How SMS Marketing Can Work For Restaurants and Cafés

On: Aug 11, 2015    In: Tips & Best Practices

phone-coffeeSMS marketing has proven to be an effective approach to increase sales and build brand loyalty for restaurants and cafés. It is a fast, efficient and economical way to keep customers updated, allowing restaurants and cafés to engage on a personal level with customers at any time.

Targeting Your Message to the Right Audience

Before starting an SMS marketing campaign you need to determine your target audience and build a strong list of customers to send your message to. Finding out consumers behaviours and gathering information (for example: whether they are regulars, like to eat late at night or early birds living close by) can help you to tailor your messages and lead to a better response rate.

Grow Your Opt-In List

It is important to gives customers a reason to sign up to receive your SMS, by advertising your keywords (on shortcodes) on menus, posters or in store can allow customers to opt-in to your messages and provide you with lots of new contacts.

Keeping Your Customers Happy


Using SMS marketing is a very cost effective way of getting exclusive deals to customers with only a few clicks, enticing meal deals or discount vouchers will ensure customers on your CRM database will make a point of returning much sooner than they may otherwise have done. On average, 16% of mobile offers shared with potential customers are redeemed in restaurants.

Here are a few ways to do this:

Mobile coupons - With 57% of consumers saying they want to receive coupons on their phone they are becoming a mainstream form of marketing. They are easy and convenient to redeem as customers will be carrying your coupon around wherever they go. Using mobile coupons for a bulk SMS promotional campaign can help your restaurant reach a bigger and more targeted audience, driving more sales in real-time.

An example would be sending an SMS to a number of nearby office employees and other consumers about an hour before you start serving lunch, offering a discount for that specific day. 

“Get 10% off your next meal. Show this text to get the deal!”


“Text "fries" to 31996, you'll get a coupon sent back to claim your free portion of fries”

Competitions/Promotions - Restaurants are learning that they need to do more than get guests through their doors, offering customers exclusive deals, specials, coupons, or other free goods is an excellent way to increase sales. Text-to-Win campaigns are a highly effective way to build a list of mobile subscribers quickly which is extremely valuable for any business. Offering an incentive and a clear “Call-to-Action” to get customers opting in to your list.

“Text (MEAL) to 57963 for a chance to win a free dinner for two”

Sending out an SMS to customers informing them of a competition could also be used to initiate a viral marketing campaign where customers send on the SMS to their friends. Or using a short code and keyword where customers enter the competition by sending an SMS and receive an auto-response SMS confirming the entry.

grocery-retailKeep Your Customer Updated

Specials and menu changes are a great way of re-engaging with existing customers and keeping them updated at the same time. One way of promoting this is sending an SMS including a URL link to an online menu, and the booking page of your mobile website making it quicker and easier for your customer to make a reservation. Alternatively, you could have a daily SMS campaign that releases a new special each day. A simple SMS and an incentive could lead to a full restaurant with just one click of a button!

Know How Your Customers Feel

Being aware of what your customers think of your restaurant is incredibly valuable and gives you an idea of brand perception and image. SMS allows you to communicate with customers in a way that gets quick, honest, feedback on specific questions and enquiries.

For example if a customer has dined in your restaurant and been disappointed by the slow service at the end of the meal they’re given a little card with a code number asking for their feedback via SMS. On the way home they can send an SMS and within 10 minutes you’ve responded apologising, and offering 20% off their next meal where you promise that the service will be faster.great_customer_service_blog

These are just some of the ways in which you can use SMS to communicate with your customers, increasing engagement and improving your offering so that you retain them as a customer and keep them coming back for more.

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