K&N Management


Mystery Shopping

The Problem

K&N Management, a $50 million quick-casual restaurant chain in the Central Texas area, wanted to be the absolute best in terms of their guest experience.

Their goal was to win the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that an organization can achieve. This wasn't an easy task considering, in it’s 22-year history, only one restaurant had ever won the coveted award for quality.

The leadership knew that this would require creating a uniform experience every single time that a customer enters the store, so they engaged Reality Based Group’s video mystery shopping solution to evaluate each and every employee involved in the guest experience so they could take their game to the highest level.


The Solution

Over a three year period, RBG video mystery shoppers were able to make visits to each store on weekly occasions and capture GameFilm® video footage of every employee interaction.

The video was then used in ongoing training modules where the staff members could view their performance. The employee was then asked to fill out a self-evaluation form with questions about what they thought they did well, and areas they thought they could improve.

This is an RBG best practice, given that individuals evaluating themselves have been shown to be more stringent in their performance criteria than outside review. Given that the individual is reviewing himself or herself, a larger ownership of the improvement process is taken, yielding better performances on the floor.


The Results

The restaurant chain received the Malcolm Baldridge award in 2011, and attributed much of their success to their work with RBG. According the Malcolm Baldridge Award website, the restaurant chain won the award based on the following:

In sales, these restaurants significantly outperformed local competitors and national chains and their gross profit exceeded the industry standard of 40% in every year from 2001 to 2010, reaching nearly 47% in 2010.

For both of their restaurant concepts, guests rated their satisfaction with food quality, hospitality, cleanliness, speed of service, and value at least 4.7 on a 5-point scale, outperforming the best competitor. Overall guest satisfaction ratings are over 4.7 for both, also beating the best competitor.

Over 95 percent of their team members reported that they were proud to work for the company. In 2010, the Austin American-Statesman named the firm “the best place to work in Austin.”

Since 2005, approximately 94 percent of strategic actions have been accomplished. Since the yearly focus strategic objective was deployed in 2001, 100 percent of the goals have been met.

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