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6 SMS Marketing Ideas for Your Restaurant

SMS Marketing for Restaurants

The UK’s thriving eating-out market is worth over £40 Billion and all the evidence indicates this is only set to increase. However, along with increased spending, there has also been a huge shift in the way customers interact with eateries, meaning that it is not just the food that matters, but also the customer service. SMS Marketing is an excellent way for restaurants to reach both new and existing customers to keep people coming through the door and filling tables. In this article, we look at some ways restaurants can use SMS Marketing to their advantage.

A bird in the hand

‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’, or so the saying goes. If it is true, then an SMS message is certainly that bird. No other electronic medium allows you to place a message literally into the palm of a customer’s hand, no matter where they might be and what they might be doing. The UK population is absolutely addicted to their mobile phones and have them on their person almost all the time, whether at work or play. Most people open and respond to SMS messages within a staggering three minutes. With a majority of users now choosing to use mobile devices for browsing, the chances are that customers are viewing the mobile version of your restaurant’s website right now – so why not use this behaviour to your advantage?

Whilst almost every website has an email signup form for prospective customers, few ask customers for a mobile phone number. Provided that express permission is obtained to use a customer’s number for marketing, there is no reason not to begin building an SMS marketing list right away and seeing an instant improvement in open and response rates.

1. What’s cooking?

Assuming they have signed up for SMS Marketing, a great way to attract and entice both new and existing customers to the table is to send them SMS updates whenever new items are added to the menu. With a total of 456 characters to work with, there is plenty of space to get creative – and remember you can also add links to a web page to make sure your customers can fully appreciate your menu.

If you want to get really interactive, why not encourage your customers to make their own menu suggestions. This concept could even be turned into a text contest for maximum impact.

2. Join the club

A great way to increase engagement with your customers is to turn your SMS Marketing list into an exclusive VIP club. Customers love to feel that they are special and this is a great way to cater for this natural human instinct. Let customers have the first chance to sample new menus, or give them special bonus offers such as discounted rates that are not advertised anywhere else.

If you have the infrastructure in place, you could also offer additional bonuses such as express seating and ordering, queue jumping, etc to give your ‘VIPs’ a real celebrity feel.

3. Special offers

SMS Marketing is a great way to make sure customers are up to date with all the latest offers. For example, you might want to identify quiet times when the restaurant is operating under capacity and fill tables with a 2-for-1 offer. Free drinks on midweek bookings are another popular way to increase revenues.

Upgrades to a private space, luxury booth or similar are also great ideas if the premises allows.

If you operate a chain of restaurants, it is a good idea to team up with your sales managers to develop targeted offers that will help to fill empty tables and maximise sales.

4. Special occasions and events

Calendar events such as Christmas and Easter are obvious times to get the word out to your customers, but why not get more creative and come up with your own events to attract customers? From an Italian or Spanish night to a special Day of the Dead menu, there is no end of ideas for novel ways to promote your restaurant. Whatever the event, be sure to get the word out by SMS.

5. SMS bookings

It’s all well and good sending your customers all the latest menus and offers by SMS, but why stop there? Offer them the chance to book a table via SMS to substantially increase the uptake and increase conversions from your SMS Marketing campaign.

To make it as easy as possible, why not use keywords and a short code to let your customer book with a minimum of effort.

Also, make sure you follow up with a booking confirmation, along with a reminder if the booking is made more than a day or two in advance.

6. Ratings and reviews

It is said that return customers are the greatest asset a company can have and the cost per customer is typically somewhat lower than the cost of acquiring new customers. With this in mind, make sure your customers are happy. Offer them the chance to rate their experience through a simple SMS survey – from the meal itself to the atmosphere and service, this is a great way to make sure you are getting things right.

Remember, of course, to listen to customer feedback. If people have comments or suggestions, be sure to acknowledge them and offer your own feedback.

Using SMS to source and action feedback demonstrates a proactive approach to customer care and can help to increase your overall ratings on popular online facilities.

SMS Marketing is a highly effective and low-cost form of marketing that is incredibly versatile and offers exceptional ROI. The only limit is your imagination. Why not put it to the test now with 100 free messages courtesy of us here at Fastsms.

If you’d like to discuss your needs in more detail, we’d be more than happy to connect you with one of our experts. Just call us on 0800 954 5305 – you’ll soon see why we are a firm favourite for business bulk SMS messaging.

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