Restaurant Marketing

Join the group text: Text message marketing for restaurants

Text message marketing for restaurants can be a great tool to fill in the revenue gaps and invite people to your restaurant for everything from holidays to off-peak times.

Most of us spend a good deal of time on our phones; in fact, on average people spend about 5-6 hours on their phones every single day. And when it comes to food, well it’s no secret, guests use their phones for that too—whether they’re searching for something specific to satisfy a craving, sharing a menu with friends for a potential happy hour spot, or placing an online order for pickup. So with phone distraction at an all-time high, how do you capture a guests attention?

Enter: the restaurant marketing text. 

Why not join in on the “where should we go to dinner?” conversation? Better yet, why not start it? SMS marketing is an extremely effective way to get in front of your guests—95% of marketing text messages are opened within the first 3 minutes of being received.  

Why Text Message Marketing? 

Traditional marketing usually requires customers to jump through hoops to get rewards from their favorite brands. Downloading apps, completing lengthy surveys, and subscribing to newsletters are just some of the many tasks guests often go through to opt-in for rewards and information. Why not keep it simple? A name and phone number is all you need to start connecting with guests! 

We’ve listed out some best practices to get you started using texting as a marketing channel to connect with guests.   

Best Practices: Text Message Marketing for Restaurants 

#1 Keep it Simple and Fun


When it comes to text message marketing for restaurants, less is more.

Customers subscribe to your restaurant because they’re interested in one thing: perks. So, remember to get right to the point and give them what they want. A simple rule to make sure your text messages are on track is to use the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) and then of course, the how

Let’s say it’s Mother’s Day and your entire menu is 10% off. Here’s a sample text to keep your customers on their toes: 


Hi Allison (who), 


Lift Bistro here 👋🏼 — Mother’s Day is around the corner, and we’re excited to celebrate with you (why)! Dine with us on Mother’s Day 💐 (where/when) and get 10% OFF your entire bill (what). Click to book your reservation today (how)! 

Using this simple rule to construct direct and straightforward texts is a surefire way to get your customers’ attention. And when you use the “offers” feature in Popmenu, you can also create a multi-use online offer code like LOVEMOM23 to plug into any text message and encourage guests to place an order.  

Also, don’t forget to use emojis! They keep the text message short and sweet yet engaging. Our built-in emoji tool in our text message marketing feature allows you to easily spice up your brand voice. 


#2 Give Orders to get Orders 📲

It may come as a surprise—but sometimes people don’t know what to do with a great deal, which is why it’s always important to include a strong call-to-action. Call-to-actions tell people what to do next to redeem your amazing offer.

With Popmenu’s text message marketing tool, you can easily add quick links to any menu item on your website to increase website interactions, and get customers back on your website. You can even add a link to your online ordering page with an online offer to encourage purchase behavior! 

Here is a list of the most used call-to-actions: 

  • Call Now [Phone number] 
  • Order Online at [Web address] 
  • Visit us at [Address]
  • Like our Facebook Page [Link to Facebook] 
  • Write a Review [Link to reviews] 
  • Follow us at [Social media handle] 

#3 Send it at Hungry-o-Clock

If your customer isn’t hungry, chances are they will pass on a great deal and ignore your text—this is why scheduling times matter. You’re busy running your restaurant and don’t always have the time to be manually sending texts, our scheduling tool allows you to schedule a text and forget about it, so you can focus on other tasks. Make sure to schedule a text message 30 minutes to 1 hour before the most popular time to order or dine in at your restaurant. 

Peak times are usually at “Golden Hour” between 6-9 PM for dinner traffic, so consider communicating beforehand! Oh, and don’t forget about breakfast and lunch! 

Pro-Tip: Check out your own restaurant’s peak times on your Google Business Profile Manager. Discover the best time to send a text by exploring peak hours under “insights.” 

#4 Get Personal and Make it Urgent🔥

If you are thinking like a customer, chances are you are asking yourself: what is in it for me? Every text sent should always have this question in mind—it’s all about offering an incentive or a value-add to keep your customers coming back. 

Offer a free appetizer on a holiday, promote your loyalty program, or send your VIP followers exclusive deals they can’t miss. Customers want rewards and rewarding their loyalty will keep them coming back for more. Exclusive deals and promos work especially well when you personalize a text. Popmenu’s text message marketing tool for restaurants has the option to include the customer’s name or restaurant name at the click of a button. 

And always make sure they’ve opted-in to receive text messages (opt-in is built into your Popmenu website with the VIP member pop-up)

Pro-Tip: Limited time offers, or flash sales are a terrific way to incentivize immediate action with urgency to get them to act now. 


#5 Be Strategic 🧠

Pick and choose when you use text message marketing carefully, since the last thing you want to do is get an unsubscribe from sending too many text messages (Popmenu’s text message marketing tool is limited to 4 texts per month to avoid overwhelming customers). 

Text message marketing for restaurants is an easy, affordable, and hassle-free way to communicate with your guests and offer your customers what they want. Whether it's holiday discounts, new menu items, or a personalized invite to a weekly show, texting is the name of the game. Join the group text and start communicating with your guests where they’re at.

Front of the House Resource

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Digital Marketing for Restaurants

Consumers spend 40% of their monthly food budgets on restaurants. Wouldn’t it be great to capture more of it? You don’t need a degree in marketing or a big budget to effectively promote your restaurant. Heck, you don’t even need a lot of time. While marketing can feel utterly overwhelming, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be complex and a lot of it can be automated. This guide covers all the marketing basics with easy tips and examples so you can hit the ground running and quickly grow your sales. Learn how to: Bring your brand to life Create a simple marketing strategy that pays off Drive more traffic and orders through your online menu, website and social channels Automate email/text outreach to keep guests coming back for more

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