The Ultimate Guide to Boosting Restaurant Sales with Text Message Marketing​

In today’s digital age, where consumers are constantly bombarded with information from various channels, it has become increasingly challenging for restaurants to capture and maintain the attention of their target audience. However, with the rise of mobile usage, text message marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for restaurants to engage with their customers, drive foot traffic, and increase revenue. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of text message marketing for restaurants and how it can benefit your business.

One of the best solutions for legally compliant text message marketing is iVision Mobile, which offers a robust platform that adheres to all necessary regulations.

Restaurant SMS Marketing

Why Text Message Marketing for Restaurants?

Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, has several advantages that make it an effective strategy for restaurants. Firstly, it offers a direct and immediate way to communicate with your customers. Research has shown that 98% of text messages are read, with 90% being read within the first three minutes of delivery. This high open rate ensures that your messages have a greater chance of being seen and acted upon by your target audience.

Another advantage of text message marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to traditional marketing channels like print ads or TV commercials, sending text messages is relatively inexpensive. This makes it a viable option for restaurants with limited marketing budgets.

Furthermore, text message marketing allows for personalized and targeted messaging. By collecting customer data and segmenting your audience, you can send tailored messages that resonate with specific groups of customers. This level of personalization helps to create a more meaningful connection with your audience and increases the likelihood of customer engagement and action.

Your customer likely already has their phone out to scan a QR code menu, snap an insta of their excellent food or text their friends, so take advantage of that to turn them into repeat customers via text messages or via loyalty or kiosk solutions for restaurants.

Building Your Subscriber List

Before you can start implementing text message marketing for your restaurant, you need to build a subscriber list. This list will consist of customers who have opted in to receive text messages from your business. There are several methods you can use to grow your subscriber list:

  • Keyword Opt-Ins: Encourage customers to opt in by texting a specific keyword to a designated shortcode or long code. For example, you can promote a keyword like “PIZZA” and ask customers to text it to a number to receive exclusive offers and updates.
  • Online Sign-Up Forms: Embed sign-up forms on your website or landing pages where customers can enter their phone numbers to join your text message list. Make sure to clearly communicate the benefits of signing up, such as special discounts or insider information.
  • In-Store Sign-Ups: Place signage in your physical location, such as table tents or posters, inviting customers to text a keyword to join your text message list. You can offer an incentive, such as a free appetizer or a discount, to encourage sign-ups. A poster with a QR code that leads to a text messaging sign-up could be helpful.
  • Social Media Promotions: Leverage your social media presence to promote your text message list. Encourage followers to text a keyword to a designated number to receive exclusive offers or to stay updated on your latest promotions.

Remember to always obtain explicit consent from customers before adding them to your text message list and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, such as obtaining proper consent and providing opt-out options.

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Crafting Effective Campaigns

Once you have built your subscriber list, it’s time to start creating and executing text message campaigns that drive engagement and revenue. Here are some key elements to consider when crafting your campaigns:

  • Clear Call-to-Action: Every text message should have a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA) that prompts the recipient to take action. Whether it’s visiting your restaurant, redeeming a coupon, or making a reservation, make sure the desired action is communicated effectively.
  • Timing and Frequency: Consider the timing and frequency of your text messages to maximize their impact. Avoid sending messages too frequently, as it may lead to customer annoyance and opt-outs. Similarly, be mindful of the timing of your messages, ensuring they are sent at appropriate times to avoid inconveniencing your customers.
  • Personalization: Use the data you have collected from your subscribers to personalize your messages. Address recipients by their name and tailor the content to their preferences or past interactions with your restaurant. Personalization creates a more meaningful connection and increases the likelihood of engagement.
  • Offers and Incentives: One effective way to drive customer action through text message marketing is by offering exclusive discounts, promotions, or incentives. This can include limited-time offers, buy-one-get-one deals, or special menu items. Make sure to clearly communicate the value of the offer and any limitations or expiration dates.
  • Segmentation: Segment your subscriber list based on various criteria, such as interests, demographics, or past purchase behavior. This allows you to send targeted messages to specific segments, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of your campaigns. For example, you can create segments for frequent customers, new customers, or customers who have shown interest in specific menu items.
  • Automated Messages: Take advantage of automated messages, such as welcome messages, birthday greetings, or anniversary offers, to engage with your customers on important occasions. These automated messages can be set up in advance and triggered based on specific events or dates.
  • Tracking and Analytics: Monitor the performance of your text message campaigns by tracking key metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Use this data to refine and optimize your future campaigns for better results.

Best Practices for Restaurants Text Message Marketing

To ensure the success of your text message marketing efforts, it’s important to follow best practices and guidelines. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Obtain Proper Consent: Always obtain explicit consent from customers before adding them to your text message list. This can be done through opt-in mechanisms like keyword opt-ins or online sign-up forms.
  • Provide Clear Opt-Out Options: Give subscribers an easy way to opt out of receiving text messages. Include clear instructions on how to unsubscribe in every message and honor unsubscribe requests promptly.
  • Keep Messages Concise: Text messages have character limitations, so it’s important to keep your messages concise and to the point. Focus on the most important information and use clear language.
  • Avoid Spamming: Be mindful of the frequency of your messages and avoid sending excessive or irrelevant content. Respect your subscribers’ time and attention by sending messages that are valuable and relevant to them.
  • Test and Optimize: Continuously test different elements of your text message campaigns, such as timing, offers, and CTAs. Analyze the results and make data-driven optimizations to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
  • Integrate with Other Marketing Channels: Text message marketing can be even more powerful when integrated with other marketing channels. Coordinate your messaging across channels to create a cohesive and impactful customer experience.

Measuring the Success of Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Measuring the success of your SMS marketing campaign is crucial in determining its effectiveness and making informed decisions for future campaigns. Key metrics to consider include:

  • Open Rate: One of the key metrics to measure the success of an SMS marketing campaign is the open rate. By tracking the percentage of recipients who opened the SMS message, you can gauge the effectiveness of your campaign in capturing attention. For example, if you sent the SMS to 1,000 recipients and 500 of them opened it, your open rate would be 50%.
  • Click-through Rate: If your SMS campaign includes links to a website or a specific landing page, tracking the CTR can provide insights into the engagement levels of your audience. By analyzing the percentage of recipients who clicked on the links, you can measure the effectiveness of your SMS in driving traffic and conversions. For instance, if 100 recipients clicked on the link out of 500 who opened the SMS, your CTR would be 20%.
  • Redemption Rate: The ultimate goal of an SMS marketing campaign is to drive conversions. Whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a service, or completing a form, tracking the redemption rate is crucial in determining the effectiveness of your campaign. For example, if 20 recipients out of 100 who clicked on the link ended up making a purchase, your conversion rate would be 20%.
  • Response rate: In addition to tracking opens, clicks, and conversions, monitoring the response rate can provide valuable insights into the engagement and effectiveness of your SMS campaign. This could include the number of recipients who replied to the SMS, engaged in a conversation, or took a specific action requested in the message. For example, if 50 recipients out of 500 who opened the SMS replied to it, your response rate would be 10%.

Compliance and Legal Considerations

When engaging in text message marketing, it’s crucial to comply with relevant laws and regulations to protect the privacy and rights of your subscribers. Here are some compliance and legal considerations to keep in mind:

  • Obtain Proper Consent: As mentioned earlier, always obtain explicit consent from customers before adding them to your text message list. Clearly communicate the purpose and frequency of the messages, and provide opt-out instructions.
  • Unsubscribe Mechanism: Include clear instructions on how subscribers can opt out of receiving text messages, and promptly honor unsubscribe requests.
  • Data Protection: Safeguard the personal information of your subscribers and ensure that it is stored securely. Implement appropriate security measures to protect against data breaches.
  • TCPA Compliance: Familiarize yourself with the regulations outlined in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States, as well as similar laws in other countries, to ensure compliance.
  • CAN-SPAM Act: If you are sending text messages that include commercial content, familiarize yourself with the requirements outlined in the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, which governs commercial email and text message communications.

It’s advisable to consult with legal professionals or experts in text message marketing compliance to ensure that your campaigns adhere to all relevant regulations.

Samples of Text Message Marketing for Restaurants


Promotional SMS Campaigns

Campaigns usually revolve around just one impactful message. So, bear in mind not to bombard customers with a flurry of texts.

[Restaurant]: Hey, [Customer]! Only for today, all our restaurants are giving [X] at a [%] off. Text STOP to opt-out.

[Restaurant]: Special Offer! Get a [X] for free with every [Y] purchase. Offer valid until [date]. Text STOP to opt-out.

Restaurant Takeaway SMS Message

[Restaurant]: How about a cozy evening at home, [name]? We offer a [%] discount on takeaways today! Text STOP to opt-out.

[Restaurant]: Enjoy a fabulous family weekend! Buy a family-sized [product], and we throw in a kid’s meal for free! Text STOP to opt-out.

Holiday & Happy Hour Themed SMS Message

Holidays are perfect to engage and re-engage customers with delightful discounts and seasonal greetings. Here are some inspirations:

[Brand]: Take a breather this Black Friday. Enjoy a buy 1 get 1 free on [product] at our place. Text STOP to opt-out.

[Brand]: In a last-minute gift crisis? How about a gift card from us for a fellow food lover! Text STOP to opt-out.

[Brand]: Leave the cooking to us this Christmas! Order online for a [%] off, and we will deliver it right to your doorstep. [URL]

[Brand]: Happy Hour Alert! All in-restaurant orders receive a [%] discount from [start time] to [end time]. Text STOP to opt-out.

Feedback Request SMS Messages

Feedback from customers is the lifeline for businesses, and it’s no different for restaurants. Here’s how you can request it:

[Brand]: Hi [Name], we hope you had a pleasant experience with us. Share your thoughts at [URL]. Thanks!

[Brand]: How was your visit, [name]? Your feedback means a lot to us. Please share at [URL]. Thanks!

Opening Day Messages

Launch day is critical for a restaurant, and you want to garner as much attention as possible. Here’s how:

[Brand]: The countdown is on! We’re opening on [date] at [address]. Join us for an unforgettable culinary experience. Text STOP to opt-out.

[Brand]: It’s official! Our restaurant at [address] opens its doors on [date]. Show this SMS and get [%] off!

From: 55678

Hey, [Customer]! Only for today, all our restaurants are giving [X] at a [%] off

Reply STOP to cancel, msg & data rates may apply

From: 55678

Hi [Name], we hope you had a pleasant experience with us. Share your thoughts at [URL]. Thanks!

Reply STOP to cancel, msg & data rates may apply

Choosing the Right SMS Marketing Platform

To effectively implement text message marketing for your restaurant, it’s essential to choose the right SMS marketing platform. Consider the following factors when selecting a platform:

  • Ease of Use: Look for a platform that is user-friendly and intuitive, with a simple interface that allows you to easily create and send text messages.
  • List Management: Ensure the platform offers robust list management capabilities, allowing you to segment your subscribers, manage opt-ins and opt-outs, and maintain a clean and organized subscriber list.
  • Automation: Look for a platform that offers automation features, such as scheduled messages, drip campaigns, and triggered messages based on specific events or dates.
  • Integration Options: Consider whether the platform integrates with other systems or tools you use, such as your POS system, CRM, or email marketing software. Integration can streamline your processes and improve efficiency.


Text message marketing is a powerful tool that can help restaurants engage with their customers, drive foot traffic, and increase revenue. By leveraging the direct and immediate nature of text messages, restaurants can create personalized and targeted campaigns that resonate with their audience. From building a subscriber list to crafting effective campaigns and ensuring compliance, there are several key considerations for successful text message marketing. By following best practices and utilizing the right SMS marketing platform, restaurants can unlock the full potential of this marketing channel and achieve tangible results. Start implementing text message marketing for your restaurant today and watch your customer engagement and revenue soar.

Sending Restaurant SMS Messages With iVision Mobile

iVision Mobile stands out as a leading provider of SMS marketing for restaurants. The software is user-friendly and packed with unique features, including loyalty rewards, coupons and two-way texting. Managing all these features is a breeze with iVision Mobile’s convenient online dashboard. If you’re unsure about choosing them for your restaurant, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial and experience all the features firsthand.

1. Why is text message marketing effective for restaurants?

Text message marketing provides restaurants with an immediate and personal way to reach customers. Given the high open rates of SMS, restaurants can ensure timely promotions, special offers, and reservation reminders are seen, driving increased foot traffic and sales.

2. How can I grow my subscriber list for my restaurant’s SMS marketing campaign?

Promote your SMS subscription in-restaurant, on your website, social media, and email newsletters. Offer special discounts or freebies for new subscribers, encouraging more patrons to sign up.

3. What content is suitable for restaurant text message marketing?

Daily specials, event promotions, loyalty program updates, reservation reminders, and feedback requests are perfect for SMS. Additionally, seasonal offers or unique chef’s creations can be highlighted to entice visits.

4. How often should I send promotional texts to my subscribers?

It’s essential to find a balance. Too frequent, and you risk annoying your customers; too infrequent, and you miss out on potential sales. A good rule of thumb is 2-4 times a month, but always ensure the content provides value.

5. Can I segment my subscriber list for more targeted promotions?

Absolutely! Segmenting based on dining preferences, visit frequency, or even dish preferences can allow for more personalized offers, enhancing the effectiveness of your campaigns.

6. Is there a risk of customers unsubscribing from text message promotions?

As with any marketing channel, there’s always a risk. To minimize unsubscribes, ensure you’re delivering valuable content, not overwhelming subscribers with too many messages, and always include an easy opt-out option.

7. How can I measure the success of my restaurant’s SMS marketing campaign?

Track metrics like subscription growth, engagement rates, offer redemptions, and sales growth. Analyzing these can provide insights into campaign performance and areas for improvement.

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