SMS Marketing Guide - DialMyCalls

SMS Marketing (Text Message Marketing) for Restaurants

Americans love eating out. In fact, according to Statistica, one-fifth of individuals enjoy a meal at both quick-serve and full-service restaurants every week. Using SMS marketing for restaurants can help eateries capture their share of that business.

Since relying on mobile phones and frequenting local restaurants are familiar to just about everyone, putting them together can boost business for those serving meals while making life more convenient and enjoyable for those eating them.

Receiving restaurant text alerts is usually welcomed because customers must opt-in to receive marketing emails in the first place. Many appreciate the convenience of making or canceling reservations by text, often redeem coupons or discounts sent by SMS messaging, and nearly always open messages, which serves to reinforce brand recognition.

As a result, SMS marketing for restaurants can be an affordable and effective way to drive both new traffic to a business as well as retain existing customers.

How Restaurants Use SMS Marketing

Opportunities abound for companies who choose to use a restaurant texting system to drive business. Here are some of the most common applications for SMS marketing for restaurants:

  • Time-Limited Discounts. Businesses can use restaurant text coupons to encourage both prospects and customers to visit. It’s important that these offers are short in duration to create a sense of urgency and encourage redemption sooner rather than later.
  • Item Introduction. One great way to use text marketing for restaurants is to send new menu items or provide a sneak peak into upcoming specials. Recipients sense they have the inside scoop and are more likely to remember that business when choosing where to dine that evening.
  • Entertainment Updates. Text message marketing for restaurants can also be used to announce live entertainment or other special events tied to a business. Often, what’s happening in addition to a meal can tip the decision of where to eat dinner.
  • Polls and Feedback. Using SMS marketing for restaurants can provide a two-way communication channel to collect feedback or take polls, helping restaurants ensure they are providing the food and service that will please customers most.
  • Membership Programs. Restaurant text clubs are an excellent adjunct to a loyalty program. By treating members as VIPs, businesses can foster a sense of loyalty and exclusiveness. Spoiling club members with special discounts or the opportunity to hear about news first can encourage participation.

How SMS Marketing for Restaurants Works

Businesses interested in getting started with SMS marketing for restaurants need to select an online text provider to facilitate the initiative. These providers will provide a framework and structure to conduct the marketing initiative.

If restaurants have collected customer phone numbers and received opt-in permission through another marketing channel, this information can be entered into the text marketing system. Otherwise, restaurants should start by establishing keywords and setting up methods for collecting phone numbers to build their subscriber list. Keywords and associated deals can be publicized on table tents, in email campaigns, on print advertising, or on website ads.

Once businesses have established a subscriber list, they can start creating restaurant text deals to share on a regular basis. Here are some ways that restaurants have used SMS marketing messages successfully.

Brand Awareness

Simply driving down a commercial stretch illustrates how vast the food choices are for most individuals. Text message marketing for restaurants can help increase brand awareness. If a business is sending regular deals and news to prospects and customers willing to receive them, that business is more likely to stay top of mind when it comes time to choose a dining location.

In addition, it’s always easier to retain customers than to snag new ones, so restaurant text alerts give businesses the perfect channel to nurture existing relationships by sharing exclusive discounts and addressing any complaints or problems immediately through texts.

Menu Promotion

Text message marketing for restaurants can also help businesses promote their menu choices — both new and old. If a restaurant knows that a particular special is very popular with customers, it can remind patrons when that special will be available.

Those businesses that introduce new items regularly or perhaps rotate menus based on seasonally available produce can use SMS marketing for restaurants to announce changes and new choices.

Offering items such as free appetizers or discounts on specials can also help drive business during slower periods.

Deliver Updates

Using a restaurant alert system can be an excellent way to communicate with customers who have requested delivery service. Restaurants that cater to home meal delivery can use an SMS system to collect orders as well as provide step-by-step updates so that customers know exactly where their meal stands.

Sending a text message when an order has been received, when food is being prepared, when the order is on its way, and after it’s been delivered can help keep customers in the loop and is an efficient use of resources for the restaurant. Businesses may want to find ways to creatively communicate these steps by personifying the meal or animating a logo or character associated with the restaurant.

Customers love to talk about creative advertising, which can add another little marketing boost to an SMS marketing for restaurants initiative.

Attract New Customers

One of the best ways to attract new customers to an eatery is through restaurant text deals. Everyone loves a deal, and a special discount to visit a new restaurant can often drive traffic successfully.

Find ways to incorporate special keywords into existing marketing programs. For example, ask prospects to opt-in on a website, through print advertising or mail campaigns, or on existing billboard advertising. Be sure to reward subscribers with a generous coupon or free entree with a purchase of another.

Remember if customers try and love a restaurant, they are more likely to return or be responsive to future marketing programs.

Poll Creation

SMS marketing for restaurants can also be used to collect input, opinions and feedback. Use a restaurant texting system to survey subscribers about their favorite entree, appetizer or dessert. Ask subscribers to weigh in on what the next new menu item should be or whether or not breakfast items should be served all day.

In addition, sending a text message after a customer has dined at a restaurant to check if they are satisfied can help ensure that any problems are nipped in the bud. Even if a customer has a bad experience, having a restaurant reach out, apologize and make amends can do wonders for long-term customer loyalty.

By using a restaurant alert system to collect information from an attentive audience, businesses can make smarter long-term decisions that can contribute to growth and success.

Restaurant SMS Examples

SMS marketing for restaurants can include many examples, limited only by the imagination of the eatery owner. Besides establishing restaurant text clubs, opinion polls, feedback channels, menu updates, and restaurant text coupons, having an SMS system in place can also be valuable for general communications.

For example, vendors can use an SMS system for marketing to restaurants when they have an oversupply of ingredients or supply. Businesses may want to use the SMS system to coordinate employee shifts and schedule resolution as well as a communication vehicle for shift swaps or a call for additional servers on a particularly busy evening.

An SMS system can also be used to manage reservations, allowing patrons to make, change or cancel reservations conveniently. Restaurants can send reminders a few days before a reservation as well as the day of dining, giving customers an easy link to change or cancel the reservation if plans have changed. This helps free tables that may be abandoned by no-shows, allowing the restaurant to maximize its capacity.

Benefits of Using SMS Marketing for Your Restaurant

There are many benefits to using SMS marketing for restaurants. Here are some of the most common:

  • Drive new traffic into a restaurant.
  • Increase size of customer orders through complimentary specials.
  • Boost size of parties by offering free meals with purchase of one or more meals.
  • Encourage visitors during off-peak meal hours with special deals during those hours.
  • Nurture long-term, returning customers through loyalty programs.
  • Address complaints and problems effectively and immediately.
  • Understand customer preferences through polls.

Text Message Templates for Restaurants

To help you get started, here are some text message templates for restaurants. Remember that the SMS message limit is 160 characters, so be short and concise.

Discounts:

 
Enjoy a free appetizer at Joe’s Bistro. Tonight only.

Updates:

 
Eastside Steakhouse has introduced a new Tuesday night special: Prime rib at half-price. Through July 1 only.

Poll:

 
Sally’s Sweets is adding a new dessert and wants your vote: cheesecake, flan, or mousse? Vote and get a coupon!

Loyalty Specials:

 
Exclusively for Pizza and Pies members: free slice of pizza and pie between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. every weekday in August.

If you’re ready to try SMS marketing for restaurants, check out DialMyCalls as an SMS text messaging provider. We offer free accounts and trial subscriptions at no charge so you can easily get started with an SMS marketing campaign today.

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