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6th June 2014

Brakspear celebrates 10% uplift in mystery customer scores

Pub operator and brewer Brakspear has moved into its fifth year of mystery visits with a 10% uplift in the average customer satisfaction score since the scheme’s launch in 2010.

The mystery customer scheme has evolved over the years to reflect trends in the out of home drinking and dining market, and customers’ rising expectations of their visits to the pub. Last year, Brakspear added a new ‘gastro’ category, splitting the estate into three groups rather than the previous wet-led and food-led pubs. The move, sparked by the growing number of Brakspear pubs offering restaurant-quality dining, provides tenants with more valuable feedback, as they can view their score against a cohort of similar businesses.

Brakspear also introduced new questions to the mystery questionnaire, asking customers about the pub’s design and use of social media. At the same time, a separate questionnaire was designed for Brakspear’s managed estate of three pubs. Mystery customers visit every Brakspear pub twice a year and answer more than 100 questions covering all aspects of hospitality from cleanliness and service to marketing and merchandising. 


The overall customer service score averaged over 80% –  an increase of 1% on the previous year. Within each group, several licensees are achieving average scores in the high 90s. The top five performing pubs will be announced at the Brakspear Awards later in June and rewarded with a prize of up to £2,000 each.


Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “These results are proof positive of how regular, robust mystery visiting can benefit a pub business. In four years, our pubs’ average score has risen from 70+% to 80+%,  a huge leap which will have turned customers’ experience from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘very good’. Importantly, when customers score a pub at 80% or higher, they are much more likely to return, or to recommend the pub to others.

He added, “When we launched the scheme four years ago, there was, understandably, some resistance from our licensees. As they’ve seen the detailed reports from the visits, acted upon them and, in the vast majority of cases, seen their scores rise, they have started to view it as a valuable business tool. 

“Many now use the reports to inform all aspects of their business, from staff training to interior design and marketing.  We are delighted with the impact of the mystery customer scheme on our business overall and look forward to seeing further benefits from our fifth year with it.”

The mystery customer programme is designed and implemented by The Silent Customer, which is based, as is Brakspear, in Henley-on-Thames.


Issued on behalf of:                Brakspear

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

Further information:                Ros Shiel/ / 07841 694137