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17 Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies to Win Diners

ByNeelabja Adkuloo

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With cloud kitchens, aggregator apps, and home cooks, the competition is fierce in the post-pandemic food industry. How do you attract new customers, retain old patrons, and manage connections with food influencers? With email marketing, of course.

An average person checks their emails 15-20 times a day. By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will have access to email. Email marketing is an effective way to create a meaningful connection with your audience.

This guide brings the best of restaurant email marketing tips, tricks, and strategies for you to make the most of this resurgent economy.

Table of contents

Is email marketing effective for restaurants?

Many restaurants depend on social media like Facebook and Instagram for their digital presence. However, these social media channels are experiencing a constant decline in organic reach. Social media ads do not show up in search engine results. Many restaurants fail to recognize that a social marketing strategy not backed by an email marketing strategy is ineffective.

Restaurant email marketing remains the best way to attract, retain customers and drive repeat visits with an ROI of a whopping 4200%. Customers love to get emails about changes in the menu of local restaurants they know about. This is why it remains as relevant as ever.

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17 powerful strategies for restaurant email marketing with examples

Here are 17 actionable recommendations to get more foot traffic for your restaurant.

1. Use photos to make people hungry

A great picture is better than a thousand words. With high-quality cameras and a little talent, it is not difficult to include inviting photos of the tasty dishes you are offering in your restaurant. Remember that placing an order should be just a click away while you use the pictures to make your patrons feel hungry. Apart from physical location-based restaurants, ghost kitchens can also benefit from this tactic, since people order online.

Use photos to make people hungry

Source: Pinterest

2. Include personal stories

Stories or notes from the chef, inspiration behind a dish, and personal experiences of the servers can be very effective storytelling tools. Such emails help to engage deeper with your target audience. For example, if Ranveer Brar were a chef at your restaurant, this is something that could have made the reader quite interested!

Include personal stories

Source: Taste Memory

3. Ask for feedback

It is never a bad time to ask your customer for their feedback. Even a simple NPS survey, as shown below, is an insightful metric of how you are faring with your customers. To get a solid response to your surveys, use AMP emails incorporating dynamic forms within the email body.

Customize this restaurant feedback email template by Mailmodo.

4. Share promo codes

Use emails to share a promotional offer for your newsletter subscribers or online orders. Not only does this help in increasing traffic to your app or website, but it also increases references and repeat purchases.

Share promo codes

Check out this discount offer email by Mailmodo.

5. Reward customer loyalty

Everyone likes to feel special. Creating a loyalty program can help your regular patrons enjoy preferred seating, less waiting time, a peek at the new menu, lower delivery fees, or even discounted rates. Not only does this help in huge amounts of repeat business, but great benefits can increase your referral game.

Reward customer loyalty

Source: Behance

6. Share recipes and cooking tips

Restaurants took to sharing their hot tips and cooking secrets with their subscribers and followers during the COVID lockdown. It created a meaningful connection with the restaurants or the chefs. There is no reason why such a successful engagement exercise should not be continued now that the world is back on its feet.

Share recipes and cooking tips

Source: Saveur

7. Incorporate new menu items

Halloween, Christmas, Independence day- many festivals and celebrations inspire seasonal or festive menus. If you like to change the menu now and then, email the new and seasonal menu items to your prospective customers.

Incorporate new menu items

Source: The Restaurant Times

8. Celebrate birthdays and special events

On your patrons’ birthdays and anniversaries, wish them and invite them to your restaurant for celebrations. For example, Starbucks offers one free cappuccino to all patrons during their birthday month. Use emails to reach out and share your wishes, along with any related offers.

Celebrate birthdays and special events

Source: Patisserie Valerie

9. Notify customers about upcoming events

For places that conduct various events over the year, it is a great idea to market them well in advance for 100% attendance. Here is an example of a calendar that can be shared over email.

Notify customers about upcoming events

Source: Behance

10. Tell customers they’re valued

There’s nothing wrong with letting your loved ones know you miss them! Let your patrons and customers know that they are missed and valued. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach dormant and inactive customers.

​​

Source: Pinterest

11. Grow your email list

The more exhaustive your email list is, the better your ROI. Incentivizing customers to share their email IDs is easy. It is important to integrate the email lists from all sources of business- online ordering, POS, and food aggregators. Here are some other ways restaurants can organically increase their email lists:

  • Creating pop-ups/opt-ins on websites

  • Social media pages

  • Physical forms in the restaurants

  • To collect feedback

  • To send invoice

  • QR codes

Related guide: How to Increase Email List Subscribers

12. Send transactional emails

Transactional emails have an open rate of 80-85%. That means it is a valuable space that should be utilized best to increase emotional affinity and engagement. You can send an email after the first online order and an NPS survey, for example, to ensure a great inbox placement rate.

Related guide: ​​Transactional Emails: Use Cases, Tools, And Best Practices

13. Segment your audience

There are many ways in which restaurants can segment their users:

  • Channels through which they place the order: App, food Aggregator, in-person

  • Gender, age, location

  • Choice of preferred cuisine

Designing personalized campaigns targeting a segmented audience yields impressive results. It is easier to create innovative programs when you have more details about your target customer persona than a generic one-for-all approach.

Related guide: Step-By-Step Guide to Implement Audience Segmentation

14. Have a clear CTA

CTAs are typically aligned to the final goal of the marketing strategy in mind. You may want the readers to subscribe to your newsletter, download your app, order from your app, or visit your restaurant in person. Defining a clear, easy-to-understand CTA will ensure more conversions.

15. Integrate your emails with social media pages

An integrated, multi-prong approach will ensure your customers remain connected for longer. Since the same consistent message is shared across all platforms, it works as a mental reinforcement of your key message. Moreover, no matter which social media platform your customers follow, they can all be linked to the email. This will also help in increasing your subscription list.

16. Use interactive poll widgets

Polls are an ideal tool for gathering information and engaging your readers. With Mailmodo’s poll widget, you can easily insert poll questions into your email template. Collect user responses from the email itself using our AMP emails.

Get this interactive fall email template by Mailmodo.

17. Share holiday offers

You can start sending a few holiday emails with early bird offers for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Christmas. The email below offers a holiday discount and highlights special products relevant to the festival.

Customize this Christmas email template by Mailmodo.

How do I build an email list for your restaurant?

The success of your restaurant email marketing campaigns depends entirely on the quality of your email list. Building a quality email list takes time and effort. But it might not be that harder once you have the system set to collect emails.

Here are some tips for building an email list for your restaurant:

  1. Offer incentives, such as free coupons on the first order, to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletters.

  2. Include popups or embedded signup forms on your blog and website pages.

  3. Run social media contests where participants can win goodies in exchange for joining your email list.

  4. Add a field where people can sign up for your emails when placing an order on your website.

  5. Create a members-only club where community members can get exclusive offers via email.

  6. Create a dynamic QR code with a link to your email signup form and add that to your menu cards, posters, and everywhere around the restaurant for people to sign up.

5 best email marketing software for restaurants

Here are a few email marketing platforms for restaurants that helps restaurant owners to increase their revenue:

1. Mailmodo

Mailmodo is one of the best email marketing platforms that helps create interactive emails that can help you increase your email conversion rate. You can send emails where people can order food, add reviews, share feedback, get discounts, and more directly inside emails.

Pricing: We offer a 21-day free trial. Post free trial, our plan starts at $49/month for 40,000 contacts and 75,000 email credits.

Review on G2 - 4.5 out of 5

Review on Capterra - 4.6 out of 5

2. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is another complete email marketing tool marketers can use to generate revenue for their business. It has great features like email automation, A/B testing, and more.

Pricing: ActiveCampaign's basic plan starts at 29$ per month for 1000 contacts.

Review on G2 - 4.6 out of 5

Review on Capterra - 4.6 out of 5

3. Omnisend

Omnisend is suited for ecommerce email marketing and automation. It is user-friendly and offers some great features related to ecommerce marketing like landing page builder, SMS, and emails.

Pricing: Omnisend offers a free plan, and the paid plans vary based on the number of emails you send. The basic plan starts at 16$ dollars per month.

Review on G2 - 4.6 out of 5

Review on Capterra - 4.7 out of 5

4. AWeber

AWeber is a complete marketing automation platform that lets you send email campaigns, create landing pages, and basic ecommerce features.

Pricing: AWeber is free to use for up to 500 email subscribers. After that, it is $19.99 per month for a basic plan.

Review on G2 - 4.2 out of 5

Review on Capterra - 4.4 out of 5

5. Sendinblue

Sendinblue is another best contender for the best restaurant email marketing software. It offers email automation, transactional emails, SMS marketing, and more.

Pricing: Sendinblue is free to use and can send 300 emails daily. And the basic plan starts at 25$ per month.

Review on G2 - 4.5 out of 5

Review on Capterra - 4.5 out of 5

Why Mailmodo is the right email marketing tool for restaurants?

Earlier in this guide, we discovered how restaurant email marketing is fundamental to a holistic marketing strategy of a restaurant. Choosing the right tools to implement your restaurant's email marketing strategies is equally important. The right tool will help bring your vision to fruition. Here are 6 reasons Mailmodo is the perfect email marketing platform for your restaurant.

• Send transactional emails

Automate transactional emails at scale based on events triggered like table reservation, table confirmation, invoice payment, feedback email, etc.

• Create dynamic emails

Create dynamic emails with our no-code template builder and add many pre-made content blocks and AMP widgets.

• Hyper-personalize emails

Address your patron by name. Include details like when they visited, at which location, etc., to make your email sound special.

• Test your emails

Send test emails and preview your email in both HTML and AMP format on desktop and mobile devices.

• Measure analytics

Mailmodo helps you to measure the automated email campaign performance with Mailmodo’s email analytics suite.

• Smooth automation workflow

Connect your marketing stack with 360 integrations for smoother workflows.

Get a sample AMP email in your inbox

Experience the power of interactivity right now

Wrap up

Reading about restaurants and looking at pictures of some good-looking food must have made you feel a bit hungry by now. Before you rush off to place your order, here’s a quick summary.

We spoke about simple implementable tips and some restaurant email marketing strategies. If you’re new to this space, read our guide on email marketing to dive into the basics. Ready to kickstart your email marketing journey with Mailmodo? Book a call with our in-house experts to understand how we can help you scale your restaurant.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

Restaurant email marketing related FAQs

Restaurants can use email marketing to get people to their restaurant, welcome new customers, announce new food items, offer discounts to retain customers, and more.

  1. Connect with customers more personally.
  2. Convert more when using interactive emails.
  3. Collect feedback to improve your food quality.
  4. More ROI compared to other marketing channels.
  1. Seasonal discount emails
  2. Welcome emails
  3. Cart abandonment emails
  4. Order confirmation emails
  5. Promotional emails
  6. Birthday emails
  7. New menu announcement emails
  8. Gamification emails
  1. Birthdays call for a special gift.
  2. Psst. Your [Item name] is waiting for you.
  3. Your order [Order no.] is on its way.
  4. Your next food is on us.
  5. Thanks for being there with us.
  6. Jalapeno pizza is at 50% off

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

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Get smarter with our email resources

Explore our email marketing guides, ebooks and other resources to master email marketing.

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Do better email marketing with Mailmodo

Send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, etc. to boost email ROI.

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Talk to an email expert

Get a 30-min. free email consultation with a Mailmodo expert to optimize your email marketing.

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