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The Best Times and Strategies for Using Push Notifications to Engage Customers

The Best Times and Strategies for Using Push Notifications to Engage Customers

TLDR

Achieving 50% opening rates, a 7 times click-through rate,  and 93% retention rate. Sounds ideal, right? 

We are not talking about something out-of-the-world marketing strategy here. These statistics represent the success recorded in push notification marketing across various industries, including the food industry. Now it's your time to take those marketing efforts to the next level with targeted push notifications. Used strategically, push notifications can be an incredibly powerful way to engage your customers and drive sales. The key is using them at optimal times and employing effective strategies. 

Push Notifications: What Are They and Why Restaurants Should Use Them

Push notifications are messages sent directly to customers’ mobile devices. For restaurants, they are an effective way to engage customers and drive sales. Here are some of the best strategies to use push notifications:

  • Promote new menu items or daily specials. As soon as you roll out something new, send a push notification to spread the word. Your regulars will appreciate the heads-up about the latest dish or drink you’re offering.
  • Offer time-sensitive deals and discounts. Push notifications are perfect for sharing flash sales, happy hour specials, and limited-time offers. Customers can instantly redeem the deal on their next visit.
  • Reward your loyal customers. Use push notifications to send exclusive rewards, coupon codes, and VIP offers to your dedicated fans. They’ll love the special treatment and incentive to return again soon.
  • Announce upcoming events. Let customers know about your next beer tasting, guest chef appearance, or live music event. Build buzz and increase turnout by promoting the details through engaging push notifications.
  • Drive slow day sales. If you have certain days of the week or times that are less busy, use push notifications to entice people in with special deals and promotions during those periods. You’ll give customers a reason to choose your place, even at off-peak hours.
  • Stay top of mind. Send occasional push notifications just to remind people you’re there. A simple message highlighting your hours, location, or menu can help keep your restaurant at the front of customers’ minds for their next meal out.

When used strategically and thoughtfully, push notifications to give restaurants a direct line of communication to drive action and loyalty.

The Best Times to Send Push Notifications to Customers

The best times to send push notifications are when your customers are most likely to engage with them. For restaurants, Fridays and Saturdays are ideal, especially for dinner rushes. Studies show the largest cohort of users are receptive to messages during peak mealtimes on weekends.

Fridays and Saturdays, 5-8 pm

Send messages promoting your specials, happy hours, or events. People are planning their evenings and weekends, so your restaurant will be top of mind.

Weekdays, 11 am-2 pm (lunch) and 6-9 pm (dinner)

Working professionals have limited time for lunch and often dine out for dinner, so flash a coupon or offer to grab their attention. For young families, send kid-friendly meal deals around 7 pm when they’re planning dinners.

Late evenings, 9-11 pm

Night owls may still be on the hunt for food. Tap into the late-night crowd with a snack or drink specials to capture those final sales.

Other strategies to keep in mind:

  • Personalize messages using customers’ names and past order details whenever possible. People engage more with personalized content.
  • Keep messages short and actionable. Be concise and direct customers to your app or website.
  • Vary message content and avoid sending the same notification repeatedly. Mix up offers, events, and general messaging to keep it interesting.
  • A/B tests different messages, timing, and frequencies to see what resonates most with your customers. Then optimize based on open and click-through rates.
  • Promote your push notification feature through social media, email, and in-store marketing. Educate customers on how to opt in for the best deals and the latest news from your restaurant.

With the right messaging and timing, push notifications can be a powerful tool for any restaurant looking to boost sales, build loyalty, and stay connected to customers. Done well, these small but mighty messages pack a big punch.

5 Strategies for Using Push Notifications Effectively

Push notifications are a powerful tool for engaging customers, but they need to be used strategically. Here are 5 strategies to keep in mind:

Personalize the Messages

Personalizing push notifications based on customer interests, preferences, and behavior is key. Send tailored messages highlighting their favorite menu items or deals. For example, notify frequent coffee drinkers about a new seasonal latte. Customers will appreciate the personal touch.

Leverage Key Moments

Push notifications are most effective when sent at opportune times. For example, notify customers when they’re most likely hungry - around typical mealtimes. You can also create a sense of urgency, like notifying them when they're near your location. For example, send a message like “You're only 2 minutes away! Stop in for a free cookie with any purchase.”

Place Requests on High-Traffic Pages

Add push notification requests on high-traffic areas of your website and app, like the homepage. This makes it easy for customers to opt-in and will boost your engagement rates.

Vary the Content

Push notifications should contain a mix of content to keep customers engaged, such as:

  • Limited-time offers and deals
  • Sneak peeks at new menu items
  • Interesting food photos
  • Fun facts or trivia
  • Holiday greetings

Avoid sending the same type of generic message repeatedly. Mix it up!

Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

Always include an easy way for customers to unsubscribe from push notifications. While the goal is to keep them engaged, it's important to give them control over the types of communications they receive from you. An unsubscribe link in each message is a must.

Kinos Coffee

Examples of Push Notifications Driving Sales for Restaurants

Push notifications are an extremely effective way for restaurants to drive sales and engage customers. By sending messages at strategic times, you can motivate people to order delivery or dine in.

Examples of Winning Push Notification Campaigns

For breakfast restaurants, send a notification around 7-8 am promoting your breakfast menu or a special offer on coffee and pastries. Mention the great way to start the day.

For lunch, send a notification around 11 am highlighting your daily specials, soups, and salads. You might say something like “Our award-winning chili is hot and ready - come get a bowl for just $6 today!” Include a coupon code for a free side or drink to encourage people to stop by.

In the afternoon, promote your happy hour or early bird dinner specials to capture those looking for an after-work bite or drink. A message like “Relax after a long day - $5 appetizers and drink specials from 3 to 6 pm” is sure to get attention and drive traffic during a typically slow period.

For dinner, share a notification around 5-6 pm to reach people starting to think about what to eat. Spotlight a popular entree or new seasonal menu item. You could say “Our famous BBQ ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender tonight. Come get a full rack for just $15!”

Additional Tips for Effective Push Notifications

  • Personalize messages based on location, purchase history, and customer preferences for the most relevance.
  • Keep messages short and eye-catching, with a clear call to action.
  • Vary the types of offers and deals to keep things interesting. Discounts, freebies, contests, and loyalty programs are all good options.
  • Pay attention to the timing of messages for maximum impact. Push notifications should enhance the customer experience, not annoy them, so be strategic and sparing with frequency.
  • Track the performance of different campaigns to optimize your messaging and continue improving results. Push notifications, when done right, are a powerful tool for any restaurant.

How Per Diem's New Push Notifications Can Boost Engagement and Sales for Restaurants

Per Diem’s new push notification feature allows restaurants to reach customers instantly with messages. Used strategically, push notifications can significantly boost engagement and drive sales.

Time Your Messages for Maximum Impact

Push notifications work best when sent at optimal times. For restaurants, the best times are:

  • Around lunch (11 am-1 pm) or dinner (5-7 pm) to promote daily specials or discounts. Sending messages during peak mealtimes catches customers when they’re already thinking about dining out.
  • Mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday) in the late afternoon or early evening. Many customers plan their weekend activities and dining in the middle of the week. Promoting your business at this time increases the chance of being part of their weekend plans.
  • Within an hour of closing promote any last-minute specials. This captures both regulars and those looking for a late-night meal.

Personalize Messages Based on Customer Data

Per Diem allows restaurants to tailor push notifications to specific customer segments based on data like:

  • Past orders: Notify customers about new menu items similar to their favorite dishes. For example, notify frequent burger customers about a new burger special.
  • Loyalty or rewards program status: Send exclusive offers or rewards to your most loyal customers. Make them feel valued and encourage repeat business.
  • Birthday or anniversary: Wish customers a happy birthday or anniversary and include a special offer or reward. Personalized well-wishes make a memorable impact and build goodwill.

Final Thoughts

You have the power to create meaningful connections and drive real results with your customers. Implementing a thoughtful push notification strategy for your restaurant is a powerful way to stay top of mind, encourage return visits, boost sales, and build loyalty. With the right message, timing, and personalization, push notifications ensure you make the most of every customer interaction. Don't miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your relationships and impact your bottom line.

TLDR

Achieving 50% opening rates, a 7 times click-through rate,  and 93% retention rate. Sounds ideal, right? 

We are not talking about something out-of-the-world marketing strategy here. These statistics represent the success recorded in push notification marketing across various industries, including the food industry. Now it's your time to take those marketing efforts to the next level with targeted push notifications. Used strategically, push notifications can be an incredibly powerful way to engage your customers and drive sales. The key is using them at optimal times and employing effective strategies. 

Push Notifications: What Are They and Why Restaurants Should Use Them

Push notifications are messages sent directly to customers’ mobile devices. For restaurants, they are an effective way to engage customers and drive sales. Here are some of the best strategies to use push notifications:

  • Promote new menu items or daily specials. As soon as you roll out something new, send a push notification to spread the word. Your regulars will appreciate the heads-up about the latest dish or drink you’re offering.
  • Offer time-sensitive deals and discounts. Push notifications are perfect for sharing flash sales, happy hour specials, and limited-time offers. Customers can instantly redeem the deal on their next visit.
  • Reward your loyal customers. Use push notifications to send exclusive rewards, coupon codes, and VIP offers to your dedicated fans. They’ll love the special treatment and incentive to return again soon.
  • Announce upcoming events. Let customers know about your next beer tasting, guest chef appearance, or live music event. Build buzz and increase turnout by promoting the details through engaging push notifications.
  • Drive slow day sales. If you have certain days of the week or times that are less busy, use push notifications to entice people in with special deals and promotions during those periods. You’ll give customers a reason to choose your place, even at off-peak hours.
  • Stay top of mind. Send occasional push notifications just to remind people you’re there. A simple message highlighting your hours, location, or menu can help keep your restaurant at the front of customers’ minds for their next meal out.

When used strategically and thoughtfully, push notifications to give restaurants a direct line of communication to drive action and loyalty.

The Best Times to Send Push Notifications to Customers

The best times to send push notifications are when your customers are most likely to engage with them. For restaurants, Fridays and Saturdays are ideal, especially for dinner rushes. Studies show the largest cohort of users are receptive to messages during peak mealtimes on weekends.

Fridays and Saturdays, 5-8 pm

Send messages promoting your specials, happy hours, or events. People are planning their evenings and weekends, so your restaurant will be top of mind.

Weekdays, 11 am-2 pm (lunch) and 6-9 pm (dinner)

Working professionals have limited time for lunch and often dine out for dinner, so flash a coupon or offer to grab their attention. For young families, send kid-friendly meal deals around 7 pm when they’re planning dinners.

Late evenings, 9-11 pm

Night owls may still be on the hunt for food. Tap into the late-night crowd with a snack or drink specials to capture those final sales.

Other strategies to keep in mind:

  • Personalize messages using customers’ names and past order details whenever possible. People engage more with personalized content.
  • Keep messages short and actionable. Be concise and direct customers to your app or website.
  • Vary message content and avoid sending the same notification repeatedly. Mix up offers, events, and general messaging to keep it interesting.
  • A/B tests different messages, timing, and frequencies to see what resonates most with your customers. Then optimize based on open and click-through rates.
  • Promote your push notification feature through social media, email, and in-store marketing. Educate customers on how to opt in for the best deals and the latest news from your restaurant.

With the right messaging and timing, push notifications can be a powerful tool for any restaurant looking to boost sales, build loyalty, and stay connected to customers. Done well, these small but mighty messages pack a big punch.

5 Strategies for Using Push Notifications Effectively

Push notifications are a powerful tool for engaging customers, but they need to be used strategically. Here are 5 strategies to keep in mind:

Personalize the Messages

Personalizing push notifications based on customer interests, preferences, and behavior is key. Send tailored messages highlighting their favorite menu items or deals. For example, notify frequent coffee drinkers about a new seasonal latte. Customers will appreciate the personal touch.

Leverage Key Moments

Push notifications are most effective when sent at opportune times. For example, notify customers when they’re most likely hungry - around typical mealtimes. You can also create a sense of urgency, like notifying them when they're near your location. For example, send a message like “You're only 2 minutes away! Stop in for a free cookie with any purchase.”

Place Requests on High-Traffic Pages

Add push notification requests on high-traffic areas of your website and app, like the homepage. This makes it easy for customers to opt-in and will boost your engagement rates.

Vary the Content

Push notifications should contain a mix of content to keep customers engaged, such as:

  • Limited-time offers and deals
  • Sneak peeks at new menu items
  • Interesting food photos
  • Fun facts or trivia
  • Holiday greetings

Avoid sending the same type of generic message repeatedly. Mix it up!

Make it Easy to Unsubscribe

Always include an easy way for customers to unsubscribe from push notifications. While the goal is to keep them engaged, it's important to give them control over the types of communications they receive from you. An unsubscribe link in each message is a must.

Kinos Coffee

Examples of Push Notifications Driving Sales for Restaurants

Push notifications are an extremely effective way for restaurants to drive sales and engage customers. By sending messages at strategic times, you can motivate people to order delivery or dine in.

Examples of Winning Push Notification Campaigns

For breakfast restaurants, send a notification around 7-8 am promoting your breakfast menu or a special offer on coffee and pastries. Mention the great way to start the day.

For lunch, send a notification around 11 am highlighting your daily specials, soups, and salads. You might say something like “Our award-winning chili is hot and ready - come get a bowl for just $6 today!” Include a coupon code for a free side or drink to encourage people to stop by.

In the afternoon, promote your happy hour or early bird dinner specials to capture those looking for an after-work bite or drink. A message like “Relax after a long day - $5 appetizers and drink specials from 3 to 6 pm” is sure to get attention and drive traffic during a typically slow period.

For dinner, share a notification around 5-6 pm to reach people starting to think about what to eat. Spotlight a popular entree or new seasonal menu item. You could say “Our famous BBQ ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender tonight. Come get a full rack for just $15!”

Additional Tips for Effective Push Notifications

  • Personalize messages based on location, purchase history, and customer preferences for the most relevance.
  • Keep messages short and eye-catching, with a clear call to action.
  • Vary the types of offers and deals to keep things interesting. Discounts, freebies, contests, and loyalty programs are all good options.
  • Pay attention to the timing of messages for maximum impact. Push notifications should enhance the customer experience, not annoy them, so be strategic and sparing with frequency.
  • Track the performance of different campaigns to optimize your messaging and continue improving results. Push notifications, when done right, are a powerful tool for any restaurant.

How Per Diem's New Push Notifications Can Boost Engagement and Sales for Restaurants

Per Diem’s new push notification feature allows restaurants to reach customers instantly with messages. Used strategically, push notifications can significantly boost engagement and drive sales.

Time Your Messages for Maximum Impact

Push notifications work best when sent at optimal times. For restaurants, the best times are:

  • Around lunch (11 am-1 pm) or dinner (5-7 pm) to promote daily specials or discounts. Sending messages during peak mealtimes catches customers when they’re already thinking about dining out.
  • Mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday) in the late afternoon or early evening. Many customers plan their weekend activities and dining in the middle of the week. Promoting your business at this time increases the chance of being part of their weekend plans.
  • Within an hour of closing promote any last-minute specials. This captures both regulars and those looking for a late-night meal.

Personalize Messages Based on Customer Data

Per Diem allows restaurants to tailor push notifications to specific customer segments based on data like:

  • Past orders: Notify customers about new menu items similar to their favorite dishes. For example, notify frequent burger customers about a new burger special.
  • Loyalty or rewards program status: Send exclusive offers or rewards to your most loyal customers. Make them feel valued and encourage repeat business.
  • Birthday or anniversary: Wish customers a happy birthday or anniversary and include a special offer or reward. Personalized well-wishes make a memorable impact and build goodwill.

Final Thoughts

You have the power to create meaningful connections and drive real results with your customers. Implementing a thoughtful push notification strategy for your restaurant is a powerful way to stay top of mind, encourage return visits, boost sales, and build loyalty. With the right message, timing, and personalization, push notifications ensure you make the most of every customer interaction. Don't miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your relationships and impact your bottom line.

Doron Segal
Doron Segal

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky
Tomer Molovinsky

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Ashley Rodriguez
Ashley Rodriguez

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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