Your Restaurant Guide to Tasteful Email Marketing

Email made what once required a few days of travel time has now become deliverable at the speed of light. The digital mailbox has become the fastest way of reaching your restaurant’s customers—no postage stamp required. This marketing platform has become a staple communication method in the restaurant industry, allowing restaurant operators to disseminate flyers and coupons in a few clicks.

As one of the most cost-effective ways to engage potential patrons, email marketing can generate big returns for a small investment. Email campaigns contribute brand awareness among new and existing customers, building and strengthening relationship with a “warm” audience—those who voluntarily subscribe for updates from their favorite restaurants. And if the strategy is just right, small, local restaurants could win over the hearts of big-chain lovers.

email marketing for restaurants


Email Segmentation and Personalization

Your customers may all share a common denominator in favoring your restaurant, but their reasons for choosing your establishment probably vary. This is why grouping your email marketing audiences based on customer needs and interests will guide your email segmentations to better target your subscribers, and in turn, lead to better open and click-through rates.

So, how does email segmentation work for restaurants? Your customers are entering your restaurant’s email list through different doors and, as a restaurant operator, owner or marketer, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are getting the follow-up attention they need. Whether it’s by placing an online order through your website, signing up for your loyalty program or redeeming offers or coupons through websites like Groupon—each of these segments should receive a different email response, opposed to your business-as-usual email campaign. Here are a few ways you can segment your subscribers for personalized emails delivered from your restaurant to their inbox.

Nurture Your Loyal Customers

Even customers that have proven themselves loyal to your restaurant need a reminder of why they should choose your restaurant next time hunger strikes. That’s why many restaurants are implementing reward programs to share some extra TLC to recurring customers. With exclusive offers and a touch of personalization at the forefront of these program features, customers are more willing to dine in establishments that offer value, attentiveness and engagement.

But a loyalty program wouldn’t be complete without the charm of email reminders. These two marketing tactics go hand in hand to create a seamless customer satisfaction experience. Emails segmented for loyalty program customers can be used to acknowledge birthdays and subscription anniversaries, or it can be as simple as a reminder to rack up loyalty points to reach the next reward.

Follow Up on Online Orders

If your restaurant offers online ordering, chances are you have a customer email address list already compiled from these patrons. Follow-up emails for the online ordering process have become expected by customers. Why? This email plays the role of a digital receipt. It ensures that the payment was processed, the order number is valid and, most importantly, the food ticket is in line for preparation.

This form of segmentation quickly builds an email list, giving you an advantage to discover what will spark a repeat purchase. Engage with the customer shortly after the order process is fulfilled by encouraging feedback on their experience. Active customer feedback can not only help you ensure customer satisfaction, it can lead to repeat business and positive reviews and ratings.

A Digital Ticket to Free Food

According to Gourmet Marketing, 70% of customers want restaurants to send them coupons and are prepared to use them. Requesting an email address in exchange for an irresistible offer is one of the quickest ways to convert potential guests into subscribers and ultimately into customers. A special treat to greet newcomers shows your customers that you value their interest, but also helps build up your email list and boost foot traffic.

Welcome emails serve a platform for more than just a special offer—restaurants can utilize this space to introduce menu items, dining specials and reward programs. The instant gratification of receiving a digital coupon after hitting “submit” on an email signup form will have your subscribers craving more.

Announce New Menu Items

Don’t let that mouthwatering new menu item fall under the radar. Entice your customers to try something out of their usual with an email campaign that launches your restaurant’s newest food additions. While your staff can introduce customers to new entrees during their welcome pitch, an email newsletter can warm your customers up for a tasty, new experience before they step foot in the door.

Menu launch newsletters open a gate to understand who your new menu items are targeting. Diversifying your menu options can help you narrow in on new audience segments to add to your email segmentation lists. Say your new menu items are highlighting gluten-free entrees or healthy alternatives, introducing these items to your full list of subscribers can help weed out those less interested and hone in new patrons that click-through in order to better target them for future items that fall under this food category.

Email Automation with Moderation

While your email subscribers voluntarily sign up for your mailing list, be cautious to not leave a bitter taste in their mouths with email overload. The key to customer retention is to bring valuable offerings at a steady pace. Each audience segment within your restaurant’s email marketing has different wants and needs. Listening to how they respond will help personalize what emails will benefit what customer.