Trimark of Excellence Mystery Shop FAQs

The goal of the Trimark of Excellence Mystery Shop program is to protect the integrity of the CITGO brand and reward Retailers for their day-to-day efforts to maintain it. It creates consistency across the brand and allows for tracking accomplishments as well as areas of improvement, both inside and outside the store.

Research shows consumers prefer to shop at locations that present a clean image and provide excellent customer service. The better your score, the more prepared you are to maximize your volume and sales. In many instances, travelers indicate that a convenience store is their preferred location to stop for using the restroom versus other businesses.

The survey evaluates the following “Trimarks” of Excellence: Fueling Experience, Shopping Excellence and Customer Excellence.

The focus is brand image and the visual experience of a customer when they pull up to a location. It typically includes questions about the fueling island and canopy, overall property cleanliness, CITGO marketing promotions and the building exterior.

Find out more about the Fueling Experience

The focus is the interior elements of the convenience store. It typically includes questions about the cleanliness of the restrooms and the overall appearance of the interior of the store, including merchandising execution, and cleanliness and freshness of foodservice offerings.

Find out more about the Shopping Experience

The focus is the level of customer service provided by the store employees. It typically includes questions about employee presentation such as uniform, level of customer service and how the overall transaction was handled.

Find out more about the Customer Experience

The program shops all CITGO-branded locations four times a year based on calendar quarters (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep and Oct-Dec).

No. The quarterly shop schedule provides time for your location to receive results and make corrections. CITGO believes that this creates the consistency we are looking for.

Contact your Marketer to register your location. They will provide you with the configuration guides so you can schedule a tech to complete the configuration.

CITGO will provide your gasoline supplier with the following for each retail location scoring 97% or higher on a quarterly shop: $250 in CITGO Gift Cards, a letter of commendation and a performance certificate to display in the store.

CITGO recognizes that all store employees put forth effort to maintain the facilities and provide excellent customer service. This reward structure recognizes a location's entire crew versus the employees on duty at the time of the shop.

Your CITGO gasoline supplier is able to provide results to your location within a few days of the quarterly shop. You can also access your scores via once you have registered your location on the site.

Your CITGO gasoline supplier may receive a monetary penalty for each location scoring less than 80% on any given shop. It is up to them to decide whether to pass these penalties down to you or not.

For greater details on the questionnaire, please refer to the Trimark of Excellence Checklist on In addition to the survey questions, you'll find information on the Appeal process and Tip & Tricks section, which appear under each failed questions on your quarterly reports. These features will allow your location to make recommended changes and receive points back on failed questions and/or avoid penalties on future shops, respectively.

Not necessarily. There is always a high standard of performance that must be met in order to achieve acceptable scores consistently over the series of quarterly shops. The ISP and Tip & Tricks sections can help your location enhance its scores over time as corrective actions are taken.

To receive points back on your survey for corrections made to select branding issues, or if you feel a scoring error was made, you can submit an Appeal by clicking the “Appeal” button at the top of your survey in the Alta360 Research reporting portal. All correction photos should be taken from the same spot as the original mystery shop photo. Appeals must be submitted within 30 days of the original mystery shop or up to 10 days after the close of the quarter, whichever comes first.

Locations who receive a Brand auto-failure can retroactively receive their points back (and any penalties) if you submit an appeal with correction photos prior to the end of the following quarter.

Steps to submit an Appeal

Tips & Tricks auto-populate on your quarterly mystery shop under select failed questions. They provide helpful solutions to fix existing issues in order to avoid penalties on future shops. They do not offer points back.

Not at this time. In the event that a location is not able to be scored regarding a particular item, the questions will be marked as Not Applicable (N/A) and no points will be lost. Keep in mind that customer service from a fueling attendant is no different than customer service from a cashier inside the location. CITGO will continue to monitor the program and make modifications that improve the overall experience for the consumer.

Yes. The survey features one bonus questions that changes each quarter. It is worth two (2) points.

Your Trimark of Excellence Mystery Shop results can be assessed the following ways:

  • Your CITGO gasoline supplier will receive notice when a mystery shop is completed at your location. They will also receive a customized summary report and can provide you with recommendations for improvements and training, if necessary.
  • View Trimark of Excellence reports

You and your CITGO gasoline supplier have access to reporting through online dashboards once your location is registered on this site.

Register your location today.

Your CITGO gasoline supplier can also assess this reporting through MarketNet®.

You or your CITGO gasoline supplier can review your location trends over time versus peer organizations. There is also the ability to drill down into specific question to better understand how to improve your overall score.

Yes. CITGO will provide your gasoline supplier with the following for the top 500 locations each year: $500 in Visa® gift cards, a recognition plaque and a letter of commendation.

Yes. In addition to the Appeal process and Tips & Tricks on the quarterly mystery shop reports, there is ongoing training hosted on There are also opportunities like contests and videos throughout the year to help locations focus on the “Trimarks” of Excellence.