With a 98-plus percent open rate, text message marketing has given the barbecue brand a new and efficient way of communicating with guests. 

Like many brands, Famous Dave’s has a loyalty program, a mobile app, and an email list that it uses to send promotional e-blasts. But more recently, the barbecue brand has established text messaging as its go-to marketing channel.

Teaming up with Mobivity, a text message marketing company that specializes in guest engagement for restaurants, Famous Dave’s—a 147-unit BBQ brand—found that it was achieving its ROI nearly 50 times over using Mobivity’s Unified Messaging. 

One of the biggest reasons text messaging can be more effective than other forms of marketing is due to the relatively high open rate, which clocks in at over 98 percent. When compared to the 30 percent open rate for email, it’s easy to understand why brands like Famous Dave’s have prioritized SMS marketing. The partnership with Mobivity has been so fruitful that Famous Dave’s parent company, BBQ Holdings, recently rolled out Mobivity’s solution at all of their Granite City Food & Brewery locations, too. 

“We’re constantly on our phones,” says Al Hank, chief operating officer at Famous Dave’s. “I haven’t met a single person who deletes texts without first reading them. An email? They absolutely do. We found that our guests were doing the same.” 

Famous Dave’s used SMS messaging to promote specials like its $4 Burger Mondays, or $30 Feast Tuesday—a family style meal at an affordable price. In order to build up its database and be able to push those specials, the brand offered customers who texted “BBQ” to a designated phone number $3 off on their next order. As diners returned to restaurants, the database grew 17.5 percent in the first quarter of 2021. Hank reports that Famous Dave’s opted-in SMS subscriber database will likely overtake its loyalty program as the most popular marketing channel the brand has at its disposal. 

“Over the past year, we’ve seen that consumers have been pushed toward digital behaviors,” Hank says. “The demographic that didn’t interact digitally before the pandemic began to do that. What’s so great about SMS, though, is that the ease of use is there. All you have to do is text one word to a number and then fill out a brief questionnaire to opt in. The conversion rate is so much higher than getting somebody to download an app or open an email.” 

One of the reasons restaurant brands gravitate toward Mobivity’s platform is because text messaging is a personal channel that has to be done right. With Mobivity’s breadth of experience in engaging customers, messages are always tailored to ensure they do not feel invasive or irrelevant. 

“So much of what we do surrounds sending a message and making sure the content will mean something to the customer, and also making sure it’s delivered at the right time so that it feels relevant,” says Dennis Becker, CEO of Mobivity. “For example, if you’re in a college football town and it’s gameday, you have a real opportunity to text your subscriber base with a special that will connect with that fanbase to optimize engagement.” 

The texts can be measured by a specific patented redemption technology by Mobivity that shows which texts led customers to a transaction, helping show brands just how valuable the SMS messaging can be. 

Another reason restaurant brands choose Mobivity? Hank says he’s been as impressed with Mobivity’s customer service as he is with their product, saying he ranks the messaging company as one of Famous Dave’s most reliable partners. 

“Mobivity has been a true business partner,” Hank says. “They’ve been able to relate to every part of our business operations and the way restaurants run. Yes, we’ve seen great results with them, but to me the ongoing support and guidance in the way they are constantly looking to enhance our marketing makes them a true business partner. It is not just a transaction of services; I can get the CEO on the phone right now if I have questions. They’re an invaluable resource and a part of our team.” 

For more information, visit the Mobivity website


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