Restaurant and takeaway dos and don’ts of text marketing

The difference between a great text message and a bad one can boil down to just a few things. Take these two messages for example. At first glance they both look like a good marketing message, but one will get a great return, whilst the other message will get nothing.
Dos and Donts texts
The message on the left is a great example of an SMS message. It covers all the major areas that a successful text message needs and offers a great deal.
– Tells you who it’s from, both in the sender ID and within the message itself.
– It clearly explains to you how you can order, either by phone, or online via the link they have provided.
– An opt out option has been added at the end of the message.
– It was also sent at a suitable day and time, Friday at 5.50pm.
The message on the right is not as good. It misses almost everything that is required for a successfully SMS campaign.
– It does not tell you who it is from. The sender ID is a free mobile number that does not allow calls, and there is also no mention of the business within the message either.
– There are grammar and punctuation errors.
– No way of ordering the food.
– No opt out included.
– And finally, it was sent at a bad time, Sunday at 8.30 pm, which is more than likely after people have already eaten.
So, before you send your SMS campaign, have a read of the dos and don’ts list below. SMS can be a very powerful tool, so don’t fall at the first hurdle.

Restaurant & Takeaway SMS Marketing Dos

Do schedule – 

Don’t miss out by forgetting to send a text message. Schedule your sends the week before, so you don’t have to worry about it and you can keep your mind on cooking great food and giving first class customer service.
Do include a call to action – Ensure that you include either a website or a phone number. Ensure that the recipient can actually make contact with, either by calling or going online to book a table or order some food.
Do say who you are – Saying you have a great offer on Indian food, and not telling customers who it is from is a bad for two reasons. Not only will your message get ignored, but you might trigger people into wanting Indian food, then going to one of your competitors.
Do send delivery notifications – Send your customers a confirmation message of their table booking, or a messaging telling them how long it will be before their food is delivered.
Do reward your loyal customers – Send personalised messages to those customers who always buy from you. Keep your loyal customers happy as these are your most profitable.
Do let people sign up – Grow your mobile numbers organically by allowing people to sign up to your SMS loyalty programme. You could offer them a discount if they sign up.
Do think about the timing of your message – Sending a text message out after people have eaten will get you a 0% chance of people ordering from you. Check the best times to send here.
Do check and test – Including an old offer, a wrong date, or a message with spelling mistakes in doesn’t look great on your business. Before sending it to your customers, test the message and send it to a couple of your colleagues.
Do allow customers to text you – Allow people to text you to book a table or order some food. It could be as simple as “Text TABLE along with your time and number of people to book a table with us”
Do use SMS Web Pages – Our new feature allows you to send a text message and include a link to a bespoke web page that you can include images of your food on. Nothing makes your mouth water than seeing food.
Food industry dos

Restaurant & Takeaway SMS Marketing Don’ts

Don’t pester

– Don’t harass your customers by sending them multiple messages every week. This will easily put off even your most loyal customers.
Don’t offer false hope – Ensure that you don’t offer something you can’t back up. Sending a text message out telling customers that you have available tables tonight, but when they come to book everything is taken, won’t leave them feeling happy with your business and will just book a table with one of you customers.
Don’t send to unsubscribed customers – If someone has unsubscribed from your messages, don’t continue messaging them. They obviously don’t want your service, they will get annoyed with you. And what is worst, it is illegal, and you could be hit with a huge fine. (I am pretty sure you can’t do this in our system – We should mention the system takes unsubscribed numbers from groups)
Don’t use slang – Yes, it is a text message, but there is no need to use slang. It’s not the year 2000 anymore. People expect more from businesses, and using slang makes you look lazy.
Don’t send without permission – Make sure you have the customer permission to send them marketing messages. Read more about GDPR
Don’t forget your opt-out – Make sure you give your customers an option to opt-out or your marketing message. If you don’t, you could be fined.
Don’t overload the text message – SMS is perfect because it’s short, to the point, and fast. So just keep it that way. Rarely do you need to go over 2 messages.
Don’t just use the same offer – Millions of restaurants and takeaways are messaging people telling how much they can get for their money. Try varying up your message, include competitions, different offers, and something unique every now and again.
Food industry donts