In 2017, the number of new restaurants opening increased from a net average of 743 to 1,333 – that’s 44 percent growth. This is great for consumers who enjoy more choice and competition driving standards ever higher, but it’s increasingly hard for new restaurants to be noticed, and even harder for long standing restaurants to keep their customers. This is reflected in the fact that the number of UK restaurants going bust increased by 20 percent in the same period.
RCS will be better equipped to attract customers than SMS because it will allow restaurants owners to include multiple images or their food.
So how are restaurants able to survive in this ever-competitive market? Well SMS marketing holds a key factor in the success of any businesses, especially restaurants.
Millions of forward thinking restaurants are already using SMS to communicate with diners, informing them of new menus, exciting new dishes, special offers, confirming reservations and much more. SMS marketing is such a powerful tool that a simple text message sent out at the right time can be the difference between a successful night, and a poor night.
Now imagine an upgrade to SMS, which allows you to receive texts that automatically create table bookings, select dishes ahead of schedule, provide directions to new locations and much more. This is the potential of RCS.
What is RCS?
RCS stands for Rich Communication Service; it is being developed as an upgrade to SMS and will improve upon the functionality offered by SMS. It delivers rich media – think images, videos, maps, Call To Action buttons and calendars – and is a truly interactive experience for recipients.
How Restaurants Will be Able to Use RCS
But how will allowing customers the ability to interact with a message help restaurants?
There are a multitude of ways that restaurants will be able to use RCS, one being allowing restaurants to promote and attract customers better, and another, reminding customers of a reservation and allowing them to cancel or change their reservation more easily.
Promote and attract customer better – SMS marketing is widely used to sell a product or service, and this doesn’t differ for restaurants. Restaurant owners can send a text message to their customers with an enticing promotional offer in and watch as customers come flooding in. Therefore, as RCS is an upgrade to SMS, restaurant owners will be able to replicate this process, but with a better conversion.
RCS will be better equipped to attract customers than SMS because it will allow restaurants owners to include multiple images or their food. Being able to see the different dishes that restaurants offer will give customers a visual representation of the restaurant without having to go onto the website. And whose mouth doesn’t water when seeing a tasty dish?
You’ll also be able to provide information on demand such as the availability of vegan or gluten-free dishes, and what child-friendly facilities are available.
Further, restaurant owners will be able to include a button that will allow customers to book a table. When the customer clicks the button to make a reservation, within the body of the message, a calendar will open where they will be able to select their desired day, time, and number of people dining, all without leaving their messaging screen.
Remind customers of their reservation – British restaurants are losing 16 billion pounds every year to people not turning up to their reservations. SMS reminder messages help reduce no shows, and with RCS, it’s likely that this will further decrease customers not showing up.
With RCS customers would receive the reminder message, which would include their booking information; they would then have two buttons to choose from. One to confirm their reservation, so restaurants know they are definitely coming, meaning if the customer was a bit late they could hold the table a little longer than usual knowing that the customer is coming. The other button would be for cancelling or changing the reservation, which when pressed a calendar would open in the messaging screen, showing days and times to which they could change their booking.
SMS has been around for nearly 30 years, so an upgrade was inevitable, and with what RCS will be able to offer restaurants, I for one am excited with the prospect of receiving rich content from my favourite restaurants and dining out even more.