5 SMS marketing campaigns for restaurants and takeaways

Need a little inspiration to increase bookings and orders in the week? Try adding these SMS campaigns to your marketing mix.

Running a restaurant or takeaway business can feel like you’re on an eternal roller coaster. One minute you’re juggling dozens of orders, the next you’re polishing the same piece of cutlery for an hour.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Sending bulk SMS campaigns is the proven method to generate more income for the food and drink industry. Recently, Shelly’s Restaurant spent £28 on one promotional SMS marketing campaign and received more than £400 worth of bookings within five hours.

The truth is, although text messaging originated back in 1992, as a marketing channel, it continues to grow year on year. According to The State of SMS, 8.3 million have opted in to receive SMS communications from takeaways, and 10.3 million in the restaurant industry. These figures are set to reach 13.1 (takeaway) and 13.2 (restaurant) by 2020. In other words, consumers are hungry for SMS marketing.

And then there’s the fact that it boasts an unparalleled 98% open rate and average 32% response rate. What’s more, 66% of consumers want to hear from restaurants, bars and takeaways at least once a month or more via SMS. So, the question is: what’s stopping you from using it?

Understandably, new concepts of marketing can give you the same feeling of anxiety you get when you launch a new menu. However, as your connoisseur of SMS marketing, I’ve put together a few red-hot examples to help your business generate more bookings and orders.

On the spot discounts

Fancy building a bigger mobile opt-in list and increasing sales all in one go? Good news, it’s very easy to do. Simply include an SMS short code and keyword on a sign in the restaurant window.

In exchange for them texting in, offer them on the spot discounts to your menu. This is particularly effective for restaurants and takeaways on busy high streets, as hungry pedestrians will feel more obliged to pay you a visit. After all, who doesn’t like to save a few quid? Just make sure your offer is irresistible.


Hi, thanks for the text. Here’s 50% off our lunch menu. Happy eating! Offer expires 11.59am tonight.

To learn more about building an opt-in mobile list using SMS short codes and keywords, take a look at my previous article.

Quick promotions produce quick results

Try sending a bulk SMS campaign with a ‘first come, first serve’ promotion. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to shift certain items on the menu.


First come, first serve Matt! Get a free ice cream sundae with any meal at Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant. Available for the first 25 customers.

Make quiet hours, happy hours

Time-sensitive offers are a fantastic way to generate more bookings and orders during your quiet afternoon periods. One bulk SMS campaign can raise awareness and give you an opportunity to get customers to buy more once they’re in.


Start your night early Lucy! Enjoy 2 for 1 on cocktails and beers at The Bear Inn between 4 pm and 6 pm today.

Loyalty leads to success

SMS loyalty schemes are a great way to bring in customers on a weekly basis.

Physical loyalty cards are easy to forget, so send your customers their very own personal one via SMS. This way, they’ll be just a swipe away from it when they visit you or order online.

You can then reward them with exclusive discounts and freebies when they dine with you a certain amount of times.


Hi Rachael, you’re just one medium pizza away from a free one! Here’s the La Casa Di Pizza menu (in case you fancy ordering)

Weekly specials

SMS marketing campaigns are also a wonderful opportunity to instantly keep your customers in the loop with your menu. Send an SMS with a trackable link to a page on your website or a PDF. This could include weekly specials, menu changes, or further information on opening times.

You can use the Textlocal online platform to monitor how many customers click on the link, and then target them with specific offers.


Hi Charlotte, the new menu for Shanghai House is here

Like what you see Charlotte? Order from our new takeaway menu before 7 pm tonight and receive a spicy 20% off

open rate

Over 98% of the text messages sent from our SMS tool are opened and read. That’s unmatched communication power for your business. Try it for yourself.