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Mark Cuban’s Secret Shopper Study Finds That 96% of Dallas Businesses Don’t Comply With Reopening Guidelines

The Dallas Mavericks owner hired a research firm to conduct secret shopper studies at hundreds of restaurants and businesses across the city

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Amy McCarthy is a reporter at, focusing on pop culture, policy and labor, and only the weirdest online trends.

Now that Texas restaurants can reopen their dining rooms, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban hired a firm to evaluate how these establishments are implementing safety protocols intended to slow the spread of coronavirus, and the results are not exactly encouraging.

To conduct the analysis, Cuban enlisted the help of staffing company ShiftSmart, which assembled a team of secret shoppers to conduct research into how restaurants and other businesses were implementing Texas governor Greg Abbott’s Open Texas guidelines. The secret shoppers called about a thousand businesses around the city to determine whether or not they were open, and made physical visits to around 300 establishments across Dallas to “assess compliance against state reopening protocols.”

Cuban’s study doesn’t specify which restaurants were visited by secret shoppers, but does indicate the types of establishments that shoppers visited, like a “steakhouse chain” or “fast-casual burger chain.”

According to the findings posted to Cuban’s website, only 36 percent of all businesses included in the study that were allowed to reopen on May 1 actually chose to open their doors. Of those businesses, a staggering 96 percent failed to comply with all of the Open Texas guidelines. The shoppers observed that restaurants were more likely to comply with some requirements, like separating tables and asking employees to wear masks, than they were with guidelines like offering single use condiments or contactless payment.

It’s not surprising that Cuban would conduct this kind of research. He’s been a vocal critic of rushing to reopen businesses across the state, and is also an investor in a number of retail establishments and restaurants across the country, including Fat Shack and Pasta by Hudson, both seen on his ABC TV show Shark Tank.

Cuban will continue sending out secret shoppers over the coming weeks, with visits to “hundreds of locations” planned for the rest of the month.