Restaurant Email Marketing: How to Attract More Customers

Wondering if email marketing in restaurants could help you attract more customers? With more than 1 billion restaurants in the United States alone, competition is fierce for part of that $799 billion industry.

If you want to succeed, you need a way to attract more people to your restaurant.

One of the most profitable ways to develop a business is email marketing, a great way to connect with both existing and potential customers.

In the United States alone, over 90% of adults use e-mail.
The return on investment of email marketing is 28.5% higher than that of direct mail.
Every dollar you spend on email marketing earns you $38 in return.

This guide will highlight restaurant marketing ideas and trends, including statistics on email marketing restaurants, innovative ways to collect emails from customers, ideas for marketing content through e-marketingmail to restore ants and email marketing best practices. Throughout, we will include examples of restaurant marketing options and email campaigns.

In the end, you’ll have everything you need to improve your email marketing campaigns in restaurants and attract more customers to your tables.

Benefits of email marketing for restaurants

We already know that e-mail marketing is very successful, but what is its popularity in the restaurant industry and what are the potential benefits? According to SinglePlatform, restaurants spend 15% of their marketing budget on email marketing.

In addition, The Rail Media says that more than a third of restaurateurs send emails every month, with 71% using their newsletters to send details of upcoming events.


The Rail Media data shows that more than half of all restaurant mailing lists have more than 10,000 subscribers and that the average opening rate is 19.3%. As for the benchmarks concerning email marketing by Mailchimp, they put the opening rate for this sector a little higher at 21.17%, with a rate per click of 1.25%.

So how do you navigate it? What is the return on investment of email marketing in restaurants? It depends on who you ask:

A study published on WebFX says the return on investment of email marketing, in general, is 44 USD for every dollar spent.
ChowNow has a slightly lower return on investment, at USD 43 for every dollar spent.
And EZCater is a little more conservative, at $38 for every dollar spent.
Whatever the number chosen, these are quite interesting returns that prove that email marketing is a successful strategy for restaurants.

Other benefits of email marketing in restaurants include:

Facilitate competition for small local businesses with larger ones, especially if their strategy is correct.
Build brand awareness with existing and new customers.
Marketing to a “warm” audience as people actively sign up for updates to their favourite restaurants.
Increase in customer retention. 70% of customers want restaurants to send them coupons and are ready to use them.
For restaurant owners, as for other business leaders, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach your customers. In fact, it surpasses social media and, unlike social media, you keep control of your audience.

Here’s how to get started.


Step 1: Configure your mailing list

If you are new to email marketing for your restaurant, you will need to choose an email service provider. In addition to the ones you’ve already heard about, Fishbowl specializes in catering. Another restaurant marketing platform is BentoBox
When you choose email marketing services for restaurants, pay attention to the availability of templates, so that you can style your emails appropriately according to your offer, niche or season.
Make sure your email marketing software has in-depth analytics so you can measure the success of your marketing campaigns.

Step 2: Collect e-mail addresses

If you are going to create a successful restaurant business, it is essential to generate a steady stream of new and potential customers so that your establishment is always booked.
To connect with potential customers, you want to collect their emails to give them reasons to try your restaurant or come back.

Wondering how to collect email addresses? Here are some ways restaurants can do this.
Use a form on your restaurant’s website to encourage people to subscribe to your newsletter. For best results, make sure your email registration form is visible on all relevant pages of your site.
You can soften the offer by offering a discount voucher that customers can use the first time they eat in your restaurant, or by offering gifts.
This also works if customers place an online order. Remember that you will always have to follow good email marketing practices and encourage customers to accept your emails.

You will also need to consider other methods to get the e-mail addresses of your restaurant, such as:

• Add a free appetizer offer with a pop-up in the main menu of your website
• Put a URL to give your opinion on a card that you add to each take-out or delivery order.
• Encourage people to register by including an offer and an opinion URL on invoices and receipts.
• Hold a random draw and ask people to participate by leaving their business cards and accepting marketing emails from your restaurant.
• Use of SMS marketing.

All this will increase the number of potential customers for your restaurant.
There are also several ways to improve lead generation. For example, you can set up an exit-intent event to show a coupon to visitors who are about to leave your site.
You can also use on-site retargeting and page-level targeting to display offers related to what potential customers are looking for. This means that you can target offers for meat lovers or vegetarians, for example.

Once you have collected some emails, it is time to start sending emails to your subscribers.

Step 3: Send promotional and relationship emails

The best restaurant email marketing campaigns include three types of emails. In addition to transactional emails, such as subscription or update information, you will probably send two other types of emails: relationship emails and promotional emails.

Relationship emails, also called individual emails, help build your relationship with the subscriber, providing free information and sometimes free gifts.
Promotional emails promote your business and include notifications about offers and sales.

If you are a novice in content marketing, you may run out of ideas on what to include in your emails so that you can maintain this customer connection month after month. Here are some ideas to help you deliver value with every email you send:
• Highlight new menu items, changes to old menu items, chef specialties and theme nights.
• Tell the story of your restaurant’s creation.
• Introduce subscribers to people behind the restaurant, such as owners, chefs and staff.
• Show how you create some of your recipes.
• Provide advice on food preparation.
• Show interviews, reviews and positive coverage.
• Include blog content.
• Celebrate your customers.
• Offer discounts, offers and coupons.

You can also ask customers for notifications and encourage them to send ideas. Not only will this help you get content for your newsletter, but it will also improve your relationship with them. Surveys, quizzes and surveys also work well for this.

When booking a table, always ask if it is a special occasion. It will be an opportunity to send birthday emails later.

Plan your email marketing calendar in advance, including special promotions for:
• National holidays such as New Year’s Eve.
• Culinary celebrations (such as National Ice Cream Day).
• The Seasons.
• Special annual events, such as local food festivals.

All e-mails must include information about your location, opening hours and how to order online and make reservations, as well as details about private meals or catering, and gift cards, if you offer these services.
And here’s one last tip: the best way to find inspiration for your own email newsletter is to check out other examples of email marketing restaurants. Then subscribe to newsletters from other restaurants and find out what you can learn.

If you are looking for in depth support and advice or looking for an expert to take in charge the email marketing of your restaurant, contact our digital Edinburgh agency