How to do … Restaurant Mobile Marketing

Using mobile marketing in the food industry is possibly one of the most perfect fits for the medium. Any restaurant, whether it be a fast food establishment right through to a high end dining restaurant, will be (and all have been) amazed at what success a simple, proven mobile marketing strategy can bring.
This guide will show you is how to achieve a 1,351% return on investment in around 15 minutes – but crucially, sustain increased business for the long term.
Let’s put that into context with a couple of recent examples;
Papa Johns pizza33% increase in sales
Bistro Liveachieve a 1,694% return on investment
That really is the norm! It’s just that most restaurants are either not doing mobile marketing or doing it badly.
If you follow our simple How to do … guide for restaurants, we can almost guarantee you’ll achieve these success rates for a relatively tiny cost.

Step 1 – Your existing customers are like gold, treat them like it

Almost all restaurants have an existing database of mobile numbers. But, don’t just text them an offer because you want sales today! Their mobile phone is a personal device and you must ask their permission to ‘use it’ (this is not a legal requirement because they are existing customers, this is about respect and courtesy and ensuring your mobile marketing works in the long term).

So step 1 is to ask your customers if they are happy for you to send them infrequent offers or news. Usually it goes something like this, “Hi. As a previous diner at Garlucci’s, we’d like to keep you informed by text of any offers or special menus we’re doing. Don’t worry, we won’t bombard you! If you’d rather not then please text GARL to 88802 now or any time & we won’t text after that. Kindest regards.

It’s simple, pleasant and to the point. It also leaves a little anticipation in the recipient’s mind, especially talking about ‘special menus we’re doing’, i.e. it’s not just the usual sales offers, this will be useful information.

We also say, ‘text now or any time’ for the stop code. This communicates to the recipient they don’t have to unsubscribe ‘right now’, they have the power to do it at any time. So, most will probably wait and see what the first few messages are like.

All Text Marketer accounts come with a free unsubscribe tool and system which acts as a stop list, so once someone texts your stop code to your system, you never send them another message. (You can read more on this here).

Step 2 – Ask the same permission from new customers & build your list

Now that you are a restaurant that does ‘mobile marketing’, you’ll want to add new customers to your list. Depending on the type of restaurant, this may be best achieved by simply asking them as they pay the bill whether they would ‘like to be included’ in hearing about special offers or menus by text. Then you can simply keep a note of these numbers and add to your list by uploading them every week or so.

Alternatively, you may prefer a more automated system which allows people to text in and join your list. This is easily achieved by getting a keyword on our shortcode number. Perhaps a keyword that is your restaurant name. Then people simply text this keyword to 88802 and automatically join your list. (You can read more on this here).

Step 3 – Your database is in place & cleaned of unsubscribers …. now, what do you send them?

The golden rule is to talk to your customers as if they were stood in front of you. This will of course vary depending on the type of restaurant you are and the clientele you have.

The second rule is ‘most people don’t like to be sold to’. All this means (especially in the first few messages to avoid high unsubscribe rates) is to give people information that they would find useful (we’ll look at a few examples in a moment). Again, this depends on your market but people will be interested if you have a new menu, if you have live music next week, if there are some new wines to try, etc. etc. Although discounting and vouchers have their place, there’s nothing that ‘sells’ better than giving someone some information they want to hear.

You will know your customers better than anybody and what to tell them but here are a few examples of types of messages that work really well:

  • “Hi. We’ve sourced a new local supplier for our organic meats and will be trialling them this Thu & Fri. We still have some tables left if you would like to join us?”
  • “Hi. It’s just been confirmed that Blue Juice will be playing live at our restaurant on saturday night – the best Blues band in town. We have 8 tables left from 7pm if you can join us?”
  • “Hi. We’ve secured 200 bottles of this season’s freshest Beajoulais Noveau and it will be available from tonight. We anticipate it will have gone within the week! We hope you’ll consider dining with us before it does!?”
  • “Hi. For the next couple of days we’ve got XYZ and ZYX on the specials and they include a free ABC. We hope you can join us and try one.”
  • “Our new chef has created 4 completely new pizzas! We’ve all tried them here and unanimously agreed to trial them on the menu. Please call to find out more about them.”

Of course, the above will have to be tailored to your business but you can see the style.

Step 4 – Regularity of contact

How regularly should you send messages?

This is very much bespoke to your customer base. If you’re a pizza takeaway restaurant (you might want to read our SMS Marketing for the Fast Food Industry article) it might be relevant to send weekly deals. If you’re an expensive Michelin starred restaurant, the frequency of visit would probably be much lower and only seasonal messages might be.

If it’s practical, it’s often best to give people an idea of how often you send messages when they join your list. Again, this avoids excessive unsubscribes if people believe they are going to be ‘bombarded’ with messages.

Costs and Return on Investment

Here’s the great part. If you follow these simple steps, there is no reason why you shouldn’t expect a 50% increase in overall business within a matter of months. Obviously you might be able to expect the same if you put a TV advert on in your local area – but! – that would probably put most restaurants out of business on cost alone!

Mobile Marketing is the most responsive and the most cost effective marketing medium available today. Full stop.

Let’s say you did all the recommendations in this How to do … guide for restaurants, it would cost (on a per 1000 basis);

  • £37 per 1000 customers you contact (see our Bulk SMS Prices per message)
  • £25 per month for the optional keyword for people to text to to join your list
  • That’s it!

If you take a pessimistic average of a 5% response rate (often text campaigns achieve 20% or more) to a well-worded text message to a person that has verified they want to receive messages from you (as per steps 1 & 2 of this guide) then you’re looking at 50 bookings per 1,000 messages sent – which cost you £37 (plus a bit for the optional keyword) ….. so multiply your average profit per customer by 50 and see if it is more than £37!?
An average restaurant will make at least £10 profit per customer so that would be £500 profit from a £37 spend …. or  1,351% return on investment!

How to get going … How to achieve a 1,351% return on investment in around 15 minutes

Another great thing about Restaurant Mobile Marketing is that it’s very easy and inexpensive to trial. At Text Marketer we provide the lowest cost messages in the UK and our software for running all of your activity is free, automated and available online. You run the whole thing yourself.

There’s no software to install, it’s a simply a web-based system. As long as you have a computer connected to the internet and a web browser, you can do it!

How to achieve a 1,351% return on investment in around 15 minutes;

  1. Get a Text Marketer account (use this link and we’ll give you 50 free credits on sign up so you can test it out) – 2 minutes
  2. Watch the instructional video of how to use the system (visit the Help Centre for further FAQ’s) – 7 minutes
  3. Buy as many credits as you need in your account and proceed to Step 1 above – roughly 6 minutes

Enjoy a huge increase in business, sustained, for the long term.

Optional additional links/reading: