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Mark Cuban hires a team of secret shoppers to survey reopened businesses

Through ShiftSmart, mystery shoppers went to 300 open restaurant and retailers in Dallas to see if businesses were complaint with the governor's orders.

DALLAS — The title of Mark Cuban's latest blog post reads, "I Hired a Team of Secret Shoppers to Find Out How Businesses Were Opening in Dallas. It's Not Good."

It's a reflection of how businesses performed in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott's order on how businesses can reopen in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I wanted to get an understanding of what opening meant to businesses around Dallas," Cuban writes. "Were they opening? What precautions were they taking? Were employees in safe environments? And bigger picture, I wanted to know if these are places that I would feel safe taking my family to."

He hired a company called Shiftsmart.

CEO Aakash Kumar said they started by calling around 1,000 restaurants and retailers based on popularity on Yelp.

"Of the 1,000 or so locations that we called to see if they were open, we found about 36% of them actually opened up," Kumar said.

From there, trained secret shoppers were deployed to approximately 300 locations in Dallas on reopening weekend.

Data shows only 4%, or about a dozen businesses, complied with all mandatory protocols. 

"But the slightly more troubling number is that roughly one-third of the locations were less than 50% compliant," Kumar said.

Credit: Shiftsmart

He said it's important to keep in mind the fact that it was the first weekend stores were allowed to reopen, that it can take time to adjust to all the rules.

"One of the things we're doing is creating individual location level scorecards," Kumar said. 

Over time as more data is gathered, Kumar said the scorecards will be given to the parent company and store managers so businesses can make improvements. The names of the businesses will remain anonymous.

Credit: Shiftsmart

Kumar said the goal is to help restaurants and retailers reopen safely. 

"It's not just for the consumer, it is for the blue-collar workforce that is being put on the front lines," he said. 

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