How Restaurants Use Text Messaging to Engage Customers

Alexa Lemzy February 21, 2017
how restaurants use text messaging

Did you know that 81% of consumers search for restaurants on their mobile devices? If you’re wondering how effective restaurant SMS marketing is, just take a look around your venue. Mobile devices are everywhere. People use their smartphones to decide where to eat, what to eat, and who to eat with. Some people are so intertwined with their phones that they will browse their social networks while eating.

This means that SMS marketing for restaurants represents the perfect channel for reaching out to customers. Interestingly enough, compared with other industries, bars and restaurants have been slow to adopt text marketing.

Many restaurant owners have turned something as bland as their restaurant tables into a marketing opportunity, by covering tablecloths with ads that promote their opt-in SMS marketing campaign. But this is only one idea out of many. Let’s find out how you can use restaurant mobile marketing to generate a ton of business for your venue.

How Can Your Restaurant Use the TextMagic SMS Platform?

SMS marketing for restaurants is simple. Think about it for a second. Potential customers are bound to be thinking about food at certain times of the day. Chances are that they will do so, phone in hand. Why not entice them to opt in with a special deal, discount or offer?

Here are a few ideas for your restaurant SMS marketing campaign:

  • Brand awareness and promotion. Promote your brand with short and sweet SMS offers. Use SMS short codes for redeemable prizes. Never assume that your customers know who you are! Add your brand name and website at the end of every text.
  • A database of customers. Print keywords and short codes on table-wraps or flyers to encourage opt-ins. Send relevant and timely texts to transform casual diners into loyal ones.
  • Scheduled texts for booking reminders and cancellations. You can significantly decrease the number of ‘no-shows’ by sending automated text messages with appointment and booking reminders.
  • Promote your menu and new dishes. What better way to let people know about your tasty new dishes than by sending them a text with an irresistible deal? Send regular updates to your customers and become the talk of the town.
  • Attract new customers with exclusive deals. Exclusive restaurant offers, 1+1 meals, student deals, monthly contests, vouchers and coupons work extremely well with restaurant SMS marketing. Use them to attract new customers. Make sure you segment your subscriber list to promote the right deal to the right audience.
  • Staff rostering. You can also use SMS for internal operations. Send mobile alerts every week to inform staff members of work schedules and last-minute changes.
  • Send SMS blasts. TextMagic enables you to send hundreds of mobile alerts in a matter of minutes with its bulk SMS feature. Schedule your texts to be sent at a time when they will have the biggest impact. Use these features to promote events and deals.
  • Create polls. One of the best ways to boost customer engagement is by creating SMS polls. Use the information you collect to plan your next mobile marketing campaign.

Key Benefits of Text Marketing for Your Restaurant

SMS marketing for restaurants makes a lot of sense. There are many benefits to this strategy that you should consider, including good ROI, low price, convenience and effectiveness. An enticing text with an SMS short code, sent at the right time, can attract hundreds of customers. Automated texts with appointment reminders can save you a lot of hard-earned money.

Here are the key benefits of text marketing for restaurants:

  • Convenient event-based SMS marketing. Streamline your SMS marketing campaign with the TextMagic software. Set up scheduled text messages ahead of time according to your calendar and upcoming events.
  • Instant success. The restaurant industry is a quick-moving business. People don’t think too much about what they’re buying when their stomach is growling. Catching them at the right time can significantly boost sales.
  • Great return on investment (ROI). After spending $1 on an SMS campaign, Papa John saw a return of over $14. Combine enticing half-price deals with witty texts. Send them at the right time and you may obtain even better ROI.
  • Cost-effective. Appointment reminder software will help you significantly reduce the number of no-shows. SMS marketing for restaurants is also cheaper than printed ads and flyers.
  • Customer royalty and return visits. Creating a customer loyalty club with hot deals will encourage people to become repeat customers, especially if the deals are exclusive to your restaurant SMS marketing list.
  • The perfect fit. Direct marketing through SMS is a viable strategy for most businesses, but it’s particularly effective for restaurants. Customer relations can be strengthened, in time, with the help of restaurant mobile marketing.
  • Great reach. SMS marketing for cafes and restaurants is more effective than other forms of marketing. Roughly 98% of people will read a text, but only 20% will open an email. Consequently, SMS performs four to five times better than other forms of advertising.

How Other Restaurants & Cafes Are Using Our SMS Services

Case Study: Beit HaMadras
Beit HaMadras logo

Beit HaMadras offers exquisite and unique Indian meals in beautiful surroundings. To better serve its customers and reduce overheads, the company wanted to implement an immediate communication channel. TextMagic helps Beit HaMadras send booking confirmations, copy-protected discounts and offers via SMS.

The tool has helped tremendously with the branding of the restaurant. Thanks to TextMagic, Beit HaMadras has improved its customer service and streamlined internal operations.

Read the full case-study here: Beit HaMadras

Useful SMS Templates for Restaurants

1. Diner Coupon

DAILY DINER COUPON – Present this SMS for a free smoothie or coffee with any purchase. Cheers, *restaurant name*

2. Dinner Confirmation

You have a reservation scheduled for today, at 6pm. Please reply to this text to confirm. Cheers, *restaurant name*

3. Only for Students

Longing for your mom’s amazing dishes? We promise ours are almost as tasty! Enjoy lunch at *restaurant name* between 12pm and 2pm and benefit from a 25% discount.

SPECIAL MENUS FOR STUDENTS. Visit to view our special offers. Redeem them Monday to Friday from 12pm to 2pm.

4. Weekly Specials

Indian chef special: coriander chutney and dal makhani at discounted prices. Too tasty to share! Grab yours for 20% off only at *restaurant name*.

5. Limited-Time Discounts

Only until 6pm: Buy two pizzas before 6pm and get a third one for free. Only at *restaurant name*. Visit *site name* for more amazing offers.

6. Restaurant Polls

*Restaurant name* What’s your favorite dish?

A. dish 1

B. dish 2

C. dish 3

Submit your vote by Sunday and win a $20 coupon.

7. Sweepstakes

Fill out our customer survey at and win a free dinner for two. Winners will be notified on 12/12/2016. Good luck, *restaurant name*

8. Events

*restaurant name* – Come down for some soft blues on Friday between 6pm and 9pm. First drink’s on us! Show this SMS to redeem your prize.

Alexa Lemzy


Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.

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