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10+ Restaurant Email Marketing Campaign Ideas for Better Sales & Retention

10+ Restaurant Email Marketing Campaign Ideas for Better Sales & Retention



December 26, 2023

December 26, 2023

Creating email marketing campaigns for your restaurant, chain, or F&B group helps you build relationships with your guests. Not only can you increase footfall on calm weekdays, but also you can use email to build retention and get referrals.

If you’re serious about using email marketing for your restaurant, you should consider creating an email marketing strategy.

In this strategy, you should identify your goals and the different emails and campaigns you want to send.

Your goals can vary from increasing reservations and footfall to building retention to re-engaging guests who haven’t visited you for some time, among other goals.

In this article, we’ll be looking at email marketing ideas for restaurants and how to use them for different goals.

Why email marketing matters for restaurants

Why email marketing matters for restaurants

Before we dive into the restaurant email campaign ideas you can try, let’s first look at why email builds relationships better than other marketing channels.

Guests are willing and interested

For starters, to get an email, your guest or customer willingly signs up to your mailing list. In other words, they’re giving you consent to send them emails, be they newsletters or marketing campaigns.

People trust email over social media

People, your guests included, see email as a trusted form of marketing compared to other channels like social media.

Effective marketing channel 

Not only do subscribers trust email more. Nearly 41% of 440 marketers surveyed by Litmus say email is “their most effective [marketing] channel.”

“Email is a bastion of human connection.” – Litmus

Customers prefer email promotions

Data shows that 60% of consumers subscribe to a company’s email list to get a brand’s promotions. Looking at social media, only 20% of consumers will follow a company on social media for promotions.

Easily accessible

One of the major benefits of using email is its accessibility. Today, more people are checking their email via mobile. The travel and hospitality industry is no exception.

Research by Contentsquare shows 64.4% of consumers visit travel and hospitality websites via mobile. Compared to only 34.6% coming from desktops.

“Mobile’s dominance was highest in [the] entertainment and restaurants [segments] with 73.2% of traffic coming in via mobile.” (Contentsquare)

Emails are great for personalization

Consumers expect personalized experiences when engaging with brands. In fact, 76% of customers are annoyed when they don’t get personalized experiences.

Email marketing offers tons of opportunities for brands to personalize guest experiences in the food-and-beverage industry.

And it’s super easy with restaurant and email marketing automation tools like SerVme, where you can create segmented lists using auto-tags.  

10+ Restaurant email campaign ideas and examples

10+ Restaurant email campaign ideas and examples

Now, let’s explore the different email campaign ideas you can send as a restaurant marketing manager or a restaurant owner.

Email Newsletter(s) 

One of the most common types of emails businesses send are email newsletters. These can be weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

One of the perks of newsletters is they can house several points or updates. For example, if you have a monthly newsletter for your restaurant, you can cover

  • Recent updates

  • Upcoming events

  • Special offers

  • Updates on opening and closing times

  • New locations

  • Recent guest reviews

Among other points.

In other words, your restaurant email newsletter can be both a marketing tool and a way to communicate with customers.

If you’re just getting started with email marketing for your restaurant, we recommend the monthly newsletter. It means communicating with guests 12 times per year and you don’t clog your inbox with unnecessary emails.

You may choose to segment guests and send more frequent emails later on.

It’s best to create a newsletter template and use it for every newsletter. Restaurants using SerVme get an entire library of restaurant-specific ready-made templates that they can tailor to their brand voice and colors.

Confirmation emails 

Restaurants that take online reservations need to send a confirmation message to their guests. This isn’t a restaurant email campaign per se but you can use it to notify guests that you’ll be adding them to your email newsletter.

Usually, reservation emails have a standard format. You inform guests of their

  • Reservation date

  • Time

  • Fees or deposit paid (if applicable)

  • Number of people in their party or group

  • Table number (optional)

You may use your confirmation emails to upsell future events if you wish or any exciting promotions you are running. 

Welcome emails

When guests subscribe to your newsletter, they should receive a welcome email. This is a prime opportunity to inform guests about what to expect from your newsletter, how often you’ll be sending it, and other information.

For example, you may share a recent 5-star review you got from another customer in the email.

You may also offer them a 10% discount on their next visit as a thank you for joining your email list.

In other words, your welcome email should set your tone and can be an opportunity to increase footfall. See if people are making use of the 10% discount by adding a promo code. Track the number of people using the promo code when they visit your restaurant.

Retention email campaigns 

You can spend tons of money on ads to get customers to visit your restaurant. That’s called customer acquisition.

The secret recipe to success, however, lies in customer retention. That’s getting people to keep coming back to your restaurant or chain.

Research by Bain & Company shows a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%!

Customer retention emails help you increase retention among your guests by boosting satisfaction and improving guest experience.

For restaurants, retention emails can vary. For example, sending birthday emails is a great way to retain guests and create personalized digital experiences for them.

If you’re using SerVme’s restaurant CRM software, you can add information like birthday, allergies, preferred dining locations,…etc.

Another restaurant retention email campaign idea is asking guests to review their most recent experience.

Guest review emails, discussed in detail below, show you care about your guests’ experiences and thoughts. They also show guests how you work hard at maintaining the quality of service and food at your venues.

Re-engagement emails

One of the top ways businesses, including restaurants, can use email marketing is re-engagement. This means engaging guests who haven’t visited your venue for some time. This can be 3 or 6 months or more.

There are several ways you can re-engage guests. You can send a limited-time 15% discount to get them to visit your restaurant again.

If you’ve been using features like auto-tagging, where you create specific tags for guest segments, you can use different types of engagement for different customers.

For example, if a guest hasn’t visited your venue in 3 months, you can re-engage them with a ‘We missed you campaign.’

This can include informing them of recent venues you’ve added, upcoming special events, or something else. You can send them a quick survey asking them about the reasons they haven’t been dining at your restaurant.

It can be a 3-question survey with questions like:

  • Rate your last dining experience at [restaurant name]

  • What can we improve at [restaurant name]? Let the guest write down their answer or give them the ability to select several options like food, beverages, cleanliness, wait staff,…etc.

  • Would you recommend [restaurant name] to others?

Your guest may have enjoyed their last experience, but have since moved and can’t visit your venue.

Social proof emails 

One of the top ways to build trust in any brand is using social proof. That’s usually in the form of positive testimonials and reviews.

Social proof gives people a reason to trust a brand. If you’re shopping online, you’re likely to skim through reviews to know if a product is as good as it’s described or not. The same applies to restaurants.

Here’s an example from one of our customers. Atelier M is a restaurant in Dubai that’s been using SerVme for 4 years.

What does this tell you about SerVme’s table management and email software?

Special event campaigns

Many F&B concepts and hotel restaurants host weekly, monthly, and seasonal dining events. Christmas and New Years are among the top events, often booked weeks in advance.

One way to increase restaurant reservations and footfall is to inform guests for special dining events early on. If you’re using SerVme, you can create pages for each event and use your reservation widget to upsell these events to guests.

You can also use SerVme’s pre-booking or reservation fee feature to collect deposits or in-advance payments for reservations.

If one or more events are fully booked, you can enable the waitlist feature so guests can join the waitlist. 

Special offer campaigns (discount emails) 

Another restaurant email campaign idea is to create special offer campaigns, which you can use in several ways.

You can use special-offer campaigns to

  • re-engage guests who haven’t dined at your venue recently.

  • increase footfall during weekdays.

  • retain bargain-lovers or price-conscious guests.

Referral email campaigns 

Growing your customer base is essential for growing your business. One easy and inexpensive way to gain more customers is to ask your current guests for referrals.

You can do this with email marketing.

Generally, brands ask for referrals using a referral marketing program. You generate a unique referral link for each of your customers and ask them to refer others to you.

One of the benefits of referral marketing is that it acts as a kind of social proof. It’s unlikely your guest Sarah will refer people she’s never met. Rather, she’ll refer friends and family and those she believes will enjoy your assortment of dishes like she does.

It’s best to reward your guests for referring others to you. For example, you can offer a free dessert to every 5 successful referrals a guest brings to your restaurant.

New branch announcement emails 

Often, restaurants will announce the opening of new branches via social media. But email marketing can be an effective tool to drive foot traffic to new locations.

You can easily add the location of your newest venue via email. This may not be a 100% email campaign idea but you can consider an email blast or special email announcement.

Be sure to add a catchy subject line with emails highlighting new branches or special announcements.

Read ourGuide to Restaurant Email Subject Lines that Increase Conversions for helpful tips.

Guest experience management campaigns 

Managing and constantly improving guest experiences is part of any restaurant’s growth and retention strategy. One way to do this is to regularly send guest experience surveys.

Restaurants using SerVme often send the guest experience survey right after the guest pays the bill or the next day.

If you’re using SerVme, you can create a single-question or multiple-question survey. You can do so using the guest experience management and survey library.

Guest surveys support your retention, engagement, and re-engagement efforts. They also ensure you maintain the quality of service and food at your restaurant and help you improve them.

How to get guests to join your mailing list

How to get guests to join your mailing list

Before you can start creating email campaigns, you should first have guest emails. Here are several ways to get customer emails, all of which are legal.

  • Add a newsletter signup box in your website’s footer

  • Use SerVme’s reservation widget and ask guests to add their email when making a reservation

  • Get your servers to ask guests directly for their email while paying their bill.

  • Announce launching a newsletter on social media to get guests to sign up. Spice it up with a special 10% off their next visit as a thank-you for signing up.

  • Ask waitlist guests to share their email. You can do this both in-person or using the reservation and waitlist widget.

  • Offer free Wi-Fi in your restaurant and ask guests for their email if they want to use your Wi-Fi.

  • Ask guests for their email when signing up to use your restaurant mobile app (if applicable). 

Note: We do not encourage you to ‘buy’ lists from others. You’ll pay lots of money and the first thing you’ll see is hundreds of people unsubscribing and hundreds more reporting you as ‘spam.’ Don’t do it (no matter how tempting it is).

Wrapping it up

Wrapping it up

Creating an email list for your restaurant offers many opportunities to engage with guests and create personalized guest experiences. Apart from social media, email is where you own the data, where you can segment guests from your restaurant CRM to send highly personalized emails.

As mentioned, you can use email in many ways. You can engage and re-engage guests who haven’t dined at your restaurant for a while.

You can unveil special upcoming events, announce new branches and locations, share special dine-in-only offers to increase foot traffic on weekdays and much more.

And the best perk about restaurant email marketing campaigns is they’re easy to track. You can measure the impact of your email campaigns against your restaurant’s daily and weekly sales report.

If you’re using SerVme, you can do all of this and more. Whether you want to increase reservations, manage online and offline waitlists, manage server shifts, it’s all there.

Explore SerVme here or check out these posts to learn more about improving your restaurant marketing and operations. 

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Posted by:

Mohammed Rafy