Restaurant Marketing Tips: Meet the Chef

In our last post, we established that there’s more to an email campaign than economic incentive. You need to build a relationship that establishes unique selling points to cultivate a return customer base.

Who better to establish these points than the lead creative force of your company? In the case of a restaurant, the head creator is the chef.

In this article, I’ll describe how introducing your chef can add a personal face to your email campaign and how even if you don’t have a restaurant, this type of message can benefit your own business.

Chefs Have Personality

We all love cooking shows. Consider the success of Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child, and (my personal favorite) Alton Brown. People look at them as master chefs, but we know the likelihood of ever tasting one of their dishes is as thin as the demi glaze on the seared filet mignon we see on our TV screens.

By contrast, what happens when customers come to your restaurant? Plates arrive in front of us and they look delicious, but we have no vision of where it came from and who made it. In most restaurants, the gap between the kitchen and the front end is as thick as the drywall that separates them.

Now, imagine the best of both worlds: having your chef come out to greet every table at your restaurant, serving dishes to your customers, explaining the freshness of the ingredients and the uniqueness of the plate.

Meet the Chef

In an ideal world, wouldn’t this be great? Wouldn’t your customers swoon over the idea of knowing who made their food, taking that personal touch to the next level?

Unfortunately, your chef has plenty on their hands, like, well, cooking. They don’t have the benefit of a production crew or the time to leave the kitchen every 5 minutes to greet each customer.

Luckily, if you’re collecting customers’ email addresses at your restaurant for your email list, you have options.


Have your head cook write up a ‘Meet the Chef’ message to introduce themselves. Need a few ideas for this email? They could:

  • highlight their experience
  • tell a story behind the creation of a dish
  • explain the nuances of a dish and provide a special coupon for it
  • provide an exclusive recipe
  • narrate a day of cooking at your restaurant
  • introduce cooking staff and give a tour of the kitchen
  • give nutritional information on your dishes

.. and the list of ideas can go on and on. You want to keep your email short and sweet, so you might even consider starting a series of messages.

By using your email campaign to give your chef a voice and a face, you maximize the use of their time while adding value to your campaign and your restaurant.

For more information on email marketing for restaurants, view our complete Email Marketing for Restaurants Guide.

Don’t have a restaurant?

It’s always a plus to put a personal face on your email campaigns regardless of what type of business you run. In any case, it’s likely that you run a business smaller than the scale of a Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.

Corporate marketers usually work on the image of their brand because this personal approach is hard to accomplish at their scale. People come to you for your expertise as a trusted source. By giving yourself a voice in your email campaigns, you establish who you are and why you’re somebody to listen to.

This article is part of a series on restaurant marketing. Read our previous posts for tips and ideas on topics important to restaurant owners that can be related to businesses of all types.

To receive future posts in this series and others on successful email marketing, sign up to receive blog updates by email:


  1. Maria Orlova

    5/4/2007 8:40 pm

    I recently opened a restaurant in Quito, Ecuador.

    I love your idea of presenting the chefs and their ideas and their recipes. However my question today is more technical, I would like to create a form for my e-letter. And to tell you the truth I have no idea how to even start, and every time I try to do it in Word or even the Illustrator, it comes out, well… sort of shifted and disorganized. Unfortunately I do not have the resources right now to hire professional help (even though that is in my plans for the near future), so I was wondering if you might have an advise for me.

  2. Marc Kline

    5/7/2007 8:14 am


    I wish you the best with your restaurant business and hope we can help you to build the relationships we’re talking about in these posts.

    In regards to putting a sign up form on your website, you should find the following Knowledge Base article helpful:

    (you may need to copy and paste the address to your browser’s toolbar)

    Please don’t hesitate to contact our support team to discuss this in more detail.

  3. Chef Tony

    5/9/2007 11:27 pm

    Great article.. I”m in the process of looking at restaurants to purchase, and I currently use aweber to promote my food/chef oriented blog and podcasts..

    Your commentary is right on, there is no more central person in a restaurant than the chef…When I walk into the dining room, there is no better marketing and promotion, but time is always tight, and promoting with aweber on my future site will definitely happen!!

  4. Gideon

    5/16/2007 7:51 am

    Enjoyed the post – and actually (as the last couple of paragraphs hinted) there’s a lesson for all businesses in here. Many people who use autoresponders are ‘internet gurus/marketeers/ebook-sellers’ – and they do a great job of making the website and responder sequence all about them, their discovery and their offer.

    But the rest of us, who might be selling a product or B2B service often tend to hide behind the product.

    Every company should have a chef… and the more character and interest they can have – and add to the sequence – the more engagement I feel you’ll get from your readers. At Wilkinet our ‘chef’ is obviously Sally (designer or the baby carrier we sell). Even though she’s now retired (25 years since business was set up) – we’re still putting together a sequence of emails that will be very much about her opinions, values, experiences… and how they fed into the creation of the most comfortable baby carrier on the market (do I hear the sound of someone blowing their own trumpet??)

  5. Mildred M Kareem

    6/5/2007 10:16 am

    Great article, wonderful ideas. I run a small guest house with a "home" concept. These ideas would definitely be useful. Kudos.

  6. Marc Kline

    6/5/2007 11:14 am

    Great, and we’ll continue to post some articles on restaurants as well as other industries we have experience with. Some may contain specific ideas for highlighted field, but all will have the kind of tips that apply to any business.

    Along those lines, I really like Gideon’s analogy above about each company having a chef. Likewise, each small business has a marketing department, support staff, accounting, etc. even though in some cases they may all be one person!

    Email marketing can help you save time and communicate better for each of those departments.

  7. Best homes

    10/31/2007 3:01 am

    Cool! I will definitely try this idea)

  8. Restaurant and Retail Marketing: Send Birthday Emails - Email Marketing Tips on the AWeber Blog

    5/23/2008 1:42 pm

    […] Coupons – Ideas for how email marketing can help to reduce advertising costs and raise profits. Meet the Chef – Have your restaurant’s biggest asset greet each of your customers without depleting their […]

  9. Fiona

    3/29/2011 2:24 am

    It makes sense to put the man at the back in front in this case. The chef will definitely have a great impact on the customers and even if its only via email the connection is still valid.

  10. Zeke Fabian

    4/4/2011 3:48 am

    This site is for our mom and to those who loves to cook.
    This article shown that everybody love foods.this is open to those who want to open a restaurant business.We can get here an idea on how to open this kind of business.
    And there are also some tips when it comes to restaurant marketing.To all moms this is the site for you.

  11. DF

    4/5/2011 8:18 am

    Very cool.

    I love the concept and the idea. I will definitely put this into practice very soon. Thanks

  12. Tony Marciante

    12/1/2011 1:38 am

    I had commented on this article four years ago + before buying the restaurant I operate now.

    I’m happy to say that even through the toughest recession from 2008 – 2010, we are alive and thriving. I cannot say enough about Aweber and the value of building your lists. Especially this year, I have actively pursued building my list by using several tactics including creating special landing pages, and using an old school in house method to build awareness. I’m proud to say I’m very close to hitting 2,000 people on my restaurant list, and just starting now to really market to them.

    Aweber rocks, and they are always getting better. and..Yes, I am a very hands on operator…you can do it, it’s really your lifeblood.

    Best of luck!