Skip to content

The Ultimate Guide to Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

  • by

In the fast-paced food industry, staying ahead of the competition means embracing innovative marketing strategies. Text message marketing stands out as a potent tool for restaurants. This approach bridges the gap between businesses and customers and personalizes the dining experience. Let’s dive deep into how text message marketing can transform your restaurant’s engagement and sales.

Benefits of SMS Marketing for Restaurants

The benefits of text message marketing for restaurants go beyond just high open rates; they tap into the fabric of instant communication and customer engagement. Here’s why embracing SMS marketing can set your restaurant apart:

  • Immediate Impact: Text messages have the unique advantage of instant delivery and nearly immediate reads. Most people read texts within minutes of receiving them, ensuring your message gets timely attention. This immediacy is crucial for time-sensitive promotions or updates.
  • Cost-Effective: SMS marketing is more affordable than traditional advertising or digital marketing channels. It allows for targeted communication without a hefty price tag, making it ideal for restaurants of all sizes.
  • High Engagement: With open rates soaring above 90%, SMS outperforms email marketing significantly. Customers are more likely to engage with a text message, whether a promotional offer, a reservation reminder, or a special event invitation.
  • Personal Touch: Personalization boosts customer loyalty. SMS marketing lets you send personalized messages based on customer preferences or past dining experiences. This approach makes customers feel valued and more inclined to visit again.
  • Builds Loyalty: By offering exclusive deals or loyalty rewards via text, you encourage customers to return. It’s an effective way to reward your most loyal patrons and ensure they remain engaged and satisfied.
  • Wide Reach: Almost everyone has a mobile phone, and most keep it within arm’s reach. SMS marketing allows you to reach a broad audience, including those who may not be active on social media or check their emails regularly.
  • Feedback Opportunity: SMS is not just a one-way communication tool. It invites feedback, allowing customers to share their dining experiences directly. This feedback is invaluable for improving service and menu offerings.
How Can Restaurants Collect Opt-in Subscribers

How Can Restaurants Collect Opt-in Subscribers

Collecting opt-in subscribers is crucial in launching a successful SMS marketing campaign for your restaurant. Here’s how to grow your subscriber list effectively and ethically:

  • Incentivize Sign-ups: Offer customers a tangible benefit for opting in, such as a discount on their next meal, a free appetizer, or exclusive access to special events. People are likelier to share their contact information if they perceive immediate value.
  • Use Every Touchpoint: Promote your SMS program across all customer touchpoints. Add a sign-up call to action on your website, integrate it into the online ordering process, and mention it on social media. Use table tents, menus, and checkout receipts as reminders in your physical location.
  • Leverage Technology: QR codes make the sign-up process effortless. Customers can scan the code with their smartphone and instantly subscribe to your messages. Display these QR codes prominently in your restaurant and on marketing materials.
  • Train Your Staff: Your staff can play a significant role in encouraging sign-ups. Train them to inform customers about the benefits of joining your SMS list and how to do it. A personal request from a friendly server can be very persuasive.
  • Host Contests and Giveaways: Organize contests or giveaways that require participants to sign up for your SMS list to enter. This will increase your subscriber base and engage and excite your customers.
  • Be Transparent: Clearly communicate what subscribers can expect regarding message frequency and content. Also, ensure it’s easy for them to opt-out anytime. Transparency builds trust and reduces the likelihood of subscribers opting out later.
  • Offer Exclusive Content: Promise and deliver exclusive content or offers to your SMS subscribers. This could be early access to new dishes, members-only discounts, or behind-the-scenes looks at your restaurant. Exclusive content makes subscribers feel special and valued.

Sample Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

Crafting compelling sample texts for your restaurant’s SMS marketing requires creativity, clarity, and conciseness. Here are some examples that capture attention and encourage action:

Flash Deals: “🌟 Today Only! Enjoy 20% off our signature pasta dishes. Come in or order online. Use code PASTA20 at checkout. Opt-out reply STOP.”

Event Promotions: “🎉 Join us this Friday for live music and exclusive menu items! Reserve your spot now. Seats are limited. For details, reply MORE.”

Loyalty Rewards: “Thank you for being a loyal customer! 🎁 Your next coffee is on us. Show this message to redeem. Valid until [date].”

New Menu Item Alert: “Excited to taste something new? 🍽 Try our chef’s special seafood platter, available this week only. Reserve your table today!”

Birthday Offers: “🎂 Happy Birthday, [Name]! Celebrate with a complimentary dessert on us. Offer valid through [date]. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!”

Feedback Requests: “We hope you enjoyed your meal! How did we do? Reply with a score from 1 to 5. Your feedback helps us serve you better.”

Reservation Reminders: “Looking forward to seeing you tonight at 7 PM. Reply YES to confirm your reservation or NO to cancel. We’re excited to host you!”

Seasonal Greetings: “Happy Holidays from all of us at [Restaurant Name]! 🎄 Celebrate the season with our special holiday menu. Book your festive feast now.”

Sample Text Message Marketing for Restaurants

Effective Restaurant Message to Customers

Balancing warmth and professionalism in text message marketing for restaurants’ customers is essential. These messages should feel personal, engaging, and reflective of your brand’s voice. Here’s how to achieve that:

Thank You Messages: “We’re grateful you chose us for your dining experience! Enjoy 10% off your next visit as a token of our appreciation. Hope to see you soon!”

Feedback Solicitation: “Your opinion matters to us! Take a moment to let us know how we did today. Click here to leave your feedback. Thank you for helping us improve!”

Special Occasion Greetings: “Happy Anniversary! 🥂 Celebrate this special day with a complimentary dessert on us. Cheers to many more beautiful moments together.”

Reservation Confirmation: “Your table for [date and time] is confirmed. We’re excited to host you! For any changes, please let us know.”

Follow-up After Visit: “Thank you for dining with us last night! We hope your experience was delightful. If there’s anything we could have done better, please share.”

Holiday Messages: “From all of us at [Restaurant Name], we wish you a joyful holiday season! Join us for a festive meal and make your holidays even brighter.”

Exclusive Offers: “As a valued patron, we’re thrilled to offer you an exclusive preview of our new menu. Book your table now and be the first to taste our latest creations!”

Event Invitations: “You’re invited to an evening of gourmet delights and fine wine. Mark your calendar for [date]. Limited seats available; reserve now!”

Promotional Text Messages Examples

Seasonal promotions or happy hour specials can be effectively communicated through SMS:

  • “🍹 Happy Hour Alert! Enjoy 2-for-1 cocktails from 5 PM to 7 PM tonight. Let’s make your evening special!”
  • “🍹 Cheers to Happy Hour! Join us tonight from 5 PM to 7 PM for 2-for-1 cocktails. Elevate your evening with us!”
  • “🍸 Shake up your evening with our Happy Hour specials! From 5 PM to 7 PM, indulge in 2-for-1 cocktails. See you there!”

Early bird discounts also attract diners during off-peak hours:

  • “Dine with us before 6 PM and enjoy a 20% discount on your bill. Perfect for your early dinner plans!”
  • “Beat the rush and savor savings! Join us before 6 PM for a 20% discount on your bill. Your early bird special awaits!”
  • “Make the most of your evenings! Get 20% off your bill when you dine with us before 6 PM. Start your night right!”
Sample Text for Food

Sample Text for Food

Introducing new menu items through SMS excites customers and invites them to try something new:

  • “Indulge in our new Chocolate Lava Cake, a decadent delight waiting to mesmerize your taste buds. Reserve your slice today!”
  • “Experience culinary bliss with our latest addition: the Chocolate Lava Cake. Dive into its rich, molten center, tantalizing your senses with every bite. Reserve your indulgence now!”
  • “Treat yourself to our new Chocolate Lava Cake—its velvety texture and heavenly flavor await your enjoyment. Reserve yours now!”
  • “Satisfy your sweet cravings with our irresistible new Chocolate Lava Cake. Dive into pure bliss with each spoonful. Reserve your decadent dessert experience today!”
  • “Embark on a culinary journey with our newest creation: the Chocolate Lava Cake. Indulge in its luscious layers and unforgettable taste. Reserve your slice of heaven now!”

Restaurant Opening Message to Customers

Celebrating new openings with your SMS subscribers can create buzz and drive foot traffic:

  • “We’re thrilled to open our doors in your neighborhood! Join us for the grand opening and enjoy exclusive treats. Your table awaits!”

Furthermore, choosing the right SMS provider is crucial for launching an effective text message marketing campaign. Platforms like ProTexting offer specialized restaurant features, including automated messages, subscriber segmentation, and detailed analytics. These tools enable restaurants to send timely, relevant messages, track engagement, and refine strategies for better results.

Top 15 Restaurants Using SMS Marketing

The landscape of restaurant marketing is vast, yet certain names stand out for their innovative use of SMS marketing. These top restaurants have mastered the art of engaging customers directly through their phones:

  • Starbucks: Starbucks excels with its SMS program, offering rewards and personalized offers that make every coffee run special.
  • Chipotle: With timely alerts on new dishes and exclusive discounts, Chipotle keeps customers craving more.
  • Domino’s: Domino’s makes ordering pizza via text a breeze, enhancing convenience and satisfaction.
  • Taco Bell: Taco Bell excites its fans with unique offers and updates on their favorite Mexican-inspired fast food.
  • Olive Garden: Olive Garden invites guests to enjoy Italian elegance via text with special deals and menu updates.
  • Panera Bread: Panera Bread nurtures its community with wholesome offers and the latest on its health-conscious menu.
  • Pizza Hut: With alerts on hot deals and new toppings, Pizza Hut ensures pizza lovers stay informed and hungry.
  • Subway: Keep it fresh with SMS alerts on new subs and healthy eating options.
  • Dunkin’: Morning runs are sweeter with Dunkin”s texted coffee deals, and new bakery treats alerts.
  • Red Lobster: Seafood lovers rejoice with Red Lobster’s SMS specials, from lobster deals to seasonal favorites.
  • Burger King: Whopper fans get the royal treatment with exclusive offers and sneak peeks at new burgers.
  • KFC: Finger-lickin’s good deals and menu additions from KFC arrive directly to your phone.
  • Wendy’s: Wendy’s engages fans with frosty offers and hot deals on their signature burgers.
  • Papa John’s: Pizza night is always exciting, with Papa John’s text offers on their latest savory slices.
  • Cheesecake Factory: Dessert becomes even sweeter with Cheesecake Factory’s updates on new decadent delights.

Final Thought

Embracing text message marketing is a strategic move for restaurants looking to enhance customer engagement and boost sales. Following the best practices outlined in this guide, restaurant owners can craft compelling messages that resonate with their audience, fostering loyalty and encouraging repeat visits.

As we’ve seen, SMS marketing has immense potential in the restaurant industry. It offers a direct and personal way to connect with diners. With the right approach, your restaurant can harness the power of SMS marketing to achieve remarkable growth and success.

Start your FREE TRIAL Today 🤳



Send FAST SMS up to 1000 messages per second!📈

free trial sms marketing


ProTexting was founded by a team of text messaging professionals with over a decade of experience in the industry. As part of the team, I am passionate about researching and writing about trends in text messaging, innovative SMS marketing strategies, and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Follow our blog and be the first to know about Text Messaging tips and news.