Company Overview: A one client company? Although their website promotes service to multiple industries, Ardent is known to shoppers for serving one fast casual restaurant client. This MSPA member company is more than 20 years and headquartered in Colorado.
Payment is made by direct deposit on the 20th of the month following the shop. Shops are assigned by email on the first of each month and chosen from a shopper supplied list of locations. Shoppers are added when needed as this company prefers a smaller group that is given regular work.
Ardent is perhaps unique in that new shoppers are required to train at a client’s location. After completing a shop, that training is paid. The website is a unique platform and accessible here. Feedback for shops is posted a week or so after submission. In addition, Ardent maintains a private Facebook page.
Personal Experience: After a short wait after applying, I have performed more than 120 shops for Ardent over the last five years. Payment has arrived like clockwork on or about the 20th of the month following the shop. Shops can be performed over a roughly 12 day period. Reports are lengthy with many detailed observations and require significant narratives. Although a second client has been mentioned in emails, the website is geared for their main client. That website is easy to use and includes helpful documents such as sample narratives.
I found the on-site training to be a great help as a general manager from the client gave the small class a hands-on approach to the necessary observations. Schedulers are extremely responsive. They often respond to emails at night and on weekends. Communications are always helpful and supportive. Report feedback is always positive and constructive. The rare times I rejected assignments has not prejudiced future assignments. Ardent is a personal favorite because they treat shoppers as valued partners.
What others have to say: There is a surprising amount of discussion for a company with essentially only one client. Comments can be largely grouped into three camps. The first group consists of regular shoppers. This group is quite loyal, usually shops monthly, and loves working for this company. They report the schedulers are great to work with.
Pay is a flat fee of $27 delivered monthly as promised that more than covers the required purchases.
Reports are acknowledged as lengthy with some new Ardent shoppers being intimidated by their complexity. However, many shoppers offer suggestions to help do them more quickly. The second group is former shoppers that find the work too much for the pay. Despite this complaint, this group also praises this company as otherwise great to work for. The third group is shoppers that want to get in. Waits of months or longer after submitting an application are reported. They complain of the long wait without updates. If they get notice of training, that notice sometimes comes very close to the training date which can make scheduling difficult. Also, Ardent employees monitor the forum and will sometimes respond to comments.
Overall: For shoppers that can handle making detailed observations, can write significant narratives and want to be treated as valued partners with regular work at a fast casual restaurant, Ardent is a company to strongly consider. Their main client is expanding at an increasing rate and needs more shoppers now as well as the future. However, the wait in your area may be long because of a loyal shopper base. If your application is pending and feel a need for an update, I recommend you contact them.