Your restaurant’s regular and loyal customers want to be kept in the loop about what is going on and what to expect in the future. They want to know about special offers and promotions a specific restaurant is offering. They want to receive coupons and they want to make reservations and offer comments on feedback. Text message marketing can help you keep the lines of communication open with customers, to be able to send these offers out to your customer base. You can contact them with promotions and deals, send them news and updates, and engage with them for feedback to know how your business is doing and what you could do to change it and gain even more loyalty. Ninety-eight percent of marketing text messages get read, and 75 percent of customers say they’d prefer to have exclusive offers sent directly to their phone numbers, rather than be advertised to in the normal ways. Here is what you can do with text message marketing. Access Customer Feedback Knowing what aspects of the dining experience in your restaurant appeal to customers — and which do not — can mean the difference between a successful restaurant and a failed one. Customer feedback offers you the opportunity to improve the dining experience for your customers and have a more successful restaurant as you will be provided with feedback from customers and can make changes based on that feedback. But it is not always easy to collect. Short message service (SMS) texts are a more sophisticated way to collect customer feedback than the paper feedback cards of old, as technology grows, so do people using technology. Did anyone ever fill those cards out? Not really, and if they did, it was only because they had such a bad experience that they had to complain to someone. Many will take the time to provide feedback, fill out a survey, if its easily accessible and easy to use. But with text message marketing for restaurants, you can reach out to customers an hour or two after they’ve eaten, when the dining experience is still fresh in their minds, and gather information on what they liked and disliked. Customers can use keyword responses to interact with the survey messages, and, on your end, you can collect the data and use data analytics to wrest meaning from it. Build Loyalty If there is one thing customers love more than discounts, it is getting access to exclusive discounts no one else is getting. In return for opting into marketing text messages, customers will receive exclusive access to coupons, discounts, and deals that they would not be getting otherwise. This builds brand loyalty among customers who almost always feel like they’re getting something worthwhile out of the arrangement. Boost Sales The restaurant business is a hectic one, with ebbs and flows in purchasing patterns throughout the day, and that’s why it’s important to reach customers with a marketing campaign that can be deployed at specific times. The direct nature of SMS marketing means that you can afford to capitalize on the sense of urgency that a text message creates. Reach out to customers at times of day when they’re hungry and likely to be thinking about food, and you may find that they’re more receptive to your messaging. Carefully scheduled marketing messages can significantly boost sales simply by promoting awareness of your brand among the target market at a strategic time. Reduce No-Show Bookings The easier it is for customers to make bookings, the more bookings they’ll make, but if it’s hard to cancel those reservations, you can expect a lot more no-shows. SMS marketing offers you the opportunity to accept bookings via text, as well as confirm and cancel these bookings using the same means. Text message booking expands ease of booking access to customers who don’t like to talk on the phone, and those who can’t access online booking portals via your website. Even for those who have booked their tables using more traditional means, text booking tools can make it easier to cancel a booking at the last minute, which can pretty drastically cut down on no-shows. Automated reminder texts can prompt customers to confirm a booking or remind them that they need to cancel the booking — and make doing either as simple as sending a single text. Text message marketing is a new tool that many restaurants are using to great effect to connect with customers — and customers love it, too. Many prefer to receive special offers, promotions, and news via text, where they can feel individually catered to, rather than overwhelmed or clamored over. And, ultimately, isn’t connecting with individual customers to serve great food what the restaurant business is all about.