The Perfect SMS Campaign for Restaurants and Takeaways

by James Scott6 Min Read

I can’t remember the last time that I received a leaflet or offer booklet from any of my local takeaways. But I do probably on a biweekly basis get a text from my local pizza place, and I am sad to say the majority of the time I succumb to their offer and order a pizza. Not good for my health, but boy are they tasty.

With technology ever evolving, and with the world becoming ever more impulsive, consumers just want to do everything quickly and easily. And SMS hits the nail on the head when it comes to being quick, easy, convenient and effective.

Mobile offers are redeemed 10x more frequently than print offers (Source: eMarketer)

Setting up and sending a text message takes less than a minute. It then takes about 5 seconds to be delivered, and with 90 percent of all messages being read within 3 minutes, it only takes a matter of minutes from your SMS being created, to it being read by your customer.

Once it has been read, what all businesses dream for is the customer to take action from it - but this isn’t always the case.

I have received some great texts from various takeaways and restaurants I have eaten at over the years, with the majority of the time after receiving the text, I end up going or ordering the very same day.

But unfortunately, I have also received some terrible messages. This ranges from spelling mistakes, an offer that wasn’t even worth my time where they offered £5 off when I ordered over £40 worth of food, and all the way through to receiving a message at 9:30 in the morning. Yes, that’s right, they wanted me to order a Chinese at 9:30 in the morning.

These messages really get to me, not just because I have worked in marketing my whole life, but because with a little time and common sense they could have been fixed.

With all this in mind, I have written a three-step guide on how to create and send the percent SMS campaign. From a list of things all restaurants and takeaways should and shouldn’t be doing, a couple of great example messages, and finishing off with when the percent time is to send your SMS.

The Do’s and Don’ts of SMS Marketing

When creating your message there are some things that you must do, like including an opt-out option, otherwise you could be hit with a hefty fine. And some things that you really don’t want to do, like using slang.

Have a read of the do’s and don’ts list below.

Do say who you are – make sure that in the body of the message you say who you are. You could also have the sender ID as your company name.

Don’t overload your message – SMS stands for Short Message Service, the key word being ‘short’. Don’t pack your message with a whole bunch of useless information, keep it simple, very rarely should you go over 1 message, and definitely not over 2 messages.

Do include an opt-out option – don’t waste your time and money by constantly messaging customers who don’t want to hear from you. Add an opt out option on all your marketing messages. If you don’t give customers an easy way to opt out, you could get fined.

Don’t send without permission – with GDPR you have to have legitimate interests in why you are sending that customer the message. So only send messages to your existing customers or customers who have given you the ok to do so.

Do test and check spelling – I would say before anything else, check your spelling. It really doesn’t look good if you are constantly including spelling and grammar mistakes in your messages.

Don’t use slang – yes it is SMS, but long are the days of using slang. Customers don’t want that anymore, it isn’t 2002.

Do include a call to action – make sure you give the customer an option to book a table or order some food. Include a phone number or website, or even better both. Make it easy for people to take action from your message.

Don’t use the same offer – I know if I kept getting the same offer week in week out, I would soon get annoyed and start to ignore them. Keep it fresh using different offers.

Writing the Perfect Message

Being able to communicate with customers is easy, send them a text message. With 87 percent of people always having their smartphone at their side day and night, you know that your message is going to be seen almost instantly.

But being able to persuade them can be a bit trickier. It is very much like the ‘elevator pitch’. You have very little time to persuade someone you are the right choice for their meal that evening. So, if you haven’t got a Shakespeare or a Hemingway in your restaurant creating amazing persuasive marketing messages, then you could get stuck.

So below is a couple of great example messages, that I hope get your juices flowing, or if they don’t, feel free to just copy them and use them in you SMS campaign.

Treat yourself! Sometimes you need treat and you deserve a nice one… check out our brand-new menu and book a table or order a takeaway tonight www.link.com

The best way to get over the Monday blues is with a big fat cheesy pizza. So why not order an XL pizza for only £12.99 and get a free side as well www.link.com

Happy Birthday Sophie! Whoop Whoop! Your present from us, is a free desert and 25 percent off the whole bill. To book a table please call us on 01234567890

3 COURSE MEAL FOR £10. Choose from wide range of starters, mains, & deserts. FREE drink with all KIDS MEALS. Book now www.link.com or call us on 01234567890

Come and join us tonight for our Fun Friday weekly event. Drinks, karaoke, 2 for 1 on all meals. What more do you want. Book now 01234567890

Peter you are a super star, I hope you know that. Because you are such a star have a free large pizza on us when you order another large pizza www.link.com

Best Time to Send Your Message

Your text message ticks all the ‘do’ boxes and doesn’t break any rules. Your message content is percent and is guaranteed to bring in a whole load of sales. Now you just need to send that message – but when is the best time of the day, or even when is the best day in the week to send these messages and get the most out of SMS marketing?

Because sending a message at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday will not get any responses, and if you wake someone up, that could mean a lost customer right there.

Text Marketer has undertaken a huge research project where they found the best time in the day to send your campaigns. Below are the findings from that report and shows when the most popular time for restaurants and takeaways is to send SMS marketing messages.

Weekdays Best Time and Days

Below are the three most popular times in the day broken down into one-hour slots.

5-6 p.m. (37 percent)– The most popular time by a long way is the ‘going home’ time and just before people have made up their mind about what to eat that night.

4-5 p.m. (12 percent)– The ‘I want to go home’ hour where people have completed most of their work and start to think about going home, and what’s for food that evening.

3-4 p.m. (12 percent)– Again just like the 4pm – 5pm slot, lunch has been fully digested, and people are starting to get hungry again.

The most popular time to send marketing messages in the week is a Friday, with twice as many messages going out on a Friday compared to any other day of the working week.

Weekends Best Time and Days

5 -6 p.m. (37 percent)–Just like in the week the most popular time to send is just before people start thinking about what they are going to eat that evening.

11 a.m.-12 p.m. (15 percent)– Over the weekend a great time to send is just before lunch. People tend to indulge more at the weekend and a nice tasting lunch is the perfect solution.

4-5 p.m. (12 percent)– Again the late afternoon is a popular time with most people having finished their weekend activities by this time and just before the evening meal. Giving people enough time to ring their friends and order up some food.

Saturday is the most popular day in the whole week for restaurants and takeaways to send SMS messages. 94 percent of messages on a Saturday are sent out between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.

If I was to summaries the best time to send messages to your customers, it would be just before they plan to eat, around 5:00 pm, and in particular on a Friday or Saturday, where most people tend to go out or order food and watch a movie.

By just following these three very simple steps when creating your SMS campaigns, your restaurants will be full to the brim, and your phone lines will be off the hook.

So maybe start hiring more people now, because SMS is coming.

Working with Modern Restaurant Management we are giving you 250 free credits and a completely free SMS marketing account - sign up with Text Marketer and use the Promo Code MODERN and enjoy your free credits.

James Scott

@TextMarketerLtd | LinkedIn | Website

James Scott is a Digital Marketer at Text Marketer. He is passionate about all things marketing and has an extent knowledge on SMS marketing. He has worked closely alongside big brands to implement and manage SMS campaigns.

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