Beyond Discounts: Creative Ways to Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement

moody close up of a hand texting on a phone

Text marketing has become a proven customer engagement tool for restaurants, coffee shops, and hospitality businesses. It’s a direct line to your customers, offering incredible engagement potential. But let’s be honest: a constant barrage of discount offers can get repetitive, both for you and your customers. So how can you leverage text marketing to truly connect with your audience and stand out from the crowd?

At Olive + Leo, we love helping the hospitality businesses who use our platform find new and effective ways to build genuine connections with their audience. While discounts have their place, we’ve seen a variety of creative text marketing campaigns that spark genuine excitement and inspire customers to take action. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top text marketing strategies that go beyond the traditional discount. These ideas will help you spark excitement, foster loyalty, and ultimately, drive more customers through your doors.

7 Creative Ways Restaurants Can Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement

Here are a few creative text campaigns you can send through the Olive + Leo platform to entice customers: 

  1. New Menu Item Teasers

Instead of simply announcing a new dish, create a sense of anticipation. You could send a text with a mouthwatering photo and a description highlighting unique ingredients or preparation methods. Generate anticipation and excitement, making customers eager to try your latest creation.

Sample text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A close-up photo of a sizzling steak topped with chimichurri sauce.
  • Text: Calling all steak lovers! Our new Sizzling Chimichurri Steak is arriving soon!  Marinated in our signature blend and grilled to perfection, it’s guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Be the first to try it this Friday!
  1. Chef’s Special Recipes or Secret Tips

Who wouldn’t love to learn the secrets behind their favorite dishes? That’s why sharing exclusive recipes or tips directly from your chef is a great way to highlight your delicious food and encourage customers to recreate the magic at home.

Sample text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A photo of the chef holding a stack of fresh pasta sheets.
  • Text: Top secret alert! Chef [Name] is sharing his secret pasta dough recipe with our loyal texters!  Get the recipe and impress your friends at your next dinner party. [LINK]
  1. Behind-the-Scenes Content

Give your customers a glimpse into the heart and soul of your restaurant. Showcase your team’s passion, share fun kitchen moments, or tell the story behind your unique ingredients. This personalized content helps customers feel more connected to your brand.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A short GIF of the kitchen staff laughing and preparing food.
  • Text: Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at [Restaurant Name]? We’re giving you a sneak peek! Today, the team is whipping up our famous [dish name] with love and laughter. Come try it for yourself!
  1. Themed Dining Nights

Transform ordinary days into memorable experiences with themed dining nights. Highlight special menu features, entertainment, or decorations through text messages, encouraging customers to join the fun.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A vibrant GIF or image of a lively “Taco Tuesday” celebration.
  • Text:  Taco ’bout a fiesta! Join us for “Taco Tuesdays” with $2 tacos, margaritas, and live music! Get your fiesta fix every Tuesday night!
  1. Community Spotlight

Partner with local artists, musicians, or performers to host memorable themed dining experiences with live entertainment. You could announce the event with a text message to your loyalty program members, including a short bio of the collaborator and highlighting menu pairings. This attracts new customers seeking unique experiences and supports local talent.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A photo of a local musician performing in your restaurant.
  • Text:  Get ready for a night of soulful sounds and delicious eats! Join us as we welcome [local artist name] for a live music performance this Friday. Enjoy specially curated menu items inspired by their music!
  1. “Foodie” Photo Contest

This is a great way to integrate social media and leverage the power of user-generated content! Encourage customers to take photos of their food at your restaurant and share them on social media with a specific hashtag. Offer a prize for the most creative or mouthwatering photo. 

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform: 

  • Image: A collage of delicious-looking dishes from your restaurant.
  • Text:  Show us your food love!  Show us your love for our food by sharing your best pic and using #[RestaurantHashtag]. You could win a free meal! Don’t forget to tag us!
  1. Loyalty Program Surprises

Surprise your loyal customers with a secret word or phrase they can use to unlock a hidden menu item or special offer. This rewards engagement, encourages repeat visits, and makes your most valued customers feel appreciated.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A secret dish or a GIF of someone saying “shhhh”
  • Text: Shhh! It’s a secret! Mention the word “SPICY KABOBS” during check-in to get access to a secret new [spicy dish name]! Special runs through the weekend (or as long as supplies last)!

Explore the Possibilities with Olive + Leo

Remember, text marketing is about more than just pushing promotions. By injecting creativity and building genuine connections, you can transform your restaurant into a vibrant community and attract customers who are excited to be part of it.

Ready to explore the possibilities? Olive + Leo offers the tools and expertise to help you craft unique and engaging text campaigns. Check out our flexible packages or sign up for a personalized demo to see how Olive + Leo can unleash your customer loyalty potential.

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