5 Ways to Make Text Message Marketing for Restaurants Sizzle

Text Message Marketing for Restaurants
5 Ways to Make Text Message Marketing for Restaurants Sizzle

Are you ready to turn up the burner on your business? In this guide to text message marketing for restaurants, we'll show you how to do just that.

Restaurants, maybe more than any other industry, have found text message marketing to be fertile ground for harvesting business. Why? Because texts are the surest way to reach customers at the right time: when they're deciding what to eat for their next meal.

90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes after receipt. No other marketing channel will give you that kind of reach and immediacy.

And customers want a good deal.

A recent survey found that nine out of 10 people have looked for a restaurant deal at least once. And 18% said they have looked for online deals while dining in a restaurant.

So, it's easy to see why SMS marketing and restaurants go great together. But how, exactly, do you use text messaging to fill your tables? We'll show you five delicious ideas.

restaurant image

Text Message Marketing for Restaurants: 5 Bottom-Line Boosting Ideas

Whether you're a national chain franchisee or an independent restaurant owner, you can borrow some ideas from other savvy restaurant marketers to grow your customer database and keep the cash register ringing when you need it most.

Here are some of the ways that other pros are using SMS marketing for restaurants.

1. Offer While-Dining Discounts

One out of five people have looked for a discount on their phone while dining. That means that not only are they looking for deals before they decide on a restaurant, they're looking for them after they've walked in your door. This is the perfect place to build your contact list. Offer a BOGO or discount with a sign near the entrance, a card on the tables, a pin on the waiter's shirt, or automatically print them on the bill.

The offer might read: "Text 'DEALS' to 313131 to get 15% off your order."

restaurant texting example

Even if you don't offer an immediate discount during the dining experience, you can have the staff collect phone numbers as customers pay their bills. "Would you like to receive weekly texts with discounts and free offers?"

2. Get Good Reviews

The key to getting good reviews is asking for them at the right time. If you sit back and wait for reviews, you'll get a disproportional amount of negative reviews. So, ask the customer to leave you a review on TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Zagat right after their meal.

Set an automatic reply to go out an hour after someone dines with you. Their bellies are full, and the experience is fresh on their minds.

restaurant texting example

This works particularly well if you've just given them a discount. It's hard not to have a favorable opinion of a restaurant that just gave you $5.

3. Deliver Promotions

Regular promotions are the most effective text messaging strategy for a lot of restaurants. These offers work particularly well when you add new dishes or have a special event like a wine tasting or live music.

And don't forget the holidays. These are fantastic opportunities to have your patrons celebrate at your place, especially if you have a cultural restaurant. A Mexican restaurant might, for instance, do a heavy promotion around Cinco de Mayo.

restaurant texting example

Brian Alvarez, owner of Brian's Place restaurant, successfully fills his slower weekdays with a regular texting campaign. He offers a $5 off coupon for guests that come in midweek. The coupon will require a minimum purchase, so he isn’t losing money on the transactions. The coupons are only available through the texting campaign, which gives customers an incentive to join his VIP program. Read the full case study here.

4. Announce Company News

Text messages are a great way to announce news to your most-valued customers. Let them know when you:

  • Hire a new chef
  • Offer a new dish
  • Open a new location
  • Change your business hours for the season
  • Win an award or recognition
  • Receive a stellar cleanliness rating

restaurant texting example

Don't forget to consider using Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) videos or images to these kinds of great news, relationship-building texts.

5. Gather Customer Preferences

In a recent study, 79% of consumers said they are only likely to engage with a brand using coupons or other offers if those promotions are directly tied to how they have interacted with the brand previously. In other words, don't send the same offer to every one of your customers.

One of the must-have features of a mass text messaging service is text-to-vote polling. Using polls, you can understand what your customers enjoy and segment them into groups based on meal preference.

Once you know what dishes contacts prefer, you can send them offers which will be more personalized and effective. For instance, you can send a text to ice cream lovers which reads, text us your favorite flavors or you could send a text to burger fans which reads:

restaurant texting example

Take Your Restaurant to the Next Level with Text Message Marketing

Now that you have some ideas about how to use text message marketing for your restaurant, it's time to take the next step. You may want to learn a little more about text marketing before you begin looking for service providers. If so, our free download Text Message Marketing Playbook for Restaurants is for you. In the guide, you'll learn how to:

Grow Your Contact List Increase Engagement Create Successful Text Marketing Campaigns


Or, you may be ready to give a bulk text marketing service a test run. Our sign-up to send process is super-simple and often takes less than five minutes. Start a free trial today, and you'll see why over 165,000 businesses (including a lot of restaurants) have trusted EZ Texting to deliver effective text marketing.


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