Recently our CEO has given a number of webinars on mobile coupons. All this brought something to mind–or stomach, I should say–as I was thinking of what to have for dinner last night: Restaurant coupons.

In a down economy it\’s not hard to believe that people are eating out less and less–43 percent less, according to a recent survey from ComPsych Corp, a Chicago-based provider of employee assistance programs. So it would seem natural that restaurateurs would start some form of discount or coupon campaign. The most surprising thing to me is that many of these are coming in the mail.

As a proponent of mobile/SMS/text message marketing programs, I find it hard to believe that eateries aren\’t keeping up with the hype in the marketing industry, and aren’t sending incentives to a patron’s cell phone. Why is there that hype? Because mobile incentives are effective.

It appalls me that more restaurants don\’t take advantage of the opportunity they have. I would eat out far more often if I was to receive mobile coupons. All I would have to do is pop out my cell phone and give my server a special code or barcode to scan.

I personally guarantee that the cost to send out such coupons alone beats the printing costs of all those annoying color fliers that consumers like me get in the mail. Add in the high redemption rate of such vouchers, and restaurants should realize that mobile coupons offer the best ROI in a time when diners are hard-pressed to leave their own kitchens.