Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies to Win Customers

The hospitality industry – including restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and bakeries – is now facing and coping with new economic and social norms that are far too challenging. While restaurateurs are trying to extinguish immediate fires to keep the business afloat, they must also realize that this is the  appropriate time to innovate and kickstart the email marketing game as the entire world is moving online.

The first step to adapt to the new normal of the world is to  create a restaurant website and start business operations online through online ordering. This helps restaurants to stay afloat in a highly competitive, volatile market. But, for customers to know about you and that you accept orders online, you need to make use of email marketing as well. You might also be offering door delivery services or curb-side pickup. But, your customers need to be aware of it.

Send valuable content from your kitchens as the only way to for customer relationship building is online.

If you are a restaurateur about to start with email marketing, this blog will help you understand  why you need to focus on emails, the basic elements of email marketing and the kind of emails that are suitable for the restaurant business.

If you have not sent any emails to your customers as yet, start by:

  1. Informing them where and how they can make online food orders now

  2. Advertising the offers that you are currently running

  3. Letting them know about your high hygiene standards and how you practice it

Learn how to launch your very first restaurant email campaign in 6 steps.

Formulate a plan

Since every restaurant is different, you first need to create a unique email marketing campaign that suits your business. Establishing the brand and tone is important if your restaurant is new or you are just about to start your email marketing. Determine the kind of email templates that will suit you, the tone using which the mail should be composed, the content that needs to be included and also the right time to send the restaurant emails. Set the goals for the email marketing campaign so that you know if it is making any impact.

Build a contact list

The second important step is to build an email list comprising your subscribers. Here are a few ways to collect emails for your restaurant marketing campaign: 

  1. Provide a subscription form on the restaurant website 
  2. Ask people to join your restaurant loyalty program through a signup page or app 
  3. Create a reservations page 
  4. Get their email id to access your restaurant’s free Wi-Fi 
  5. Use a tab on the restaurant’s Facebook page 
  6. Get the email id through online questionnaires, surveys, and feedback forms 

Customers cannot be forced to join your email list. They must be motivated to opt-in or subscribe to your newsletter or email campaigns. In the U.S., it is also mandatory to provide users with a clear means of unsubscribing from your email communications. So, be clear about the specific nation’s anti-spam laws before launching your restaurant email campaign. 

Segment the contact list 

Segmenting the contacts means taking the email subscribers of your restaurant’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and dividing them into smaller groups with identical characteristics. This could be based on specific criteria like location, previous orders, loyalty program subscription, and so on. Through segmentation of the email contacts, you can create messages that cater to their specific interests or behaviors rather than sending one common mail that some may not be interested in. 

Design and write the emails

With the completion of the technical part, it is now time to wear your creative hat. If you are using an external service provider, they are likely to offer you aesthetic, pre-built templates that offer instant solutions for your design needs. Such designs are most often customizable through drag-and-drop options.  

During customization, handle the colors, fonts, photography, and other design elements judiciously to ensure that you achieve brand consistency. The content of the email should also flow logically, with the best content featured on the top. Restrict the content to not more than three paragraphs for each mail. Use high-quality images and optimize the mail for mobiles as well.  

Once the design is finalized, compose the email keeping six essential elements in mind – the subject line, preheader text, headlines, body, the Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons, and the footer.  

Email automation

Automated emails are prepared emails sent to the subscribers list automatically from the ESP based on the predetermined schedule that has been set or specific triggers.  

The two main types of automated email campaigns are – lifecycle campaigns and trigger campaigns. Lifecycle campaigns are ones that are tailored to meet the individual characteristics of the customers sent throughout the customer’s engagement with the brand or his lifecycle. For example, emails are sent wishing the customer for his birthday, wedding anniversary, or day of first purchase. In trigger campaigns, emails are sent based on triggered behavior. For example, a welcome email might be sent every time someone new subscribes to your restaurant email list. 

Analyze the results 

Once you have started sending out the emails, the last step is to analyze its performance and know what is performing well or otherwise. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are ideal to track and analyze emails as it offers values that measure the performance of different aspects of the email campaigns. The values that you need to keep an eye on are the delivery rate, open rate, click rate, and unsubscribe rate.  

The average open rate for restaurant emails is 19.77%, the average click rate is 1.34% and the average unsubscribe rate is 0.28% 

Tips for Email Marketing

Here are some tips to make your email marketing campaigns successful.


With personalized and segmented communication with customers, restaurants can send exclusive deals, offers, and free vouchers and also alert customers about limited deal offers. Personalized emails initiate a one-to-one engagement between the brand and the customers.  

Retarget website visitors

Simply designing a restaurant website and expecting automatic lead and customer generation is practically not possible. Every online medium needs constant and improvised updates. Restaurants must always keep finding ways to make customers stay on the website and also revisit at regular intervals. This can be done by  incentivizing customers with information about special offers and promotions in exchange for their email addresses. Once they have opted in, you can alert them each time your restaurant has something to offer.  

Rewarding loyal customers

A loyalty program must be designed to increase repeat sales and improve brand loyalty. For doing so, you need an email list. The chances of customers coming back are high if they are part of a loyalty program. While designing the loyalty program, ensure that you provide information about every special offer and event that is about to take place in the future. This will ensure that customers keep coming back to benefit from the incentives that you offer. 

Restaurant marketing is a suite of different marketing strategies in which email marketing plays a pivotal role. If you are looking for professional help in setting up your own online food ordering website, a digital food app, or any other digital marketing services for restaurants, get in touch. We are a free restaurant website builder who can help you boost your sales online, increase online visibility and scale your business at an accelerated rate.