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How To Market Your Restaurant with SMS

How to adopt a true SMS GTM strategy in the hospitality industry.

Text message marketing delivers higher open rates of 98% and click-through rates of 30%, compared to just under 20% and 2.5% for email. 75% of Americans check their phones within the first five minutes of receiving a notification, compared to just 19% of email users. Opening an email can be seen as a more tedious and time-consuming task compared to the straightforward, personalized nature of reading a text message.

Living in an attention economy forces businesses to develop new, innovative ways to win customers’ attention and loyalty. Many brands have found a solution to this problem by adopting an SMS strategy in their marketing plans. SMS marketing humanizes the relationship between the customer and brand by providing a unique communication method in a world where email blasts can be interpreted as “spammy” or inauthentic.

When it comes to the restaurant industry, hospitality can make or break a customer’s experience, which is why implementing SMS marketing into your strategy is a no-brainer.

Below are some ways to integrate SMS into your marketing plans:

Sit-down dining:

  • Make it easy for your customers to book a table through SMS. Whether they are new to your subscriber base or a part of a segmented list of customers based on specific demographics (such as age, location, or order history), sending an SMS campaign inviting customers to book a reservation can increase foot traffic at your business. This simplifies the process for diners and is an organic way to put your business at the forefront of their minds while making upcoming plans to dine out. Pro tip: the holiday season is approaching, and your customers will likely be making reservations or placing orders for special occasions. Keep them in the loop with deadlines to place orders or reserve a table to avoid complaints from customers.
  • Encourage your customers to take advantage of your special deals with a call to action to book a table during Happy Hour or brunch, along with new updates to the menu including seasonal changes and offerings.

Fast casual dining:

  • Use SMS to keep your customers informed about their upcoming orders. There’s not much more frustrating for a customer who is expecting their order to be ready at a certain time, only to be misled about the status, leaving the customer more aggravated than they would be if they were simply given a heads up. Keeping them in the loop with updated times or any unforeseen delays they should be aware of.
  • Remind your customers of special perks available in your mobile app. Send a message with a link to download the app and offer a first-time discount code, including the opportunity to sign up for a Rewards Program.
  • Drive customer loyalty with personalized offers based on purchase history and order preference. For example, leverage zero-party data collection by asking your customers via SMS about their dietary preferences. Then, leverage the segmentation feature to reach out to customers who have ordered vegetarian and/or vegan dishes in the past when you have a new plant-based meal on the menu. If there’s a seasonal item on the menu that you’re looking to promote before it’s taken off the menu, you can send a message creating urgency around trying the item before it’s no longer available.
  • Invite your customers back for another experience. Once a customer has signed up for your messaging list and made their first visit to your restaurant, make sure to reach out to inquire about their experience. Nearly nine out of ten (88%) of consumers worldwide consult reviews when discovering a new business, making the review process a crucial part of your business model. Request your customers to leave a review and offer an incentive, like a discount on their next order. Pro tip: make sure you have your customers’ birthday information: this is a simple, yet impactful way to drive customer loyalty by inviting them back for a birthday celebration with a discount or free dessert with purchase.

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