5 SMS Marketing Ideas for Restaurants to Drive Engagement | Reelo

by Ayushi Jain

5 SMS Marketing Ideas for Restaurants to Drive Engagement

Here are the top 5 SMS marketing ideas for restaurants to hit their customers’ inboxes with surprises.

Stuck with ideas to drive customer engagement? Why not try SMS marketing to promote your restaurant and get repeat purchases?

SMS marketing is not a new channel; however, not many are aware of its benefits to businesses, especially restaurants. Managing a cafe or restaurant is challenging. You always have to ensure timely service, quality food, and great hospitality.

It becomes difficult to maintain communication with the customers while managing these tasks. SMS marketing can help you directly communicate with them by hitting their inboxes at the right time and place.

But how can text messages help in driving engagement for restaurants? We will walk you through a detailed guide about SMS marketing campaign ideas that you can leverage effectively.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is a process of sending SMS marketing campaigns, business updates, reminders, and more to customers who have opted to receive text messages from their favorite brand.

According to voicesage, 64% of consumers think businesses should often contact them via SMS; it’s literally more than half the number. Therefore, there is no reason to not leverage SMS marketing for restaurants.

How to Use SMS Marketing for Restaurants?

Now that you know the meaning of SMS marketing, let’s dissect the ways to leverage it.

1. Send Reminders

Imagine a customer has made a reservation for 10 people at a restaurant. You sent them the text message regarding the confirmation on the same itself; however, they missed out on visiting the restaurant on the day they were supposed to.

There can be two reasons: They forgot about it or canceled the plan at the last moment. You lose not only customers this way but also see a decrease in retention rate.

Thus, you need to avoid it by sending them daily reminders. Because 18% of consumers, as per carbonfreedining, forget that they made the booking as restaurants don’t send reminder messages. For example, if customers have made a reservation, you can send them reminder messages in 3 phases.

Phase 1: Send them the confirmation message – ‘’Hey (customer name), your reservation has been made for XYZ date. We can’t wait to treat you with delicious food.’’

Phase 2: Send them the first reminder message – ‘’Hey (customer name), two days for you to have your favorite delicacies with us. We are waiting for you.’’

Phase 3: Send them the final reminder on the reservation date – ‘’Hey (customer name), it’s finally the day. Be on time so that we can serve some of the best delicacies.’’

You can even add a link or contact details if they want to cancel the reservation. It shows your effort in making their lives easier. The more you make them feel special, the more they will engage with you.

2. Include a Call-to-Action

SMS marketing campaigns are a perfect way to connect with your customers and promote regular offers and promotions; however, you need to have a relevant call-to-action to motivate your customer to take the desired action.

The absence of CTA will not help in achieving your ultimate goal.

It is important to tell your customers what to do and how to do it. You can add different CTAs for different objectives like:

  • Make a reservation (When they want to book a table)
  • Save now (When there are exclusive deals and offers)
  • Order online (When you have online food delivery available)
  • Click/Call to cancel the reservation (In case customers want to cancel the table bookings)

The correct CTA will encourage your audience to follow up. Furthermore, ensure there is a sense of urgency in your CTA and is simple and to the point.

Now, this is what a perfect SMS looks like!



Subway is indeed creating benchmarks.

Call-to-action links, messages, or buttons work effectively if appropriately utilized. Therefore, here are some key elements to keep in mind while creating a compelling call to action.

  • Choose the position of CTA in the message. Do you want it at the start, middle, or end? Text placement is as vital as visual positioning. So, make sure to wisely decide on the position of CTA.

  • Decide if you want to include a CTA link or a simple text. For example, if you want customers to redeem any special offers or links, simply provide them with a promo code to use the next time they visit the restaurant; however, a link would work best in case of collecting feedback.

  • Decide the length of CTA. You may have often heard a saying regarding call-to-action, i.e., ‘’The bigger, the better.’’ However, it’s not true. Keep CTA simple and to the point. Here we are talking about text message marketing for restaurants. Therefore, always keep the messages short and simple.

For the latter, you can even use platforms like Reelo to create a customized feedback form and send it to potential customers in seconds.

3. Leverage automated SMS for restaurants

It has become challenging to retain customers as the competition is rising. Thus, it is better to never miss an opportunity to send them perfectly-timed automated messages to them. This way, they will keep coming back to you, increasing your retention rate.

Customers love it when restaurants make them feel special and appreciated.

Let’s say there is restaurant A and restaurant B.

Restaurant A never sends them particular messages on their birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special occasion; however, restaurant B sends automated messages based on their first purchase, special occasions, and more.

Who do you think will have a higher retention rate? Restaurant B. It is because they are sending the right message at the right time.

Reelo has created a unique SMS marketing platform for restaurants where they can leverage it to send automated and personalized messages for different objectives like — Welcoming new customers, celebrating birthdays, winning back customers, and more.

You can choose the objective from the thousands of in-built templates and get started with SMS marketing campaigns.

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4. Run contests or giveaways

Who doesn’t love to win prizes? We are sure everyone does!

Hosting contests or giveaways is a great way to increase engagement and persuade them to visit the restaurant.

It can be as simple as — Reply ‘’Win’’ to enter the contest and a chance to win 20% Off on your next meal. Winners can be chosen randomly, and the names can again be announced via text messages.

Or you can even ask them to follow the restaurant’s Instagram page and tag their friends to participate. To make it easier, attach the Instagram page link.

Keep it as simple and easy as possible. The easier it is to enter the content, the more customers will participate. ‘’But how does it help a restaurant?’’

It increases customer engagement and improves brand awareness. Both are crucial in sustaining the long-term growth of a business.

5. Leverage analytical tools

You need to constantly analyze the campaigns you send to the customers.

Text message marketing for restaurants can be challenging. But gathering customer data and insights can make it comparatively easier. Making business decisions based on real-time data and not just mere intuitions is always better. Isn’t it?

Studying customer insights can help profoundly understand their behavior and segment the groups based on the same.

It is important to keep an eye on their changing behavior, demographics, purchase history, and more. Reelo allows restaurant owners to make smart decisions backed by real-time data.

Sending text messages based on customer behavior can increase engagement, improve loyalty, and enhance retention.

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Why is SMS Marketing Important for Restaurants?

Did you know that, according to constantcontact, 81% of consumers search for restaurants on mobile devices? So, there is no way you can avoid SMS marketing for restaurants.

Here’s why text message marketing is important for restaurants!

1. Cost-effective

SMS marketing channels are less costly than other marketing platforms. In addition, SMS marketing platforms are a great way to send text reminders and reduce the number of no-shows.

2. Increased customer loyalty

Personalized and relevant messages can help increase customer loyalty by making customers feel special, appreciated, and wanted. But, remember, personalization goes a long way. So, it is always advised to customize text messages as per their needs and preferences.

3. Better open rates

Did you know that as per campaign monitor, the average open rate for SMS marketing campaigns is 98%?

It proves that most people are eager to open their text messages. Thus, avoiding it can steal the opportunity of getting frequent customers.

4. Immediate reach

Most people own mobile phones today. So there are higher chances that the text campaigns will be received and opened by the majority of them. Moreover, since people hate having unread notifications, they will read the SMS within a few minutes or whenever they see the same.


The restaurant marketing approach has changed over the years. While people used to think social media was the only way to garner higher customer engagement, things have started taking drastic turns.

Many restaurant owners have started leveraging SMS marketing, considering the benefits it reaps. It is an effective way to increase customer engagement, improve brand awareness, and enhance retention.

Relevant, direct text marketing can take your brands to greater heights. For example, you looked at how Subway is acing its SMS marketing. That’s the kind of benchmark restaurants can set and steal the spotlight.

Do you want to send automated messages, timely feedback, and study real customer insights? You can utilize this on one platform and enhance your brand reputation. Sign up for Reelo, simplify the entire process, and send some excellent SMS marketing campaigns.

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