Reachify Logo

13 Ways to Build a Successful SMS Campaign for Restaurants

restaurant owner texting outside

Studies have shown that texting has a 99% open rate, which essentially means that all the texts restaurant owners send customers are going to be seen.

However, it’s not just about sending messages to people without a proper strategy, that simply doesn’t work! So, how do you do it, what is the best way to build a successful SMS campaign?

Personally, I have received tons of texts from different vendors and restaurants. While some of this text messaging was good enough to make me order a pizza or two (Severally), the others were just not compelling enough or were sent at the wrong time(you have a limited time for certain offers).

Well, to help you avoid the mistakes some of these vendors are making, I have written this detailed guide on how you can use SMS marketing for your restaurants and get optimal results.

So, how can your restaurant benefit from SMS marketing? The answer is simple, SMS marketing has a high return on investment, it is a cheaper method, and can help you build a strong relationship with your customers if well utilized.

Furthermore, we are a generation addicted to our mobile phones. Most of us are permanently glued to them (even more so in this lockdown), and, according to experts, we check our screens, an average of 67 times a day.

Restaurants can capitalize on this dependency and share your offers with people. With that out of the way, let us dive right into the main strategies you can start using.

How to create a Restaurant SMS Campaign

To build a successful campaign, there are strategies you need to implement. There are also mistakes you need to avoid to ensure optimal results for your restaurant. Have a read of things you should and should not do below:

1. Only use text messaging with customers who opt-in to receive your text

It is ideal to build a contact list of willing recipients rather than sending unsolicited text messages (to avoid being hit with a fine), the greatest effectiveness for this is using the ‘offer while dining’ method.

To get people to subscribe to texting from you, you can offer a discount or BOGO (buy one get one free) on your menu, place discount cards on tables or have them printed on the bills.

The strategy down below works like magic and its effectiveness in building your list is great. The offer might be something in this format:

Text ‘DISCOUNTS’ to 55505 to opt-in our service and get 20% off your order.

2. Send Restaurant Discount coupons

30% off restaurant promoSending discount coupons is one of the effective ways to get the best out of your restaurant SMS strategy.  Send your customers a special discount deal they can use when they order from you, your message can be in this format:

You deserve a nice treat! Check out our new menu and order a takeaway this weekend USE the code 86759 to get 30% off on all orders. Order here now

Everyone loves a good discount if your offer is fair your restaurant consumers will order from you.

3. Activate features that send texts after missed calls

With technology ever-evolving, most restaurants now have a modern phone system that sends out a text message when you miss a call. The truth is, you won’t always be there to pick up the phone when your customers call to order for food, however with this feature an automated message will be sent with a link to place an order online, this way you won’t miss out on orders.

Your message can be in this format:

Hi! Thanks for calling. Sorry to miss your call! Check our online menu here {{Website Link}} and place your order. Thanks!

4. Keep your text messaging concise and straightforward

SMS is an acronym for short message service, emphasis on short, when using an SMS you have just 160 characters, so make the best use of it and only include relevant information. Keep your texting brief and concise.

Also try not to send more than one message at a time, maybe two when necessary, but definitely not three, remember less is more.

5. Add an opt-out option

Constantly sending a message to a customer who is not interested in your offer is a waste of money; therefore it is essential to always include an option that allows recipients to opt-out from receiving your messages if they are not interested. This will save you money, and you can dodge the bullet of being fined.

6. Try different SMS offers

You, of course, can’t expect your customers to have the same meal every time. So change your offers, use different swipes, add something new, this trial and error will tell you what works best.

Also, people who are not interested in a particular request might be interested in another; therefore, you should avoid sending the same offer over and over again.

I, for one, would opt-out from receiving text messages from a restaurant that does not bring me reasonable offers.

7. Check spellings and avoid using slangs

When sending out sms messages to your list, it is essential to make sure your texts are error-free.  Also, do not use slang in your text messages; it is not a professional thing for a restaurant to do, furthermore, make sure to spell words in full and avoid unnecessary abbreviations.

8. State Your Name

Your recipients are likely to succumb to your offer if they see a familiar name; hence it is important to add the name of your restaurant in the body of texts, and also make sure the sender ID has your restaurant name, as people are more likely to open the message if it’s from a vendor they know.

9. Always add a call to action

Sending a message to customers without adding a call to action is like casting a hook with no bait. A call to action is like a signpost that lets your potential customers know what to do next.

Always make sure to add a CTA that lets your customers know how to order or book for a table, a simple CLICK HERE TO ORDER or CALL THIS NUMBER will go a long way.

10. Sending the Best Text

Now that you know what to do and not to do, knowing what type of texting to send and when to send them is another important factor to consider when using SMS marketing for your restaurant

SMS Marketing for restaurants is very easy to implement in your success plan. Potential customers think about which food to eat at certain times of the day. More often than not, they do it with their phone in hand. So, why not compel them to choose you with a good texting plan?

11. Texting for satisfaction surveys

groups texting in restaurantSomething that you should not miss is the opportunity to get restaurant polls feedback from your customers. This will also allow you to retain customers by implementing improvements to your service effectively. Sending satisfaction surveys to all customers who have come to the restaurant with SMS Marketing is highly recommended.

The benefits of doing so are many. However, most importantly, it shows commitment and willingness to constantly improve the quality of service, therefore can help build a positive relationship with your customers.

It is also useful since the information obtained from the surveys is objective and comes precisely from the people with the greatest power to comment: your customers. You get to see how well you are performing from their view and improve all those questions that stand out in the answers. To motivate customers to participate in these surveys, you can offer to give a discount to customers who participate.

12. Restaurant Loyalty programs

All restaurants eventually end up creating a catalog of regulars who regularly frequent the establishment (this is good practice). It may be because they like the food, because of the environment, the service, or because the restaurant is close to their place of work or home.

Making an effort to get to know your customers and their motivations will help you create a loyalty program for them.

Through text messages, you can offer them special discounted rates or VIP passes for events or tastings. They will appreciate it even more, and your restaurant will receive free and highly effective advertising thanks to word of mouth.

13. Maintain communication

25% off restaurant promoWhile you should avoid spamming your customers with irrelevant sms messages, it is also important to not be too salesy. Send them birthday wishes (birthdate can be obtained from surveys), send texting in the festive season, you can also use texting to check on them if they have not come around for a long time (don’t overdo this) this will help you build a long time positive relationship with your customers.


By just implementing these 13 simple strategies, you can build a successful SMS campaign for your restaurants and get increased sales, and if SMS is not part of your marketing plan now is the best time to start.

If you are looking for a service that can help you get started in building out your first SMS campaign, Reachify is here to help – request a free demo today:

Share the Post:

Related Posts