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Restaurant Mystery Shopper: Earn $15+ Eating Out

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Do you love the idea of free food?

What about getting paid to eat that food as you usually do at a restaurant?  Yes, free food and getting paid to eat it!

Indeed, it’s possible, and no, it’s not a scam.  C’mon, now!  You know I don’t work like that here.

What’s known as a mystery shopping company, these companies will pay you to go undercover and visit restaurants as you eat a meal.  In exchange for your time, all you need to do is answer some questions, usually within 24 hours at home after you leave, about your experience.

As every company varies, it can be anywhere from judging the food quality to the cleanliness of the bathroom or how fast it takes to get your food.  You never know what kind of answer you will get, but you will know everything about your job detail before you even accept it.

If you want to get paid for both your time and your restaurant bill, then you may want to consider applying to one of the many mystery shopping companies I mention below that offer a ton of restaurant mystery shopping opportunities.

It’s as easy as applying to the company and accepting jobs to get started.  I promise you that it isn’t hard at all.

With all of that out of the way, listed below are the many reputable mystery shopping companies that will pay you to eat.  Check out a few of these companies, apply and then start accepting some jobs once approved.  It’s as easy as that.

45+ Restaurant Mystery Shopping Companies

Market Force

Market Force is one of the largest mystery shopping companies, one I have mentioned plenty of times.  It’s one I personally play around with and can usually earn $10 to $20 per restaurant job, including my reimbursement.  It’s a great way to make money while eating out.

They work with some of the biggest brands, including multiple restaurant chains.  Aside from restaurant mystery shopping opportunities, they also offer plenty of gas station, grocery store, drug store and even wireless telephone shopping opportunities.  There’s a lot to keep you busy, no matter where you live in the states.

To get started, you can join via this link or even download their highly-rated app, Eyes:On.  I would recommend at least checking out the app first as it’s the easiest to use while on the go.

The company has been awarded the MSPA Shoppers’ Choice Award and currently has an A+ BBB rating, making it one of the most reputable companies on the list.

BARE International

BARE International has been a global leader since 1987, serving more than 150 countries.  Every month, they conduct more than 50,000+ evaluations with some of the world’s leading brands.

According to the website, some of the perks include flexible hours, fair pay, a professional reputation and fun work, to name a few.

To learn more about what sets BARE above the rest, you can follow the link below for more information as to how to apply.


Like Market Force, Bestmark is another big company, having been founded in 1986.

According to the company’s official website, they work with some of the world’s biggest corporations, including Fortune 500 companies.  Every day, they offer more than 10,000 jobs.

Many of the jobs you find on the company’s job portal relate to the restaurant industry, but they also provide hotel, casino, bank and retail store jobs, making for a very diverse offering.

To qualify, you must be at least 18+ years old and have reliable transportation.

A Closer Look

A Closer Look has been in the business for more than 25 years now, working a myriad of industries, including restaurants.

From fine dining to fast causal, bars, and even nightclub restaurants, you can find quite the selection on their job board if you’re looking to get paid to eat out.

The company works with more than 500+ clients and currently has more than 200,000 evaluators in its database.  To see what makes them different, follow the link below for more information.


Every year, Confero conducts thousands of mystery shopping visits, many of which are done in the restaurant industry.

To qualify, simply sign up and answer a series of questions to start accepting jobs.

Confero is an Inc. 5000 company and a member of the MSPA.

  • Website:  Confero

Coyle Hospitality

Coyle Hospitality is another mystery shopping company I have mentioned a few times, particularly in one my favorite posts, free hotel stay post.

As I write this, Coyle works in more than 70+ countries and always seeking evaluators who want to audit local restaurants.  While they do focus more in the hospitality sector, you will find restaurant gigs, too.

Signing up only takes five minutes to do and is 100% free to join.

Reality Based Group

The Reality Based Group, known as RBG in the mystery shopping community, is said to be one of the country’s most renowned mystery shopping companies, at least according to the official website.  They have quite the accolades, from an A+ BBB rating to more than 1,000,000 completed mystery shops.

The company was founded in 1992 and represents a very diverse group, from restaurants to banks, property management firms and much more.

To apply and see some of the clients they have worked with, follow the link below to start the application process.

Second to None

Second to None works with leading brands across America and Canada, boasting more than 30 years of experience with an A+ BBB rating.

The company works with multiple industries, much like the others mentioned here, but if it’s the restaurant/food industry you’re looking for, you can find it.

If interested in becoming a mystery shopper, they do ask that you have excellent communication skills, you’re capable of remembering small details and have a computer, to name a few.  For more information as to what they are looking for as well as an application, I linked to the official page below.

Secret Shopper

As the name implies, Secret Shopper is always on the lookout for freelance mystery shoppers.

Founded in 1990, this company is part of the MSPA, the professional trade association for the Mystery Shopping industry, and has won multiple awards.

To sign up, previous experience is not required nor do you have to be an employee.  You get to work whenever you please and can choose any job you wish.  For more information, the link below connects you with the official FAQ page, where you can learn more about what the company can offer.

Sentry Marketing

According to the official website, Sentry Marketing works with a variety of restaurant industries, including cafes, fast casual concepts, upscale casual and even fine dining chains.

As long as you feel you have excellent observation and writing skills, the company wants to hear from you.  They invite evaluators of all backgrounds and experience to apply.

The company is newer, at least in comparison to the rest listed here, founded in 2005, but it is a reputable option, I promise you that.

Sinclair Customer Metrics

To become a Sinclair mystery shopper, it’s easier than ever.

All you need to do is glance over the “information for mystery shoppers” document, agree to the contractor agreement and fill out the online application.  Once you’re able to pass the “new shopper challenge” and survey, you can then access the company’s job board.

Sinclair has been in business for more than 40+ years and is always open to new mystery shoppers.

Even More…

Listed above are some of the more popular options, but I wanted to include some not-so-popular options below.

These companies don’t always have restaurant mystery shopping jobs, but they do on occasion.  It just depends on the time of the year, the clients, etc.  Nonetheless, these are more options to consider if you want as many jobs as possible.

TIP:  Use JobSlinger to Find Even More Companies

There are a ton of mystery shopping companies, and unfortunately, it’s hard for me to list all of them.  While I did try to list them all here, I will miss a few, it’s just a matter of fact.

To find even more mystery shopping companies in your area, one tip I always recommend is using the very popular mystery shopping job board,  This job board searches multiple mystery shopping companies and post the jobs they have all in one place.

As it’s free to join, consider creating an account and see what’s in your area.  If it’s restaurant mystery shopping jobs that you want, then you will want to focus only on the restaurant jobs.  Next to each job, take a look at the company offering the gig and consider applying with that company if you’re not already a member.  A good rule of thumb is to apply to companies that post multiple food-related jobs as there’s a good chance they will offer more opportunities in the future.

Don’t Get Scammed

As one of my last thoughts, make sure you watch out for scams as the mystery shopping industry is filled with them.

To avoid them, these are a few tips you will want to keep in mind:

  • never ever pay for anything as a reputable mystery shopping company will never ask for payment
  • while it’s not necessary, always work with an MSPA certified company to ensure you’re working with a company that’s legit
  • never cash a check, even if it looks as if it came from a mystery shopping company; they will pay via PayPal or direct deposit
  • if it sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is

As long as the company passes the test, you should be good to go.

Final Thoughts

If you want free food and even want to get paid while eating that free food, then restaurant mystery shopping is the way to go.

Most of these jobs can pay anywhere from $10 to $25+, including your food and can feed you multiple times a week.  It really is a great way to try out new food and get rewarded in doing so.

If you’re interested, every single company I listed below is 100% legitimate and should have some restaurant mystery shopping opportunities.  It’s up to you to sign up and get approved, all of which only takes a few minutes to do.  How many jobs you find really is dependent on the company you apply to.

For now, start applying to these companies, view the job board and then accept any jobs that sound of interest.  Just be sure to read the directions in detail to ensure your job gets approved and you get paid.

As always, if you have any questions and/or want to comment on a company mentioned, you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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