Email Marketing Essentials for Restaurants
You’ve got your lists set up. You’re broadcasting menu changes, special events and coupons. Your regulars are responding and new customers are subscribing.
What should you do next?
It might be time to take a look at what items you have set up to appear in every email. Are you missing any important side notes? What can you add to fill your tables with more hungry customers?
Example: Taleo’s Bill of Email Fare
Our friends over at Taleo Mexican Grill in Irvine, California have the recipe for a well-done newsletter with all the trimmings.
What can your restaurant put in its emails to impress patrons?
Link to them! A surprising number of restaurants don’t have their menus listed online. Describing your dishes can convince even frequent diners to come in for that interesting new combination or a mouthwatering old favorite.
If your restaurant doesn’t have a web site, you can create and post your menu here.
A small discount, exclusive to your email subscribers, may keep guests coming back – and keep them reading your new emails.
Here’s an example from one of Taleo’s emails:
Provide a link to driving routes, tips on parking, and public transportation information.
Take the guesswork out of getting there, and new customers may become regulars.
If you offer them, say so.
People are always looking for gift ideas, and are likely too wrapped up in the dining experience when on site to seek them out.
If you accept these, provide a link to a reservation page on your site, like this, or display your phone number.
Even if your number is listed elsewhere, seeing it listed for reservations suggests that subscribers call it for that reason.
Hours of Operation
When customers get your updates about happy hour discounts, lunch specials or live music events, they can glance over to see just when to plan their visit.
Save them the hassle of searching for your hours on your web site or showing up to an empty, dark building.
Calendar of Events
After you announce a Tuesday-night open mic or a Sunday dinner discount, list it on a calendar. Connect to it through a link, display a miniature version that can be clicked to open fully, or provide only the next week’s schedule in each message.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture of colorful, tasty food is worth a thousand tummy-grumbles.
Wild cravings for your food might be the best enticement of all.
Taleo’s email didn’t include mix these in, but others have. And they might just be right for your newsletter.
Ask for feedback on your menu items, your seating options, your special events. You’ll collect valuable information, and you’ll show your patrons that their preferences are important.
Customer opinions you collect on comment cards can be powerful testimonials. So can emails of appreciation. Consider publishing a response or two per email, possibly in a sidebar.
This is a lot to add, so keep things organized, subtle and listed neatly to keep from overwhelming your readers. Go for a complete, but not cluttered, design. And remember to track your clicks to see which links customers are taking advantage of.
We appreciate your feedback. Please deposit in comment box below.
Which of these have you included in your newsletters? Which do you think customers look for the most? Do you include anything else that your readers seem to really appreciate?
Want to Learn More?
For more information on email marketing for restaurants, view our complete Email Marketing for Restaurants Guide.