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How Can My Restaurant Use Mobile Marketing Tactics?


The classic ways to drive traffic to your restaurant are becoming a bit outdated. Consider the advancements in technology in the past five years – with all of this new tech, it’s easy to imagine traditional marketing strategies might fall short of the ROI you had in mind. Well, we’ve been examining the research, and there’s no more effective way to reach your customers than SMS text messages. Have a look at how your restaurant can use SMS mobile marketing tactics to improve your business and generate more sales.


To start out, develop a mobile database to promote your text message marketing program.

A mobile marketing database allows you to keep track of the customers who choose to opt-in to your program. Promote the program everywhere you can: on coasters, doors, signs, online, and in your print marketing materials.


Try offering a free entrée to customers who opt-in.

This will grow your database immediately. In one example, a chain called Texas Roadhouse offered a free appetizer to customers who chose to opt-in to their “TextUs Loyalty Club.” The campaign generated an average 17% redemption rate during the pilot. Latest reports show that 44% of customers are willing to provide personal info in exchange for a reward, coupon or deal.


Send out offers for discounts on future meals.

This method is extremely effective: Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and many others have had great success with this tactic. Carl’s Jr sent a series of SMS text messages in 2013 for a half-priced $6 burger combo. The ROI turned out to be $14 in new sales for every dollar they spent on the campaign!


Consider extending your discounts for several weeks.

In the United Kingdom, Papa John’s Pizza ran a three-week campaign via text message, offering any pizza at any size for 7 pounds (9 pounds for delivery). In those short three weeks, the franchisees benefitted from an increase in sales of over 33%.


Carefully time your multimedia SMS text messages to maximize your number of covers.

You can actually drive traffic to your restaurant whenever you send out text messages to your customers, so time them carefully. You may want to bring in customers during peak meal times (since you have a full staff), or you could build your off-peak hours through promotions like Happy Hours and late night events.


Create separate lists for customers by area code and type, then utilize geofencing to enhance sales.

When you separate your lists, you can treat your customers more like individuals. Divide them by categories: new customers, regulars, and VIPs. Using area codes, you can easily geofence your locations. Pizza Hut in Britain set up geofencing locations within a half-mile of their 340 locations – customers entering within the geofence would receive an SMS text message promotion from the nearest Pizza Hut. In its fifteen month run, marketers found that the program was 142% more efficient in increasing sales than other marketing channels (4.4 times more effective than TV ads, and 2.6 times more effective than online ads).


Instead of using beepers, use SMS text messages to let customers know when their table is ready.

This one’s a no-brainer. Why spend money on an expensive paging system, when your customers already own the technology necessary to page them? Just take down their number when they arrive, and text them when their name comes up on the wait list. It’s that simple.


Reward customers who refer your business to friends via text message forwarding.

Dunkin’ Donuts tried this in the Boston region, and achieved great results. Not only did they give discounts to loyal customers, they offered a free donut to those who refer their friends to the program. The result was a 21% increase in store traffic, as well as a boom in the number of new subscribers to their loyalty program. 

The strategy is simple: Use SMS text message marketing to grow your sales. Build up a strong customer list, offer discounts & freebies, text them in the right time and place, and use referral programs. Also, try asking your customers for feedback via text as well. You will find that they have terrific advice, and you can use that information to improve their experience even further. SMS text message marketing campaigns are the wave of the future for the restaurateur – so don’t miss out on this inexpensive and effective means to boost your company’s sales!



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