The Power of SMS Marketing for Restaurants

A strategy that considers both the in-store and digital experience can grow your customer base and their profiles, ultimately leading to greater sales and customer loyalty. 
man smiling while looking at his cell phone

Restaurants of all sizes know that a return customer base and loyal patrons are the bread and butter (pun intended) for any successful location. Maybe they come in on a particular day of the week, always order a particular dish, or leave good feedback. For them, your restaurant is top-of-mind for a specific food, or you’ve successfully become a part of their weekly routine. 

In 2022, with the acceleration of digitalization in hospitality businesses reaching $3486.77 billion U.S. dollars, you might be left wondering how to turn your loyal, walk-in client base into digital subscribers to continue catering to them and bridge the in-store and digital divide. Thanks to the emergence of new communication technologies such as SMS marketing, your business can continue to have direct communication with your target audience. This grows engagement levels, which ultimately leads to greater sales. 

Let’s take a look at how businesses like yours can leverage SMS marketing in this increasingly digital era. 

Grow Your Subscriber List

To get your walk-in customers to become digital subscribers, you need to offer them easy ways to join your list and start sending them valuable promotions through text. But how do you start building your database?

There are many ways but one tried and tested method is text-to-join keywords. This is an easy way to allow your audience to compliantly opt in to your SMS campaigns in just a few clicks. How does it work? A client simply texts a predefined word to your business’ phone number and your SMS provider automatically adds them to your subscriber list. You can also display QR codes or send a link that populates your keyword and business number into your customers text app. Easy right?

Capture Customer Data

As you start cooking up digital marketing strategies to connect with your customers, you should remember that data is king. This means that your first focus should be on how to build and gather your customer’s data through SMS, and then how to personalize your offers to deliver great value to your audience. Today’s digital world pushes businesses to seek a competitive advantage by using the information they have on their digital customers. But, how exactly can this be done? 

Restaurants and small businesses can start building customer profiles through data enrichment campaigns or by integrating point of sale data that has captured preferences based on previous purchases, payment options, locations, etc. This information is great to help personalize your communications and offer valuable specials and promotions that customers just can’t refuse. For example, you can text a regular customer who you know loves a cheesy pizza and tell them about your new 4 cheese pizza or a 10% Monday night discount. 

Are You Expanding Your Business? Share It! 

The power of SMS allows relevant and direct communication with your client base, prompting them to act on a call-to-action. You can reap these benefits by leveraging SMS messages for valuable business news. 

Is your business opening up a new location? Segment your audience and notify your customers in the area about your new restaurant. Many loyal customers don’t want to miss out and love to be the first to try new sites, dishes, and services. With the right tool, building an SMS campaign that includes a tailored landing page to advertise your new location is achieved in minutes. Your messaging can also entice users to book immediately, growing your business. 

The increasing adoption of digitalization in the hospitality industry has also pushed businesses to seek new ways to communicate and operate; one of them is through delivery services. It’s no secret that many consumers have opted for food delivery as opposed to dining out. If your business has just recently started delivering services instead of just offering pick-ups or in-store dining, you can use text campaigns to offer a discount on the first dish your customer orders. 

Restaurants and small businesses can also benefit from the customer information they can collect through these delivery services such as location, preferred order time and frequently ordered dishes to personalize their messages and deals, growing their digital customer base and their profit.

Analyze Your Results

An informed decision will always save businesses time and resources when dealing with a saturated and competitive market. Therefore it’s crucial to gather and analyze results to implement successful strategies. By allowing your customer base to become digital, you can simplify their transactions and keep them engaged and satisfied through offers that can truly add value to them. Measure results such as total sales and total engagement to see an SMS campaign’s success. 

If there’s a special holiday coming up like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, you can use previous data to anticipate and ultimately advertise your next campaign effectively. Use a star dish for each holiday and offer discounts on what people really want to consume, giving your business a competitive edge. 

The hospitality industry can greatly benefit from an omnichannel strategy, led by SMS campaigns and their powerful results and insights. A strategy that considers both the in-store and digital experience can grow your customer base and their profiles, ultimately leading to greater sales and customer loyalty. 



Greg Chen CEO of Mobiz


CEO and co-founder of Mobiz, Greg has more than 15 years of mobile innovation and experience in  both B2B and B2C. Born in Taiwan but grew up in South Africa, his multicultural context has shaped  him to be a passionate leader, thinker and pioneer. Being unrelentingly customer focused, he has led  Mobiz to become a trusted platform that accelerate commercial success through mobile  engagement. Greg received his Master's degree in both Electrical Engineering and Business  Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Cape Town.