Guide to SMS Marketing for Restaurants

SMS marketing is blowing up in the business arena, and it's not hard to see why. Take a hard look at your restaurant; how many people are on their phones? How many customers are using third-party mobile apps to order from you? You're probably reading this article on your phone! 

Mobile phones are highly convenient, which is why people are attached to their devices. Your potential customers are using their smartphones to decide what and where to eat. They look up your online reviews on their phones before visiting your physical premises and use their smartphones to make reservations. This makes text messages the perfect channel to reach out to your customers. 

If you've not adopted this marketing strategy yet, here's a complete guide on how to promote your restaurant with SMS. 

Top 5 SMS Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

Contrary to what you may think, SMS marketing is not dead. In fact, studies show that sending text messages gives you a 97% open rate in less than 15 minutes. This is highly impressive! 

When people receive a text message, their first instinct is to open it, so if you're not leveraging the benefits of SMS marketing, you're missing out on sales. According to 99 Firms, here's a quick overview of the top SMS marketing statistics.

  • SMS marketing has a clickthrough rate of 19%, compared to emails that only have a 4.2% clickthrough rate.
  • Text messages get replies 295% more than phone calls.
  • The spam rate of text messaging advertising is only 1%.
  • 75% of consumers don't mind receiving your promotional messages as long as they opted-in for the service.
  • Almost 80% of smartphone users make their purchasing decision based on promotional messages. 

The best types of marketing strategies focus on reaching the customers through the means they relate with most. According to Pew Research, around 94% of smartphone owners take their mobile phones with them everywhere. This makes text messages one of the most effective marketing tools. 

Key Benefits of Using SMS Marketing for Your Restaurant

The rise of social media marketing brought about speculations regarding the expendability of text messages as a profitable marketing channel. Statistics have, however, proven that SMS marketing is alive now more than ever and is one of the most cost-effective promotional strategies. 

Perhaps one of the elements that make SMS highly successful is the fact that your potential clients only need to have a mobile phone. It doesn't have to be a smartphone device; they don't need an internet connection to interact with your messages; they just need a functional phone.

Here are some other key benefits of using SMS marketing to promote your restaurant. 

  • Text Messages Are Highly Cost-Effective

Running a restaurant business is often expensive. You have to brand your physical premises, get the necessary permits, buy cooking equipment and hire staff. All these expenses combined are likely to leave you with a limited marketing budget. 

Marketing is, however, not a function you can afford to ignore, which is why SMS marketing is perfect; you can easily afford it. You simply need to sign up with a reliable and affordable SMS software provider, and you're good to go. The best part about this is that you can send out bulk messages, segment your customers and schedule text messages in advance.

  • SMS Guarantees Instant Success

According to Business Insider, people check their phones at least 150 times daily and are likely to spot your message within 15 minutes of sending it. This open rate is higher compared to emails as only 34% of people check their emails frequently throughout the day.

The best part about running a restaurant is that it's fast-moving. When people are hungry, all they want is good food, and you can use this knowledge to send text messages at the right time. 

Identify when you have the most foot traffic and send out offers at least 30 minutes to an hour before then. You can even send out exclusive discounts during your off-peak hours to drive more traffic to your restaurants. 

  • Text Messages Have an Impressive ROI

There are 3 main reasons why SMS marketing has a greater return on investment compared to other marketing strategies;

  1. Almost everyone has a cellphone. This makes text messaging an effective channel for reaching most of your customers.
  2. SMS marketing strengthens customer relationships. Every time you send your customers promotional offers and exclusive discounts, you grab their attention. They're then more likely to purchase from you every time they need to dine. 
  3. Text messages have a high engagement rate: SMS are short, precise, and straight to the point, which is why they have a higher response rate. 

You can also use text messages to collect invaluable customer data without spending a fortune. If you have a customer service team, they should be able to respond quickly with an answer if someone texts in with questions.

  • Text Messages Add a Personal Touch 

Making sales is no longer transactional in nature; it's mainly about the warm relationships you nurture with your clients, and text messages are a great way to get you there.

Even though the number of words you use in a text message is limited, a lot of thought goes into crafting the perfect SMS. This is not lost on the customer. 

Keep in mind that modern consumers don't buy from brands; they make purchases from the people running those brands. This is especially true in the restaurant business. If a customer is satisfied with your service quality and personal interaction, they're more likely to remain loyal to you. 

  • SMS Marketing Guarantees High Reach

SMS marketing performs better than other forms of advertising by up to 5 times. This is mostly because of how interactive it is as a marketing channel. Every time you send out bulk text messages to your customers, you're guaranteed that they will open your message and read it. 

You just have to ensure that you segment and manage the contact lists efficiently to avoid sending irrelevant messages that could prompt your customers to opt out. 

Top Ways You Can Use SMS to Market Your Restaurant

SMS marketing is one of the simplest forms of restaurant marketing. Think about it. There are specific times during the day when your clients are considering their meal options. Chances are that they're using their mobile phones to navigate restaurant options near them. Why not use text messages to drive them to your physical premises?

Here are the main ways restaurants are using SMS to market their business.

  1. To promote new menu items: if you're launching a new dish, the best way to create buzz around it is by running advertisements on multiple platforms. You can send out a promotional SMS accompanied by irresistible deals. You could even find out how receptive your customers are to the new dish by creating a survey.
  2. Enhance customer loyalty: to ensure customers keep coming back to your restaurant; you should send out personalized messages and exclusive deals on their favorite items. You can also use text messages to launch a loyalty program.
  3. To increase brand awareness: by adding your restaurant name on every text message, you position your brand in your consumer's minds. Dont assume that customers know who you are just because they've opted into your SMS program. There's a high chance they are on multiple SMS lists. 
  4. For bookings and cancellations: you can use text messages to reduce the number of cancellations and no-shows by sending SMS reminders before their reservations.
  5. Promoting new restaurants: if you're planning on opening a new branch, you should consider your contact list as an asset. Send them text messages about your new restaurant and offer exclusive discounts to the first customers. This will hype up the new location, increasing its foot traffic. 
  6. Create polls: how satisfied are your customers with your dishes and services? Create a feedback survey and then use the answers to improve your services. 
  7. Internal operations: text messages are not only limited to marketing and advertising. You can also use them to communicate with members of your staff, e.g., sending alerts on staff rostering. 

Best Practices for SMS Marketing for Restaurants

To ensure your SMS marketing strategy is successful;

  • Always include a call to action in your messages. Dont assume that your customers will automatically know the kind of action you need them to take.
  • Segment your customer lists to avoid sending irrelevant messages.
  • Don't overwhelm your customers with a lot of text messages. Only send SMS when you have important information to convey to them. 
  • Keep the messages short and personalized. Make them worth your customers' time. 
  • Give your customers an option to opt-out. 
  • Use SMS marketing tools to automate your texts and track your results.
  • Timing is everything. Only send the texts when you're certain your customers will see them. 

Implement Your SMS Marketing Strategy Today!

Text messages are a powerful restaurant marketing tool. They help you interact with your consumers through a channel they're highly comfortable with and have a great return on investment. SMS also guarantees instant delivery, adds a personal touch to your advertisements, and enhances customer loyalty. 

If you are looking for reliable SMS software to help you automate your campaigns and track your results, we've got you covered. Contact us today to schedule a sales call and enjoy Sendlio's flexible prices. 


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