Text Messaging Helps Grow Restaurant Business

January 31, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Every restaurant dreams of having lines of customers out the door waiting to eat at their establishment. And ideally, that line is a healthy mix of new and repeat customers. A successful marketing campaign can make this a reality for eateries both large and small.

Restaurant business is among the industries that can get the most out of SMS marketing. Offering motivations for joining SMS loyalty clubs can increase opt-ins. Promoting events that local customers are interested in can help maintain a loyal customer base and generate new interest. And integrating a text messaging campaign with other media can render impressive results for the advanced marketer.

Regardless of whether the restaurant is a powerhouse franchise or a privately owned establishment, SMS can help enhance customer loyalty and increase sales. Here are three examples of how text message marketing helped restaurants, from the basic to the advanced:

Give them a reason to join

How did Texas Roadhouse acquire 60,000 new loyalty members in a year? By launching a mobile loyalty club promotion. However, it’s not enough to simply announce a loyalty club; you have to make it worth the customer’s while. They offered a free appetizer to anyone who subscribed to their SMS program.

Texas Roadhouse allowed their customers to choose from two channels to receive promotions: email or SMS (or both). What’s interesting: customers that opted in text messaging program were much more loyal and actually redeemed the offers.

As for the long term effects of this marketing push, Texas Roadhouse representatives say the SMS club works to promote loyalty, resulting in high response rates as well as high coupon redemption rates.

Promote an event

Targeting customers with a specific event can be a good way to generate new SMS club members and to increase the loyalty of existing members. In the case of Shirasoni Japanese Steakhouse, they know that when football season starts, it can be difficult to tear fans away from their television sets.

So they decided to cater to local fans by promoting a Monday Night Football Event through SMS. The promotion was so popular that the restaurant grossed $2,000 in three and a half hours after sending the message to 3700 SMS loyalty subscribers, causing the restaurant to nearly run out of sushi.

Don’t forget to integrate

SMS can and should be used in conjunction with other advertising media such as TV, social media and other mobile specific platforms like mobile websites and mobile apps. In this case study for a Hard Rock Café location in France, they were seeing annual sales drop.

They wanted to modernize the restaurant’s reputation and engage age groups 18-35 with mobile advertising as well as improve customer loyalty and entice new customers to visit their establishment. Businesses that promote their text message loyalty programs across all media see reciprocal results (SMS can be used to increase mobile app engagement, which can be used to increase social media engagement, etc.).

This study proves that integrating SMS with other marketing tools increases loyalty and generates new sales. The restaurant saw a 30% increase in traffic and 25% increase in annual sales as a result of their mobile marketing push.

The takeaway: Give customers an incentive to join an SMS loyalty club and promote local events to generate new interest and retain the interest of those already signed up. Integrating SMS with other advertising strategies can also be used to help restaurants increase new sales and maintain patron loyalty.

By Alexa Lemzy, Customer service specialist

Article originally appeared on hospitalitynet.org.