It probably won't come as a surprise that many younger people enjoy frequenting bars and restaurants. In the US alone, millennials spend more money on barhopping, dining out and coffee than other demographics.

As it happens, younger age groups also tend to text more often than other age groups. According to figures from Intelligent Contacts, people aged between 35 and 44 send an average of 52 texts per day – a much higher amount than their elders.

Therefore, a great way to reach the right target audience for bars, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and other recreational businesses is through SMS marketing. Read on to discover seven SMS marketing ideas to increase custom, plus example text messages you can copy and paste for your own campaigns.

Seven SMS marketing ideas for bars and nightclubs

Once you've gathered a list of SMS subscribers, there are many ways to engage them to get them to visit and spend money at your establishment (and bring along their friends).

1. Launch announcements

If you're opening for the first time, running a special event or launching a new seasonal menu, text message marketing is a fast and effective way to spread the word and ensure your bar, nightclub, or restaurant reaches capacity.


Hey [Name], our opening night is finally confirmed! Be among the first to see inside our vibrant nightclub. Book a ticket before we sell out: [URL]

New Afternoon Tea menu! Enjoy a selection of sandwiches, cakes and pastries served with traditional tea for just $19.99 pp. Book now: [URL]

2. Special offers or promotions

SMS is ideal for sending out quick mobile coupons when you need to increase bookings. Special promotions can help attract new customers and tempt existing patrons back through your doors. From happy hours and ladies' nights to food and drink bundles and birthday discounts for members of your loyalty programme, use texts to raise awareness. Why not use special deals to incentivise people to sign up for your SMS list?


Hi [Name], as a VIP member, we'd like to offer you a free ticket (worth $16.99) to our 80s Rock and Roll night this Friday! Grab it here: [URL]

Feeling the heat [Name]? Cool down in our air-conditioned beach-themed bar this weekend and get 2 for 1 on cocktails from 12-3pm.

3. Performance announcements

Live performances are a brilliant draw and can help get people talking about your establishment before and after the event. So whether you've booked a singer, band, DJ, spoken-word artist, or comedian, promote the gig via text message. (Works well for open-mic nights too).


For one night only, up-and-coming superstar Julian Jeffries is performing live at [Pub]! Already been featured in Future Music mag. Don't miss it! [URL]

Fancy a good giggle [Name]? Be entertained by Betty Jo's dry sense of humour and political wit on [Date] at [Time]. Book your ticket: [URL]

4. Special events

For bars and pubs, running a regular event can keep customers in your establishment for longer and ensure they return for more. Whether you offer a games night, pool tournament, pub quiz or beer-tasting session, use text messaging to let subscribers know.


Consider yourself a mastermind? Join us for our weekly pub quiz and be in with a chance to win $50! Come along every Weds evening at 7pm.

Hi [Name], we're running a karaoke night on the last Friday of the month. Show off your voice and party all night long! Learn more: [URL]

Example text message from a bar to a subscriber

5. Contests and surveys

Text-to-enter competitions in exchange for the chance to win prizes are ideal for getting signups to your SMS subscriber list. You could offer free tickets, a free meal, discounts on food and drink, a bottle of Champagne, etc.

A simple way to do this is to display flyers around your business premises, encouraging people to answer a question via text to be entered into a competition. (Do the same on your website.) You can also use SMS in this way to drive existing subscribers to your social media channels to help build an omnichannel mobile marketing strategy.

Text surveys are helpful in getting feedback from patrons so you can improve your services. Send a quick text after a customer has visited your business to ask about their experience.

Text-to-enter competition promotion example:

How would you like to win a complimentary three-course meal for yourself and a guest? Bottle of wine included! Simply text 12345 and answer this question: on average, how often do you eat out per year? (By entering this competition, we'll add you to our SMS marketing list to notify you about special deals, events and news.)

Text survey example:

Hi [Name], we hope you enjoyed your time at [Nightclub] last night! Could you take 2 mins to answer a quick survey? Reply Y/N.

6. Partnership or collaboration announcements

Collaborative events can add interest to your offering and attract customers, so it makes sense to inform subscribers when a new opportunity arises. For example, if you run a bar or pub, you might want to partner with one of your breweries to provide a beer-tasting event. Other instances where you might partner with another supplier include outside catering, craft stalls, face painting and more.


Great news! [Bar Name] has partnered with Banging Burger Co to provide our customers with tasty, succulent burgers every Saturday from 12pm to 9pm!

Hi [Name], we have a face painter on the premises this Sunday! So bring your little ones along for a Sunday lunch to remember. Book now: [URL]

7. Fundraiser announcements

Occasionally, you may need to raise money to support your business or a community charity. Text marketing is highly effective for drumming up much-needed funds.


All proceeds from Saturday's ticket sales will go to STOP, a domestic violence shelter for men and women. Help us keep our community safe. Book here: [URL]

Hi [Name], our local primary school needs funds to create a fully-stocked library. Can you help? Whatever you give, we'll match your donation. [URL]

Some special rules for bar and nightclub marketing

Alcohol is a major component of a bar, pub, club and restaurant business model. Certain rules need to be followed when advertising alcohol-related content, such as promotions on alcoholic drinks or beer tastings.

The US Federal Trade Commission, for example, stipulates that alcohol advertising shouldn't target people under the age of 21. So if you're planning to advertise alcohol and are US-based, you'll need to ensure underaged people can't subscribe to your SMS marketing database.

In other countries, the age limit for alcohol advertising varies. In the UK, you can't advertise alcohol to anyone under 18. So look up your local laws and check your marketing messages are in line with texting regulations.

Getting started with text marketing

To send promotions via SMS for your bar, club or other hospitality business, you'll need to use a professional business text messaging service. As well as being scalable and compliant with local and international text messaging and data protection laws, a good provider will offer features such as:

Messente offers all of the above and is a global solution, enabling you to send texts to over 190 countries worldwide. You can sign up with Messente in just a few minutes using our intuitive online app. Best of all, with Messente, you only pay for the texts you send – and you can easily calculate pricing based on your requirements.

Group of 20-somethings using mobile phones

SMS: ideal for pub, bar and night clubs' marketing

If you want to increase pub, restaurant or bar patrons, or sell more tickets to your nightclub, SMS could be the best channel for your audience. It's the younger generations that like to frequent such establishments more than other demographics – and incidentally, this is the group that also appreciates text messaging.

Reaching your ideal customer via SMS is easy and fast. You can engage them through launch and performance announcements, special offers, upcoming events, contests, surveys, and more.

Get started today with Messente – create your free account.