October 17, 2023
Lauren Platero

13 Restaurant SMS Marketing Ideas for Optimal Success

Need ideas to elevate your restaurant marketing efforts? If so, you’ve stumbled across the perfect blog post! Restaurant SMS marketing is one of the best initiatives you can add to a restaurant business plan. It’s simple, inexpensive, boasts a high conversion rate, and speaks to your ideal customer profile directly. As a marketer or business owner, what more could you ask for?

This post will serve as much more than a guide for restaurant SMS marketing ideas. We’ll also break down the power of converting a restaurant email list into SMS subscribers. But then, we’ll discuss how SMS marketing differs from restaurant email marketing, too. There’s a lot to cover; so, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

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The Power of Building a Restaurant SMS Marketing List

All successful restaurant marketing strategies involve contact with the clientele. So, just imagine a method where past and potential customers receive texts directly from the brand. With restaurant SMS marketing, it’s easier than ever to convert readers into customers. You just need to build a subscriber list!

Establishing an engaged SMS subscriber list might seem more daunting than it is. However, there are many ways to do so. Begin by giving customers an incentive to sign-up. From the ability to earn double the points in the restaurant loyalty program to exclusive discounts, there are many options. Also, be sure to leverage your current email list if you have one.

Simply send out brief surveys asking your email subscribers if they'd like to opt into SMS alerts. Make the survey accessible upon opening the email. This way, it's a simple and fast process to sign-up.

Online ordering services will also be an easy way to retrieve mobile numbers. Adding a phone number to the checkout page under billing information is a requirement. So, just add a checkbox that defaults to checked above the "place order" button. That way, you receive permission to send alerts with most transactions.

 Once you have a substantial number of subscribers on your list, it's time to start sending out alerts. Soon after, you'll reap the many benefits of such marketing efforts.

How Restaurant SMS Marketing Is Different From Restaurant Email Marketing

One thing is for certain - an email marketing strategy can be extremely effective when promoting a business. However, SMS marketing for restaurants tends to have a much quicker and larger conversion rate. In fact, one report states that open rates for SMS marketing campaigns can be upward of 99 percent. This figure is massive, especially considering that email open rates average at around 30 percent. 

It’s also important to note that despite such major differences in the success rates between email vs. SMS, it’s much easier to create SMS alerts. Not only do they contain fewer multimedia elements, but they’re significantly short. While email campaigns include photos, buttons, and color palettes, SMS alerts are much simpler. With just a brief message and a link, texts can be much more effective. 

Since the debate between SMS marketing vs email marketing is bound to continue, it’s not a bad idea to have a mix of both. For one, it’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket. Plus, what works for one business may differ for another. So, if you’re feeling super indecisive, try a little of both and see what works best for your business.

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13 Effective Restaurant SMS Marketing Ideas

There are many SMS restaurant marketing samples to add to your sequences. Sometimes, it might even be hard to narrow down your choices! This is primarily because SMS marketing efforts are simple and straightforward. So, it’s feasible to do more with less. Plus, it’s not as time-consuming and labor intensive like graphic design or other marketing efforts. 

Use the following list for inspiration when building all future restaurant SMS marketing campaigns:

  1. Exclusive promotional offers and discount codes that expire soon.
  2. Reminders of which online ordering apps the restaurants are available on. 
  3. Weekly lunch, dinner, and drink specials, encouraging people to stop by. 
  4. Event management and catering services for all types of special events. 
  5. Links to sign-up for the restaurant's customer rewards program.
  6. Reminders to book restaurant reservations in the weeks leading up to holidays.
  7. Quick messages about new and exciting items on the menu types
  8. Special tasting events before items are officially added to the menus. 
  9.  Links to brief feedback surveys to collect customer reviews
  10. Alerts about early-bird specials to fill the restaurant seating chart during early shifts. 
  11. Exclusive birthday promotions on the customer's special day. 
  12. Refer-a-friend affiliate promotion to reward customers for sharing the love. 
  13. Images featuring user-generated content to influence people to visit.

Some of these ideas may be ideal for your restaurant business, while others not so much. Start by using some of the ones that are most suitable for your eatery as a trial. Then, adjust your strategy based on what’s proven to work. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant SMS Marketing

Restaurant SMS marketing is one of the most powerful yet convenient marketing tools of all time. If it’s not already a major part of your overall marketing strategy, what are you waiting for? It’s the perfect combination of cost-effective campaigns, low-effort designs, and steady results. As a business professional, there’s not much more you can hope for in promotional efforts.

Still want to read up on the topic of restaurant SMS marketing? No worries! Check out the FAQ section below for extra information.

What Is Restaurant SMS Marketing?

Restaurant SMS marketing is the practice of sending consumers text alerts about your eatery. They can consist of anything from dinner deals to the rewards program. SMS campaigns are short and sweet, making them one of the most convenient marketing tactics a restaurant can implement.

Does SMS Marketing Still Work?

Yes, SMS marketing still works. In fact, it has a much higher success rate than email marketing strategies. On average, you can expect SMS marketing campaigns to result in a 45 percent conversion rate. More importantly, open rates can be as high as 98 percent. After all, you’re sending consumers text messages. They are rarely left unread, making SMS marketing a great tactic.

Is Restaurant SMS Marketing a Good Idea?

Yes, restaurant SMS marketing is a great idea to promote an eatery to the public. For one, it’s extremely simple to set up. With this in mind, SMS marketing is probably the one tactic that requires the most minimal amount of creativity. Last, but certainly not least, text messages are rarely ignored. This means that your SMS campaigns are bound to have high open and conversion rates.

Is Cold SMS Marketing Illegal?

Yes, cold texting consumers is illegal activity. This is because a company must obtain consent from the recipients before sending messages. If not, all communications will be unsolicited according to the law. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires all businesses to get an opt-in from consumers before texting them. More often than not, this comes in the form of a checkbox upon making a purchase or signing up for something.

Is SMS Marketing Easy to Set Up?

Yes, setting up SMS marketing campaigns is fairly easy. You’ll need to start by creating an account with an SMS marketing platform. Typically, platforms that offer email marketing services also allow you to build SMS campaigns. Then, after you input a subscriber list, it’s time to start building messaging campaigns. Since SMS alerts don’t include too many visuals, they should be fairly quick to create. Just include catchy written copy with a relevant link, and you’re set!

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Restaurant SMS Marketing: Send the Most Direct Campaigns

Businesses can’t be more direct with their customer base than when they send text messages. Due to the ease and flexibility of creating these alerts, it’s just as easy to maintain as it is effective! Considering how everyone seems to have their mobile device with them these days, it’s never a bad idea to implement restaurant SMS marketing within an eatery’s business plan.