Market Force review: How I earned $42 as a restaurant mystery shopper

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What if you could make extra money every week eating in restaurants you’ve always wanted to try anyway? That opportunity exists with

I signed up with Market Force as a mystery shopper after another member of Team Clark told me about other ways to get paid by testing food.

How to make extra money as a mystery shopper for

I was skeptical at first, but then I saw how this could be a good way to do three things I’ve always wanted to do:

  • Become a mystery shopper
  • Try some new restaurants
  • Eat for free!

What is Market Force?

Market Force helps food companies, restaurants and even wireless service providers with quality control and customer service assessments.

Those companies rely on mystery shoppers to objectively tell them how their businesses are doing, whether employees are applying their training and if their food is being prepared as it should be.

When you go to mystery shop for Market Force, you will be reimbursed for the “shopping” as well as for expenses like parking or tolls.

Full disclosure: Most of these places are fast-food restaurants, with the occasional full-service eatery thrown in. Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve eaten at places like 5 Guys Burgers, Hooters, Church’s Chicken and shopped at T-Mobile wireless stores and the like.

How to get paid to eat at restaurants as a mystery shopper

The key to getting paid is that you must keep meticulous records of your experience. Your mystery shopping experience will typically revolve around doing one of three things:

  • Confirming business hours
  • Trying the product or service
  • Taking a photo of the establishment

Let’s talk a little about each one of the above activities so you’ll know what may be involved if you choose to become a mystery shopper:

Confirm business hours

Different “shops” have certain activities that you must accomplish or fulfill. If you accept a shop that wants you to confirm the business hours of operation, many times you can do that over the phone (usually, you’ll get paid $3 to make a phone call).


Try the product (eat)

Other shops involve going into the business or restaurant and dining inside to try the food. That’s where the real money is.

With Market Force, you’ll typically get paid around $12 for a basic meal, but it could go up depending on what food items they want you to try.

Take a photo

Other times, your mystery shop may require that you take a photo of a restroom or some important signage that’s supposed to be prominently displayed.

In other instances you may have to do something as simple as ask a server where the restroom is.

How to sign up for Market Force

Market Force review: How I earned $42 as a restaurant mystery shopper

To join, go to and click on the orange “Login” button under “Mystery Shoppers.”

When you sign up for, you do give up a bit of personal data, including your information that allows you to be paid.

Once you’re approved, you can find shops on the site via a map. All you need to do is put in your ZIP code or one where you want to mystery shop.

Scrolling through the restaurants and other businesses on the left-side rail, you can select shops to accomplish at the times listed. Usually, there are several days and hours that you can choose from.

Marketforce review: How I earned $42 as a restaurant mystery shopper -- Get paid to eat: How to make extra money dining at restaurants
Photo credit: Screenshot via

Mystery shopping: How not to get disqualified

Once you approve a shop and you are sent the specific details (either as a PDF or Word doc), make sure you follow it accordingly.


One of the easy ways that your shop can be disqualified is if you go to a particular restaurant at the wrong time of day.

If it’s a lunchtime shop — usually between 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. — and you arrive there at 4:30 p.m. you’ll basically be wasting your time and money. Market Force won’t reimburse you, even though you may have followed all of the other instructions.

Another thing that makes your shop null and void is if you fail to report the shop in a timely matter.

Market Force asks that you upload the receipt and fill out the report no longer than eight hours after you’ve left the establishment. If you exceed that time limit, again, that meal is on you.

How much money can you make as a mystery shopper?

While Market Force pays you every time you do a mystery shop, don’t think this is a full-time job. The money you’ll make can best be described as extra income.

Still, you can make quite a bit of spending money with Market Force, if you have the time. If you have a full-time job, it may be difficult finding shops that are available after office hours.

One other great thing that will determine how much money you make with Market Force is that you don’t have to accept the price they give you to shop. That’s right, you can negotiate.

Once you select a business, if you think you deserve more money for the shop, click the green “Make An Offer” button and input your desired price. If Market Force agrees, it will be accepted.

Marketforce review: How I earned $42 as a restaurant mystery shopper -Get paid to eat: How to make extra money dining at restaurants
Photo credit: Screenshot via

From the above example, it will cost you $15 to eat and try the entree choice that this restaurant wants your feedback on. They are offering to pay you $5 to eat there. So you’ll be reimbursed for the $15 + $5 for the shop, meaning you’ll get $20 total for this one shop.

How often do you get paid with Market Force?

As with some other mystery shopping sites, Market Force pays monthly (the 15th of every month). That means if you do all your shops in the first few days of the month, you won’t see that check until the middle of the following month (about 45 days later).


That’s why it’s best to sprinkle in some shops throughout a 30-day period. You can get your money back quicker if you shop on the back end of the month.

Final thoughts on mystery shopping for Market Force

Market Force is a great way to passively supplement your income by doing something you’d likely do anyway. After all, we all have to eat!

The last time I used Market Force, I only “shopped” at two restaurants in the month, spending about $15 each time, and was paid $42.82. That’s not bad.

Here’s a screenshot of my haul.

Marketforce review: How I earned $42 as a restaurant mystery shopper - Get paid to eat: How to make extra money dining at restaurants
Photo credit: Screenshot from bank statement

As you can see, it’s no to difficult to earn a little extra money and have some fun (and maybe even a meal) at the same time!

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