SMS Marketing for Restaurants

Mass SMS Marketing

Text message marketing for restaurants is perhaps the most effective strategy for engaging customers and boosting sales. EZ Texting provides restauranteurs, café owners, and those in the food service industry with a convenient, easy-to-use texting platform.

Texting enables you to connect with customers about new dishes and restaurant news, leverage keywords to expand your contacts, and even confirm reservation times.

Check out why texting is so effective for restaurants and how it can work for you.

The Two Types of Text Messages and Why They’re So Effective

There are two types of text messages, and you likely already use them both quite frequently:

  1. SMS – This stands for Short Message Service and refers to a text-only message. You probably have sent plenty of these in the past. In the restaurant industry, a text-only message may work best when sending out simple information like dates and times.
  2. MMS – A Multimedia Message Service is a text that uses an attachment, such as a picture or a sound file. You can also include text with an MMS. A picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than simply describe a new menu item, send a picture of it get customers’ mouths watering.

For the purposes of showing how SMS marketing can increase restaurants’ profits, texts will be referred to interchangeably as SMS or MMS.

But why are they so effective? What is it that makes them convenient for customers and businesses? Consider the following statistics:

Texting is affordable, convenient, effective, and what your customers want you to use. What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

How Restaurants Can Use Texting to Increase Average Check Values

Promotions: Got a new dish? Or maybe you have a buy one/get one special to announce? No matter what you want to promote, texting can help you do it quickly and cheaply.

Company News: Was your new executive chef just voted the winner of cooking reality show America’s Next Top Junior Model Chef? Are you opening a new downtown location? Keep your customers engaged via texting, rather than chancing it with an email that could be deleted before being read or even blocked by a spam filter.

Restaurant Opening: Opening a new location? Make your restaurant opening SMS memorable with dates, times, addresses, and parking tips. If feasible, make it an MMS with your signature dishes to really get customers’ mouths watering!

Customer Satisfaction: Yes, you can even use texting just to make your customers smile. EZ Texting provides restaurant owners with the ability to set up recurring texts for birthdays, holidays greetings, and also just to say hello. You can also use the platform to text out reservation confirmations and other info, all of which positively affect customers’ likelihood of choosing your restaurant over the one next door.

How to Start Marketing Your Restaurant with Texting

Your first step is to find a bulk text messaging platform that has all the tools you’ll need for basic texting, as well as some features that you can leverage once you start getting more comfortable with the process. You can join EZ Texting for free, and like all of EZ Texting’s plans, you can change your plan at any time.

Next, you’ll need contacts. Perhaps you’ve collected customer information before; you can upload this information info EZ Texting using an excel sheet or a CSV file (comma separated value). At a minimum, you’ll need your customers’ first name, last name, and mobile phone number.

To summarize, here is your restaurant marketing checklist: 

  1. Select a bulk texting platform with the features you need and grow to use
  2. Put your contacts into a spreadsheet or CSV file and upload to the database
  3. Begin crafting your message and schedule it for delivery

Don’t Have Many Contacts? Here’s How to Fix That

EZ Texting uses six-digit short codes instead of standard 10-digit numbers for when contacts text in. These codes are shared, meaning both Tony’s Pizza and Timmy’s Pizza will use 313131 as the number customers will use to text. So how does EZ Texting insure that all texts from customers going to Tony don’t end up in Timmy’s inbox?

Keywords! Keywords are two to 12-character phrases (a character is a letter, number, or punctuation mark) that companies can buy to help gain new customers and engage existing ones. All EZ Texting customers are provided with one free keyword.

Ideally, keywords should be used to solve a business challenges (such as slow sales or gaining contacts). No two companies can own the same keyword, and keywords are what ensure that messages sent to Tony’s Pizza are delivered only to Tony.

For example, let’s assume sales are down and Tony wants to get new customers. He should leverage a keyword to solve that business challenge, using a message like: “Text PizzaDeal20 to 313131 to get 20% off your bill this weekend.” This message could be advertised on:

  • Social media platforms
  • Billboards
  • TV/radio, etc.

When customers text in, Tony can capture their information to be used in future marketing efforts. Also, because companies can’t share keywords, PizzaDeal20 is unique to Tony, and no texts meant for him will end up with Timmy. Tony can even set up an auto-response that thanks texters and provides the 20% off code.

Got more questions about how to use a bulk text messaging platform and how its features can best be used to increase sales and solve business challenges? Call our client success managers any time at (800) 753-5732. They can tell you exactly what you need to know to generate engagement and raise brand awareness for your restaurant!

Measuring Effectiveness of Keywords and Campaigns

All the clever restaurant SMS marketing ideas in the world don’t matter if you don’t have a way to measure their effectiveness. Fortunately, EZ Texting comes with numerous reporting tools that can track what you’ve sent out, identify your best sources of new contacts, and measure how customers are interacting with your messages. This data is shown through easy-to-read line graphs and can even be exported.

Below is a small sample of the features that EZ Texting’s reporting tools offer:

  1. Added contacts and opt-outs: These tools help you track when people are joining your lists; you can select time periods to uncover trends in your marketing.
  2. Contact sources: Is social media a better source of contacts than billboards? TV or radio? This pie chart will help you break it down.
  3. Keyword activity: What keywords are customers texting in most? What times of the day are they most active? Find your answers here.

How to Maintain Compliance in Your Marketing

Texting a contact without having their permission first is considered spam, which may have legal ramifications, so you’ll have to include the following information in your texts:

  1. Clear opt-out instructions (such as ‘reply 3 to opt out’)
  2. A reasonable expectation of your texting volume (such as ‘you’ll receive a maximum of five messages per month)
  3. Language stating you’ll only text with relevant restaurant information

There are additional laws you need to follow, but these are perhaps the biggest ones. To ensure you stay compliant and have happy customers, contact EZ Texting’s Client Success Managers at (800) 753-5732 to learn more.

See How Restaurants Have Found Success with EZ Texting

The above is a blueprint for how text messaging can drive results in the restaurant industry. But does it really work when put into practice? Check out these SMS marketing case studies to see the results for yourself:

Couch Tomato Café: The Couch Tomato Cafe is a family-style restaurant in Philadelphia, PA. Unsure of whether text message marketing would work for them, they tested EZ Texting’s platform with a single, seven-day promotion. See how EZ Texting helped deliver a spike in Friday night orders! Read the case study.

Domino´s Pizza: A local Domino’s franchise catering to the students of UNC-Charlotte wanted to boost sales. Discover how advertising a keyword during a school basketball game, along with the announcement of a Facebook widget, led to a big increase in same-day sales and a growth of their contacts list. Read the case study.

Let´s Eat!: Let’s Eat! is a meal assembly store based in Atlanta, GA that offers pre-prepped meals and in-store food options as well. See how Let’s Eat! leveraged EZ Texting to text out specials, improve store operations, and offer promotions to customers. Read the case study.

Need Ideas for Your Campaign? Check Out These Sample Restaurant Promotion SMS

Texting is a great tool, but you need to know how to use it in a way that resonates with customers. See some effective samples below:

  • “Join us on Tuesdays in January for 10% off your check!”
  • “Text CustomerLove to 313131 to get news and promos.” •
  • “Attention pasta-farians: try our new spaghetti dish!” – Include an image with this one to really grab customers’ attention!

Read this blog to learn more about how to engage customers and boost average check values!

See how bulk texting can help your eatery out. Try SMS marketing for restaurants for free! Call us at (800) 753-5732, or set your account up here!