Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About EyeSpy Secret Shopping

Get Started as a Secret Shopper

How do I know EyeSpy isn't a scam and is a real company?

EyeSpy has been in business for more than 20 years. We are the #1 Secret Shopping company in the Bay Area and has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau. While some other secret shopping companies may be a scam, EyeSpy is not. We’re a legitimate and very real business. 


EyeSpy does business and has long-lasting relationships with some of the most prestigious restaurant management groups in California and the United States, including Vine Hospitality and Knead Hospitality. EyeSpy’s Secret Shoppers are the foundation of our business and our shopper community is managed with love and integrity. 


EyeSpy has been featured in SFGate, a website owned by Hearst Publishing (the same people that operate The San Francisco Chronicle) and in Entrepreneur, just to name a few. 

How do I become an EyeSpy Secret Shopper?

All Secret Shoppers must apply to be considered for the EyeSpy Secret Shopper community.


To apply, Secret Shoppers (a.k.a Service Evaluators) complete and submit the Secret Shopper Application Form.


You will not be sent assignments until you complete the entire application process. This includes setting up your profile and providing your correct birthdate.


Applying to become an EyeSpy Secret Shopper takes just a minute and once you’re accepted into the community you can start accepting Shops and enjoying free meals and other services.

Why do I have to put my birthday in when I sign up?

Your birthday helps us match you to shops that fit your demographic – until we have a correct birthdate in your profile, we can’t assign you shops.


For instance if you’re under 21, you can’t complete a Bar Shop or Alcohol Delivery Shop. 


We do check your identification against your profile to ensure the information you’ve given us is accurate. 

I’m having difficulty inputting my birthday month and year using the calendar in the Shopper sign up. Can you help?

Sure. It works differently depending on the device/browser. 


iPhone Users: Click on the calendar icon. Scroll to your birth month and birth year and click ‘DONE’.

Select the date by clicking the number displayed in the calendar.


Android Users: To select the year you were born, touch/click the birthday field to open the calendar.

When the calendar displays, click the year. A menu will appear, scroll down to find your birth year and then click ‘SET.’

Then use the arrows to click through the months, and select the date by clicking the number displayed in the calendar. 


Chrome Users: Either input the month, day and year manually or click the calendar icon and navigate to the year, month and day. 

Click the calendar icon to open the calendar. Click on the month to navigate the calendar by year or month.

This is much quicker than clicking the arrows to navigate the calendar month by month.    

What are qualities EyeSpy looks for in Secret Shoppers?

Since your role as a Secret Shopper is to observe and make notes about your customer service experience, EyeSpy looks for Shoppers who have an attention to detail and can follow specific directions. 


We also look for shoppers who have integrity and are honest. We’re in the data collection business, so accuracy, integrity and truthfulness are held in extremely high regard here.


Ideal Shoppers have a background in the service or hospitality industry – but just as important, know how to spot good service. We also have shoppers who are lawyers, police and from academia – you should be noticing a trend, as all these are types of people who are focused on an accurate reporting of details in their full-time jobs.

What are the basic guidelines for Shoppers?

Due to the nature of Secret Shopping, EyeSpy Shoppers are asked to keep their shopping experiences confidential.


Meaning, you can’t post on social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Yelp, X, Instagram, etc.) that you’re a Shopper or reveal this during an assignment. You can tell friends about the experience in general, but you cannot discuss the details or businesses you’ve visited.


Operators enlist EyeSpy to get timely feedback about their service and operations, that said, Shoppers need to submit their Shopper Reports within 24 hours of their assignment.

What are some types of shops you send Shoppers on?

Restaurant Secret Shops are the most common types of shops, however as a Secret Shopper you may complete other types of shops.


EyeSpy also helps service providers like resorts and hotels, movie theaters, storage facilities, daycares, dentists, delivery services, bars, and the list goes on…

How many restaurants could I visit in one week?

We encourage shoppers to accept as many assignments as they can effectively complete. Some of our best shoppers have completed as many as five restaurant visits in one week.

How do I get started Secret Shopping?

It depends on your shopper status. If you want to complete Delivery Shops, you’ll apply to be a shopper, provide identification, go through a short onboarding process and almost immediately begin shopping. 


If you want to complete restaurant dine-in shops or more advanced shopping opportunities, you’ll apply for that shopper status by taking a short quiz and completing a Practice Shop. 


Once your Practice Shopper Report is submitted to EyeSpy, it will be reviewed by one of our editors and you’ll be given feedback about your Practice Report. 


After a short trial period you’ll be able to select available shops from the EyeSpy Shopper Dashboard.


Shoppers log into the EyeSpy Management System (EMS) and access their Shopper Dashboard to complete their Shopper Reports and submit them through the same platform.

How do I get scheduled for my first shop?

For your initial Secret Shop, you will be scheduled by the Scheduling Director. This Shop is an  easier shop that helps provide training, it could be a delivery or short counter service shop . We do this to help develop and support shoppers so they can evolve into better shoppers and get better assignments. 

IMPORTANT:  Confirm, reschedule, or decline your evaluations within 5 days of being scheduled.


  • If you would like to complete the shop but are unable to visit on the assigned date, please be sure to use the reschedule option located in your Shopper Inbox or the scheduling email that was sent to you.


  • If you are rescheduling your shop to another date, make sure to confirm the new date in the system. IMPORTANT: If the option to “confirm” a shop is still in your inbox, your shop is not confirmed.


  • You are not required to complete any shops you are not interested in or unavailable for. You are only obligated to complete shops you have confirmed.


  • If you are not interested in completing the shop, please decline and release the shop so it can be scheduled to another Secret Shopper.
Am I able to request additional shops?

In your Shopper Inbox you may also view any available shopping opportunities that have not been confirmed by other Secret Shoppers. 


If any of these shops are of interest to you, request a date to perform the shop and a scheduler will approve your request – on a first come basis. This is pending your shopper status – as you must be eligible for the shops you’re requesting. 


IMPORTANT: Shops must meet the scheduling requirements; ie. you cannot perform the shop on a Friday if the client requested no Friday’s.


If you do not confirm within 5 days of being scheduled, the shop will be released from your schedule and offered to another Secret Shopper.

How do I get better shops?

In order to be considered for higher end restaurants, hotels and other unique shopping opportunities you must complete several simpler Secret Shops. 


Shoppers work their way up to more advanced shops by showing you are able to submit reports on time, thoroughly, and are receptive to feedback (and you implement the feedback provided to you into your reports). 


The more Secret Shops you complete successfully, the higher rank you’ll achieve  in our system – and more  eligible for better and more advanced shops.

Basic Guidelines for Shoppers  

Do I have to remain anonymous?

Due to the nature of Secret Shopping, EyeSpy Shoppers are asked to keep their shopping experiences confidential.


Meaning, you can’t post on social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Yelp, X, Instagram, etc.) that you’re a Shopper or reveal this during an assignment. You can tell friends about the experience in general, but you cannot discuss the details or businesses you’ve visited.


  • Don’t ask an excessive number of questions, or inquiries that would be beyond a normal customer’s questions.


  • Make no mention of EyeSpy, evaluation, evaluator, secret shopping, report, or any other variation.


  • Refrain from taking notes on receipts, in a notebook, on a napkin, or on your hand. If you need to take notes, please do so discreetly and quickly on a cell phone.


  • Don’t ask for names of staff members unless the notes specify otherwise. If you are unsure about names, take notice of appearance and mention it in the evaluation (Ethnicity, gender, height, hair color/length/style, attire).


  • Don’t draw attention to yourself or discuss in length with guests aspects of service, food quality, or any of your EyeSpy assignments. Never discuss service or food quality with staff while performing your Secret Shop.


  • You should never send back a food item unless something is severely wrong with your order, for example, a food allergen is present.


You should never take a printed copy of the report to fill out on/during your assignment.

What if I am identified as a Secret Shopper?

If you are accused or asked if you are a Secret Shopper, establish some doubt in the staff member’s mind by looking puzzled and asking, “What is a Secret Shopper?”


Complete your assignment the best you can and depart the premises discreetly. Document everything that occurred during your shop (including that you were confronted) in your Shopper Report.


Signs that the staff have identified you as a Secret Shopper may include:


  • The server is more attentive and offers better service to your table than others around you. 


  • A manager visits your table when there has been no manager interaction with any other tables.
What can I post on social media?

Information gathered on Secret Shops (including photos) may not be posted, used for content or shared on ANY social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Yelp, Reddit, X, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) without written consent of EyeSpy.


  • Do not ‘tag’ the restaurant’s social media page.


  • Do not ‘check in’ on Yelp, or ‘tag’ yourself on Facebook or Instagram during or after an assignment.


  • Do not reveal that you are a Secret Shopper during the assignment or on ANY social media platform while performing shops for EyeSpy.


  • Refrain from posting any reviews on any social media platform (e.g. OpenTable, Yelp, Facebook, Tripadvisor, etc.) for any EyeSpy restaurant or business you would like to potentially visit on a future assignment.


You can tell friends about the experience in general, but you cannot discuss the details or businesses you’ve visited.


We do encourage you to refer friends and family to become EyeSpy shoppers but do so discreetly.

What tips do you have to become a great Secret Shopper?

Read the Assignment Details thoroughly before accepting a shop (you can find the Assignment Details by clicking the ‘View’ link in your Shopper Inbox):


  • Make sure you visit the correct location.


  • Visit the establishment during the correct Shift – please note the below to ensure you visit during the correct timeframe:

Breakfast: AM to 11am

Brunch: 11am to 2:30pm

Lunch: 11:00am to 3pm

Dinner: After 5pm

Bar/Lounge: After 6:30pm (unless otherwise specified)


  • If you’re scheduled for a Bar Shop, you are required to sit at the bar. Do not sit at a table. 


  • If the bar is full, stand next to the bar and order a drink from the bartender, documenting as many transactions as possible during that time. 


  • If you are still unable to get a seat at the bar, you can sit at a table in the bar area (ideally in a location where you are close to the bar) if you can see the bartender perform his duties, i.e. how he handles money and pours.


  • When writing up your report, your comments should be unique to your specific shop visit. 


  • DO NOT copy and paste text from previous shopping reports. If your reports have comments matching a past one, we will ask you to rewrite your report.


  • Use time stamps in photos to help document accurate timing and the pacing of your meal.
How long do I have to submit my report?

Businesses that use EyeSpy’s services use observations and feedback from Secret Shops to improve service and staff engagement.


This information is best provided to businesses immediately after the shop, so they can implement it into the learning/training process. 


That’s why we request you submit your report within 24 hours of your visit to the establishment or service provider.


If you’re going to be late submitting a report, please contact [email protected] so we may inform the client of the delay.

Completing an Assignment 

Is there something that lists everything I need to look for when performing a shop?

Yes. You can find a Secret Shopper Cheat Sheet (made to look like a text message so you don’t blow your cover) here.

I have a food allergy. Can I still be a Shopper?

Yes. Most restaurants can accommodate dietary requests and food allergies.

I am a Vegan. Can I still be a Shopper?

Yes. However, we encourage you to review the menu prior to accepting the shop.


There are cases where restaurants do not offer full vegan options and still require the shopper to order off the entire menu.

Can I order alcoholic beverages during a shop?

Yes, however for shop reports to maintain integrity (and you are able to observe the staff to your best ability), Secret Shoppers and their guests are only allowed TWO alcoholic beverages per person. 


A bottle of wine may be split between two guests. Restaurant clients request that Secret Shoppers do not utilize corkage (if offered) or bring any wine in on a shop unless prior approval is given to you by Scheduling. 


Restaurants want to know if their staff are upselling alcoholic beverages – this includes both made to order cocktails and wine recommendations.

Am I allowed to bring family or guests with me?

Yes, you can bring a guest. As the interaction between a server and a single guest is much different than a party of two. (The budget for a shop is usually the check average for two people.) 


Your guests feedback can be helpful while writing your Shopper Report – however, you are responsible for completing all aspects of the report.


IMPORTANT: If you would like to bring more than one guest or dine alone, YOU MUST REQUEST APPROVAL FROM SCHEDULING. You are responsible for any charges beyond your shop budget.


You are responsible for explaining to your guest (prior to your shop) that you should remain anonymous and NOT BRING UNNECESSARY ATTENTION TO YOUR PARTY. 


YOUNGER GUESTS: Some clients do not allow children on Secret Shops as this could impact your focus on evaluating the service. Contact [email protected] for further questions or guest approval requests.

Do I need to take photos?

Photos are required for all Secret Shops. 


Take photos of your food, drinks, and any cleanliness issues during your visit. Upload these photos through your EyeSpy Shopper Report using the MANAGE PHOTOS link at the bottom of the report. 


Save your comments prior to uploading the photos, in the event that your connection drops while they load


Can’t upload photos through the EyeSpy system?


Email them to: [email protected] and place the name and date of the Shop Assignment in the subject heading.

How do I take food photos?

To take great food photos for your reports, take a picture of EACH food item – instead of a group shot.


Did you get Take Out? Make sure the container lid is removed and we can see the food inside. Make sure the images are clear.

Submitting Reports & Communication

How would I submit my Secret Shopping reports?

Once you’ve applied and are accepted into the EyeSpy Secret Shopping community, you’ll get access to the EyeSpy reporting system with your EyeSpy account.


The EyeSpy system has assignments and information about current and future shopping opportunities.


All Secret Shopping reports are to be submitted through your EyeSpy account.

What receipts do I need to include with my report?

If you’re completing a dine-in shop, submit the itemized receipt and credit card receipt within 24 hours of your visit.  


Receipts must be included with your report when your report is submitted to the restaurant or business.


You may take a photo of the receipt (prior to giving payment to the server, so your name does not appear on the bill and you remain anonymous), and submit it with your Shopper Report.


To upload a receipt click MANAGE RECEIPT (this is located in the field next to where you entered the amount you spent). You can upload a picture of the receipt as a PDF, JPEG or PNG. 


If you forget to attach your receipt to the report, email it to: [email protected]om as soon as possible. We will request it, if it is not included in your report. 


If a receipt is not provided to you, ask for a receipt at the end of your visit.

What would cause my shop report to not be accepted?

If for any reason, a Secret Shop is not completed as requested, EyeSpy reserves the right to deduct the amount of the Gift Card or eCertificate from any outstanding reimbursements or payments (EyeSpy will give you multiple opportunities to fix your report). 


Examples of shops that will not be accepted are (and in some cases ban you from being an EyeSpy Secret Shopper):


  • If you complete an assignment but do not provide sufficient information in your report, and do not respond to requests for more information.


  • If you visit an establishment or service provider during a shift that you are not scheduled for (times for visits are clearly stated in the Assignment Details) and do not agree to complete a redo of the visit.


  • If you do not follow directions in the assignment (e.g. You’re scheduled for a Bar Shop and do not sit in the bar area).


  • If you falsify information in your report. Remember, we live in an age where EVERYTHING is documented by video, and Restaurant clients frequently check the accuracy of our reports against video footage from their location. 


  • If you conduct yourself in any unprofessional manner during your shopping assignment. If the business declines your report, for any reason, we will not accept it.


  • If a Gift Card or eCertificate was issued to you, your assignment is not completed, and you keep the Gift Card/eCertificate.


  • If you use an AI program to complete your report (and refuse to re-write it in your own words). 


  • If you misuse a code for services or goods that was issued to you for an EyeSpy shop.
I'm having a problem attaching images to my report. What should I do?

If you’re submitting reports through an Apple device like an iPhone or iPad, it’s likely because your device is using a format called HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format), which Apple uses for image compression).


We recommend using JPG or PNG formats.


Turn off the HEIF format:

1. Unlock your iPhone or iPad. Tap “Settings” on your device. Tap the “Camera” option.

2. Under the “Camera,” tap “Formats”. Now set up the photo format you want to use when taking pictures and transferring them to your computer. Again, JPG and PNG are the most popular formats.

3. To disable the HEIC image format, tap to switch on “Most Compatible” from “High Efficiency” option under the “Camera” option.

I am not getting email from EyeSpy. How do I fix this?

Make sure you have EyeSpy on your list of approved senders. If you are a Hotmail or Yahoo email user, follow the steps below to ensure our emails are reaching you.



There are several ways. Viewing Yahoo through a web browser like Chrome or Firefox? Follow these steps:

1. Click the Contacts icon

2. Click the ‘…’

3. Select ‘Add a new contact’


On Yahoo! mobile and apps, you have to set up a filter to keep emails from being flagged as spam:

1. Go to Mail Options > Filters

2. Add a new filter.

3. In the “From header:” rule, add the email addresses <[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]>, and the “Choose Folder” to be your “Inbox”.



1. Access the Safe senders list

2. Type the email addresses <[email protected][email protected], [email protected]> into the list.



You can use filters with Gmail too, for more advanced spam controls.

1. Go to Settings > Filters > Create a new filter and you can add the email addresses <[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]>, contact’s name, just the domain (e.g.,, and other criteria.

2. Check the box “Never send it to Spam.”

Gift Cards & Reimbursements

How do I get reimbursed?

For all shops, all terms and conditions (e.g. all fields required in the Shopper Report are properly filled out) must be met to be reimbursed for a shop.


For most shops, a Gift Card or eCertificate is issued to the Shopper before the assignment. In the case where a Gift Card does not cover the tip, Shoppers are required to pay out of pocket to cover the tip.


  • Reimbursements are sent approximately 3-4 weeks from the date of your assignment. Reimbursement times can also be quicker, but we allow for a few weeks to ensure the client has approved the report and no additional information is needed for it.


  • Meal and service budgets are set by the client. EyeSpy does not reimburse Shoppers for any charges over the amount of the set budget (this includes parking, tips or other incidentals), shoppers are responsible for any extra charges.


  • EyeSpy does not reimburse for mileage or fuel cost.
How do I receive and use Gift Cards and eCertificates?

If a Gift Card or eCertificate is needed for a shop it will be mentioned in your Shop Assignment.


Gift Cards or eCertificates are sent to the address on your account after you confirm/accept the assignment, they’re emailed if digital, if it’s a Gift Card it’s mailed to your physical address.


IMPORTANT: Moved? Or Moving?Make that your profile is correct and up to date – lost Gift Cards add additional time and hassle to EyeSpy and clients.


When a Gift Card has been mailed, an email notification will be sent to your email to let you know that it is on its way.

What do I do if I have not received a Gift Card/eCertificate in time for my shop?

If you do not receive your Gift Card or eCertificate in time for a shopping assignment, use the reschedule option in your Shopper Inbox. In the comment field just let us know you have not received the Gift Card or eCertificate.  


IMPORTANT: DO NOT PERFORM THE SHOPPING ASSIGNMENT, EyeSpy will not reimburse Shoppers for Gift Card / eCertificate shops, unless this has been approved in advance.

What if I have money left on a Gift Card?

If you’ve been approved to dine alone and a Gift Card is provided, half of the budgeted gift card/eCertificate amount should be returned to EyeSpy (we’ll pay the postage). You can request a self addressed, stamped envelope from [email protected].


Attn: Office Manager
1153 Lincoln Ave. Suite H,
San Jose, CA 95125


Gift Cards and eCertificates DO NOT include gratuities (unless the Assignment Details specify otherwise). By accepting an assignment that uses a Gift Card/eCertificate, you are agreeing to leave a gratuity for your server. 18 – 20% is recommended, as the industry average is 20%.


  • If a server gives you cash back from a Gift Card or eCertificate, do not accept it. Leave the money on the table and thoroughly explain/describe what happened in your Report.


  • If you have unused credit on a Gift Card, mail it back to EyeSpy. Mention that you have returned it and on what date in Shopper Report as well.


  • Secret Shoppers may NOT keep Gift Cards or eCertificates for future visits.