Thank you for reading this article! If you have any further questions or thoughts, please I urge you to leave them in the comments’ section below: