Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Vahagn Aydinyan Headshot

5 Creative SMS And NFC Ideas To Make Your Restaurant More Interactive

Posted: Updated:
Blend Images - REB Images via Getty Images

If you own a restaurant, you know how wonderfully rewarding the business can be. You also know tough it can be to consistently turn a profit.

Fortunately, advances in technology like text message marketing and near field communication (NFC) are creating exciting new ways for restaurant owners to reach existing and potential customers. Consider the following developments:

Interactive Offline Ads

NFC technology allows potential customers to access detailed information about your restaurant by simply tapping their smartphone on an NFC-enabled advertisement (be it a billboard or "smart poster").

For example, you can put up smart posters (enabled with NFC chips) allowing users to instantly pull up all the info your company has embedded. That could be your restaurant's menu, prices, promotions, customer reviews, etc.

Interactive offline ads can also be a jumping-off point for your text message marketing campaign: Customers can use the ad to opt-in to receiving future marketing communications via text message.

Touch Orders

More and more restaurants are now using electronic ordering systems. Customers are given NFC-enabled menus that allow them to tap items for detailed product descriptions and even place orders.

This allows restaurants to organize orders without waiters or queues, maximizing efficiency and cutting down on mishaps such as lost or confused orders.

SMS Survey and Quick SMS Feedback

Text message surveys are probably the best way to learn more about your customers. For one, they are very convenient for the customer to fill out. All they require is that the customer has a mobile phone and opt-in to receive text messages from you.

You send the survey, and they can instantly provide feedback on their dining experience. Because text messages have a 95 per cent open rate, chances are your survey will be filled out.

A great way to incentivize customer responses to a text message survey is to offer an in-store reward like a coupon or free meal. Promising them something before they leave the restaurant is a great way to get feedback and build loyalty.

NFC Social Media Engagement

NFC technology promises exciting opportunities for social media engagement. Customers can tap social media icons on menus, cups, leaflets or tables and instantly share or check in at the restaurant.

Imagine the free advertising you can get through social media exposure. Customers can also share information about your restaurant--depending on how much info is made available on your Facebook page -- and post it online before getting up from the table.

Loyalty Coupons

Are you familiar with the phrase "mobile wallet?" People have begun using their mobile devices to pay for items, meaning credit cards will eventually become obsolete. The same principle goes for coupons. Rather than carrying around a wad of paper coupons, most diners would prefer to scan a text message barcode directly from their mobile phone.

SMS loyalty coupons aren't just more convenient for customers. They also let your restaurant track analytics. Text message marketing platforms offer built-in analytics, meaning your business can keep track of real-time statistics on coupon request/redemption, location, date, and time of use.

This blog post originally appeared on TTAG Systems' SMS Marketing Blog.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook