How to Use Email Marketing to Promote Your Restaurant Online

How to Use Email Marketing to Promote Your Restaurant Online

Your restaurant has it all – the perfect location, a great ambience, is budget-friendly, and a blend of local and international cuisine. But here’s the catch – it is new and you don’t have as many customers as you would love. One factor could be the ongoing pandemic and the resultant loss of business. Although businesses are starting to pick up, the customers are relatively lower, and the consequences could be worrisome. Nevertheless, fret not, as we’re not talking about you shutting down the business, on the contrary, you could and should look for newer ways to reinvent your restaurant business – the best solution is to go online! 

There are several ways of promoting your local business online – social media marketing, email marketing, registering on a local listing site, and much more. In this article, we will be concentrating on one of these techniques – email marketing. Furthermore, we will discuss what email marketing is and various restaurant email marketing strategies to effectively market your restaurant online. 

First things first, let us begin with understanding what email marketing is. 

Understanding Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a type of marketing that helps promote your business, products or services through emails. It is a form of direct marketing with the goal of driving sales by converting users or website visitors to customers. 

As a marketeer, there are several forms of emails you can send to your customers viz. sales emails, new product or service release emails, newsletters with industry news, a casual catch-up with your customers, exclusive discount emails for your subscribers, etc. 

If you’re wondering if this truly is the right technique to market your restaurant online – here are some statistics:

  • As per Statista, there were 3.9 billion email users across the world in 2019 and the number is expected to grow up to 4.3 billion by 2024
  • According to a 2019 report by GetResponse, the average open rate for a welcome email is 88.7% 
  • Another study by DMA shows that for every $1 invested by you for email marketing you get an average ROI of $42

Now that we’ve established that email marketing is efficient, let us have a look at ‘the three hows’ to get started by covering the basics of restaurant email marketing strategies. 

The Three Hows 

  1. How to gather information from customers
  2. How and which emails to automate 
  3. How to keep up with further communication 
  1. How to gather information from customers 

Collecting information from customers needs significant effort especially when it comes to a restaurant. You can’t just walk up to their table and request them to give you an email address, could you? Well, bold and experimenting millennial restaurateurs might just do that – but isn’t that a bit too tedious? 

So what to do? It is simple – here are some tips that might come in handy:

  1. Like every website, your restaurant website could have a pop-up, asking customers who visit to submit their email ID to avail exciting offers or discount codes in their inbox. 
  2. Ask customers to give reviews on the overall order or service. You could ask them to submit the review on your website or some third-party website that collects email addresses. 
  3. Create a ‘Contact Form’ to promote online bookings to avoid the crunch and reduce wait time. 
  4. Ask customers to ‘create an account’ on your website to order food online without the need of visiting the restaurant. Given the ongoing pandemic, customers might be inclined to do this. 
  5. Print your website name on payment receipts, menu cards, billboards and more, inviting customers to join the mailing list. Do not forget to add a line about an incentive in store for them once they sign up! 

For example, ‘Thank you for dining with us! Don’t forget to join our mailing list for exclusive discounts.’ 

These are just a few tips depending on the location of your restaurant and your customer base. You can always think of various other ways of engaging with your customers and gathering their information. 

One thing to always remember is to consider this exercise as a ‘give and take’. Offering incentives to your customers like promo codes, special access and more not only helps you get their email address but also helps build a strong relationship with them. 

  1. How and which emails to automate 

One of the most important emails to automate is the Welcome Email. A welcome email is the very first email sent to customers when they subscribe to receiving emails from you. 

Make sure your welcome email consists of the following:

  • Should be personalised with the name of the customer 
  • Should include photographs for a warm welcome
  • Should be colourful, lively and tempting 
  • Should be branded i.e include restaurant logo (if you have one) and the name of your restaurant 
  • A reward at the end of the email (say 10% discount on the next offer or a Free dish). You may even choose to put a definite deadline for availing the offer – say 2 months from the email 
  • Social media links of your restaurant’s online handles 

Below is an example of a welcome email sent by Starbucks!

Source: Pinterest

Another automated email is the one where you notice your subscriber hasn’t opened your emails in quite a while. You could send them an invitation email to ask for feedback, offer some reward, and even ask them to manage their preferences. 

Source: Emma

  1. How to keep up with further communication 

You’ve asked your customers to subscribe and hence it is your responsibility that you keep the conversation flowing.

After you’ve sent your first email, it is good to communicate with customers a few days later. One of the ways of doing this is to send weekly updates or newsletters. 

You can send them a follow-up email with either some exciting new dishes they could try, or send them an email with social media posts and a ‘Follow’ button. Another example is you can send them an email of new features or updates about your restaurant. There are plenty of ideas all you have to do is think, get inspired and innovate!

Pro Tip: Content is king, and quality images and text is an integral part of it. When designing your restaurant’s email marketing campaigns, make sure you focus on quality content.

What Next? 

Now that you have a fair idea about email marketing and restaurant email marketing ideas, it is time to put them in action! 

You already know what the signature of your restaurant is – capitalize on it and centre your email marketing campaigns around it. Think of all the different emails that you can automate (festival emails, a reminder email of why the customers subscribed, etc.) look at the email campaign reports, figure out if customers are availing the discounts and reward you’ve sent in your emails, and so on. 

You can spice up your email content by sending a complicated recipe and then ending with a quirky note saying, ‘Why to wait 3 hours for it when you can get it delivered/ordered in 15 minutes?’ As we said, the ideas are aplenty all you need is to figure out how. 

Lastly, as your restaurant grows, so will your emails. However, the best thing about email marketing for restaurants is that whether you’re a dine-in, takeaway or a delivery restaurant it is all the same!

So, what are you waiting for? Go, get your personalised business email address and start sending appetising emails to your customers right away! 

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a comment below. Also, check out more articles that can help your Small and Medium Business market better and succeed! 


H. Fatima used to be an Engineer by profession and Writer by passion until she started pursuing full-time writing. She is presently a Content Marketeer at Newfold Digital (APAC). She mostly writes what she deeply perceives and analyses, it is her way of unwinding. Her interests include writing, reading (an avid reader), watching foreign-language movies and public speaking.