The Five Best Text Communication Practices for Restaurants

With six times the engagement of email, text messaging is revolutionizing the marketing strategies of QSR, fast food, and dine-in restaurants. Text marketing offers unique and exciting approaches to generate peak engagement and ultimately drive more successful campaigns. Through analyzing metrics and data, best practices have been pushed to the marketing forefront. 

And in our new normal, where restaurants have to rethink their usual paradigm, SMS solutions offer distinctive opportunities to protect both your staff and diners. Restaurants can minimize close contact by texting alerts when reservations and takeout orders are available, keeping people from clustering together at entrances or pickup counters. Restaurants that smartly capitalize on texting communication best practices should enjoy boosts across the board—in more repeat customers, better service and a more intelligent (and faster) delivery for internal staff communications.

1. Timing Is Everything

Customers enjoy receiving exclusive offers, promotions, and updates from their favorite restaurants delivered straight to their devices—but be careful not to overdo it. Spamming customers can quickly turn them against you and are likely to puncture (or even destroy) SMS engagement for future marketing efforts. Resist the urge to flood phones with messages day after day. Additionally, set expectations upfront as to how often you will notify customers. Experiment with what times work best to boost engagement via promotional texts—finding the right time and frequency to reach consumers is necessary for successful SMS campaigns. For example, if you want to increase lunchtime reservations, you may want to consider sending out alerts on specials of the day at the time customers are most likely to begin planning where to eat.

Like any type of marketing communication where you want customers to take action, it’s a best practice to send a follow-up. In our research, we dug deeper about the efficiency of follow-ups and discovered that drip campaigns with a number of follow-up messages can improve click-through rates by an incredible 355 percent! A drip campaign enables businesses to automatically send a series of texts to desired, targeted contacts, at a specified date and time, and are triggered by various customer actions. These tactics help you to effectively follow up with customers and improve timing and engagement. 

2. Keep it Simple and Concise

Keep text messages concise, simple, to the point—and with a clear call to action (CTA). Customers do not want to read through a large block of writing. Texts with the highest engagement have no more than 20 words.

3. Personalization and Exclusivity 

Personalize messages for even greater success. Enhance relationships with your customers by addressing them by name or referring to relevant information.

Boost subscriber opt-ins with exclusive offers, unavailable through your other platforms. Add special personal details (like an anniversary or birthday) to their contact information and you’ll be able to extend VIP offers and special promotions to help them celebrate their big day at your restaurant.

4. Utilizing Notifications to a Restaurant’s Advantage

With the current environment, notifications and real-time alerts may be more important than ever.

Keep your customers, along with your staff, well-informed as you move through various stages of reopening. Implement a designated Keyword so all customers can choose to receive updates about any new hours of operation and how to order. Keywords can also streamline tasks like informing employees of relevant health information, scheduling and more. Integrate customized templates to issue alerts when orders are nearly ready or to provide pick-up instructions for proper social distancing protocols or even send payment confirmation. 

Everyone has their phone within an arm’s length at almost all times, so restaurants know their customers are getting their updates as quickly as possible. Ninety percent of texts are responded to within 30 minutes of receipt. It’s a fast system that yields unbeatable results. 

5. Never Miss an Order

You’d hate to miss an order a customer might unwittingly text to your business landline, right? Either you’d lose business altogether (if, say, it was a delivery order) or that customer might get annoyed at having a longer wait than expected—not to mention the added stress on staff.

Instead, text-enable your business phone to ensure all orders, reservation requests, and any other support questions are received and promptly addressed. An added bonus: it provides a restauranter the ability for more personalized one-on-one chats, which translates into much better customer service, repeat customers, and a healthier bottom line.

Text message marketing delivers unprecedented engagement rates, and is paving the path for the future of marketing strategies. Following these tips ensures your text marketing campaign is successful and benefits both you and your valued customers.