Mystery Shopping

The Problem

A passion for excellence and delivering exceptional guest experience has long been key to success for Cinnabon®. Ever since its founding in 1985, the company has put quality and the guest first. But with a growing guest base and an increase in popularity, they turned to Reality Based Group to help ensure that guest satisfaction remained a priority.

For years, Cinnabon relied on a single monthly mystery shop in each of its bakeries. During this time, guest satisfaction continued to rise, but the company wasn’t achieving the consistency needed to “wow” every guest.

They noticed that over time the company’s mystery shopping program was being seen more as an audit by the bakeries instead of a coaching tool that franchisees could use for improvement. In fact, many bakeries became too relaxed. Managers started looking at their overall score without reading the details from the actual evaluation, effectively overlooking coaching and training opportunities.


The Solution

It was time to try something new. With RBG’s mystery shopping solutions helped:

Increase the frequency of shops from once a month to once a week

Test only 25% of the locations over a four-month trial period

Set standards around personalizing the guest experience

We lead Cinnabon's team to offer samples, provide additional complimentary items during checkout, and guarantee the quality of CinnaPack® take-home packs.

This resulted in franchisees taking notice. With this realization, they stopped saying “But we always do” and started asking, “How can we?” Franchisees started experiencing new levels of accountabilitymanagers started thoroughly reviewing reports again, resulting in a renewed focus in coaching their employees.

To the delight of the Cinnabon corporate team, manager feedback indicated a love of the new programas it increased accountability for everyone and energized the bakeries. Magically, managers logging into the company’s system to review scores and coaching tools began to skyrocket. The franchisees and their employees were now empowered to be heavily involved in their own success.


The Results

At the end of the trial period, Cinnabon measured the success of the test bakeries—and what a difference! Bakeries participating in the test offered a sample 43% more often and attempted to up-sell 17% more often than non-test bakeries.

RBG’s mystery shopping has enabled Cinnabon to take their guest experience to the next level. And to date, the results are extraordinary. Cinnabon started simply by defining an extraordinary guest experience and through the focused optimization of their mystery shopping program they were able to make that experience a reality for their guest.

For Cinnabon, the test bakeries’ success was just the beginning. They have now moved to weekly shop visits company-wide to ensure every guest experience is just as good as every Cinnabon cinnamon roll.

More Case Studies


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Goodwill organization increases profit by 8% while using Mystery Shopping solutions.

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RBG’s Mystery Shopping solution helps our client win the Malcolm Baldridge Award.

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Cinnabon sees a 17% increase in up-selling behavior by moving to weekly shops.

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Under Armour’s overall Customer Experience score improves by 15%.

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Cabela's increases ticket sales by 20%.

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