SMS Marketing for Restaurants & Bars

SMS marketing is a powerful tool for restaurants, bars and cafes to keep your customers coming back and get new customers. By using SMS marketing, businesses can increase customer loyalty as well as generate more free advertising, either from sharing of text messages by recipients, or via social media. SMS marketing typically has a high ROI if used properly.  In this article, we’ll examine how SMS marketing for restaurants. cafes and bars can help you stay in the minds of your target audience and help grow your business.

Benefits of SMS Text Message Marketing for Restaurants & Bars

Many restaurant chains are using SMS text marketing to drive more customers to their places of business. These include Boston Market, Chili’s, Papa Murphy’s, Olive Garden, Subway, Sonic, Round Table Pizza, Papa Johns, Taco Bell, Dunkin, and many others. There are several benefits of using SMS marketing, and your establishment can also achieve these three key benefits:

Boost Customer Loyalty – Customers are more likely to tell others about their experience if they feel like your restaurant is providing them with special incentives. This also keep them coming back to your establishment, increases viral and word-of-mouth marketing and costs you nothing to generate new traffic.

Increase Sales –  Text messaging by groups allows you to target specific segments of your customer subscribers with specific offers that’ll be more appealing to them. You can use different keywords to attract different types of customers, as in “HAPPY-HOUR”, “LUNCH”, “FAMILY”, “DRINK-SPECIALS”, etc. to reach different types of customers. You can then send out specific messages related to that keyword to that group. Studies show that when a customer signs up for a restaurant’s text messaging program, they tend to spend at least 20% more at that restaurant.

Inexpensive and Easy to Implement – Compared to other marketing methods, SMS marketing is a very affordable way to stay in contact with customers. There are no production costs like in traditional direct mail, print, TV, radio and other methods, and you don’t need to design visual design templates as you would need to with email marketing. Depending on your volume, you can reach customers with extremely high “open” rates for as little as three cents each. As an added benefit, it doesn’t take much time or effort to create an SMS or MMS message. First Choice SMS provides you with the ability to create mobile coupons.

Examples of How to Increase Sales by Using SMS Messaging

To help you better understand the benefits of adding SMS text messaging to your marketing mix, here are some examples of different types of use cases for restaurants, cafes and bars.

Promote Limited Time Offers

Limited time offers, or “flash” deals, are a great way to create a sense of urgency for customers. Plus, since most text messages are read within minutes of being received, this makes sending a text a much more efficient way to drive traffic to your restaurant instead of sending an email. Consider the example on the right where you run a donut shop, and want to catch prospective customers on a Saturday or Sunday morning. This type of offer will be compelling, since it is only for a limited time, an only available to those who receive the text.

Send Out Mobile Coupons

Mobile coupons are a great way to raise awareness of your restaurant and attract new customers. You can send these monthly or seasonally to make your guests feel special. Coupons are a great way to redeem on days when business is typically slow, helping you keep your staff busy and the food moving. You can also do a promotion called “Show Us Your Share”, where you reward your recipients for sharing a screen grab of your coupon on any social media platform. Both the person sharing and the person who shows the shared coupon to you would receive your promotional item.


Share Content with Your Customers

Many successful eateries and bars do well by sharing content with their customers. This has the effect of increasing loyalty with their brand, and can include linking to many types of content, including social media posts, recipes, home party ideas, how to make their favorite drinks at home, employee news, featured articles, website blog posts, and more. The nice thing about this type of SMS marketing, is that it is indirect, meaning there is no immediate asking them to purchase anything. It is an excellent way to increase engagement and loyalty with your customers.

Announce Happy Hour Specials

Many bars, brew pubs and other places that offer happy hour deals rely on using social media to get the word out. But, unfortunately, not everyone sees these posts. They would however, see a text message promoting a special for the week. You can encourage signups to get on your happy hour list by posting “Text HAPPYHOUR to XXX-XXX-XXXX to receive our weekly special and entertainment line-up.” You can then send a reminder on Friday morning to your list.  This makes for a great way to stand out against your competition for the happy hour crowd. 

Promote Holiday Themed Food & Drinks

A restaurant/bar in the Philadelphia PA area creates special holiday themed flights, and promotes them on their social media pages. Imagine being able to take this same concept and send out MMS text messages to your customer list announcing these limited-time flights, or other holiday themed food or drink special. Getting subscribers is as easy as asking your customers to text an appropriate keyword to your SMS number, or creating simple table flyers that have the same opt-in request. You can promote this in conjunction with a weekly app special or event, such as Quizzo, Karaoke, comedy night, or other special event.

Summary & Sample Sign-up Flyer

As you can see from this article, incorporating SMS and MMS text messaging to your business marketing is an excellent way to increase engagement, loyalty and sales, all at a minimal expense. At First Choice SMS, we provide you with an easy to use console, along with the tools you need to build your subscriber list and send out targeted messaging campaigns, without incurring expensive overhead. We can also help you create visually compelling flyers and/or images for your website. Consider checking out the benefits for yourself by contacting your First Choice SMS account rep today.

Let’s discuss how SMS messaging can help grow your business.

PHONE: 215-480-2737