The Power of Email Marketing for Restaurants: Engage and Retain Customers

The importance of Email Marketing for Restaurants

In today’s digital age, restaurant owners are constantly on the lookout for effective marketing strategies to attract and retain customers. One such strategy that has proven to be highly successful is email marketing for restaurants. With its ability to connect directly with customers and drive revenue, email marketing has become a must-have tool for any restaurant looking to thrive in the industry.

Why Email Marketing is Essential for Restaurants

Email marketing has emerged as a powerful tool in the restaurant industry for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows restaurants to connect with their customers in a personalized and targeted manner. By building an email list of interested customers, restaurants can send out regular newsletters, promotions, and updates, keeping their brand top-of-mind and encouraging repeat business.

Another key benefit of email marketing is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to traditional advertising methods, email marketing offers a high return on investment (ROI) for restaurants. Studies have shown that email marketing generates an average of $36 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective marketing channels available.

Additionally, email marketing provides valuable insights for improving business operations. By analyzing email campaign results, restaurants can gather data on customer preferences, purchasing habits, and engagement levels. This information can be used to tailor future marketing efforts and enhance the overall customer experience.

Building an Email Marketing Strategy for Restaurants

To reap the benefits of email marketing, restaurants must develop a clear and comprehensive strategy. Here are the key steps to building an effective email marketing strategy:

1. Build an Email List

The first step in any email marketing strategy is to build an email list of interested customers. There are several ways to collect contact information:

  • Online Orders: Capture email addresses during the online ordering process.
  • Reservations and Waitlist: Request email addresses when customers make reservations or join the waitlist.
  • Loyalty Program: Encourage customers to sign up for a loyalty program that requires an email address.
  • App Users: Ask users of your restaurant’s mobile app to provide their email address.

To continue growing your email list, consider implementing in-restaurant prompts, such as offering free Wi-Fi in exchange for email sign-ups, or using QR codes at the register or tables for customers to scan and join your email list.

2. Create Engaging Content

Once you have a solid email list, it’s important to create engaging content that resonates with your audience. Consider the following tips:

  • Personalization: Use data from your service provider, like Brandium Pro, to personalize your emails based on customer preferences, order history, and site navigation. This will make your emails more relevant and increase engagement.
  • Compelling Subject Lines: Grab the attention of your recipients with compelling subject lines that entice them to open your emails.
  • Valuable Content: Provide valuable content in your emails, such as exclusive promotions, new menu items, recipes, or behind-the-scenes stories about your restaurant.
  • Visual Appeal: Use high-quality images and visually appealing designs to make your emails visually appealing and engaging.

3. Plan and Schedule Email Campaigns

To ensure consistency and effectiveness, it’s important to plan and schedule your email campaigns in advance. Create a content calendar that outlines the timing and themes of your emails, ensuring you have a good mix of promotional and informational content. By planning ahead, you can also take advantage of seasonal events and holidays to create targeted campaigns.

4. Measure and Analyze Results of Email Marketing Campaign for Restaurants

To gauge the success of your email marketing efforts, it’s crucial to measure and analyze the results of your campaigns. Most email service providers offer analytics tools that provide valuable insights into open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. Use this data to identify trends, optimize your email content, and track the ROI of your campaigns.

Examples of Effective Restaurant Email Campaigns

To give you a better understanding of how email marketing can be utilized in the restaurant industry, here are some examples of strategic email campaigns:

1. Convert First-Timers into Regulars

Send an automated welcome/thank you email within 24 hours of a customer’s first online order. Include an incentive, such as a discount or free item, to encourage a return visit or another online order within a specific timeframe.

2. Encourage Return Visits

If a customer’s online order does not include a particular menu item, send an automated email promoting that item a week after their initial order. Highlight its unique features or offer a special discount to entice them to try it.

3. Gather Feedback

Show your customers that their opinions matter by sending an automated email within 24 hours of an order being completed, asking for feedback on specific menu items or their overall ordering experience. This not only demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction but also provides valuable insights for improvement.

4. Drive Engagement

When a customer signs up for in-restaurant Wi-Fi or your e-club, send a welcome email within 24 hours. Follow up seven days later with a reminder to follow your social media accounts and an invitation to share photos using your branded hashtag for a chance to be featured.

Email Benchmarks for the Restaurant Industry

To evaluate the effectiveness of your email campaigns, it’s important to keep an eye on key email engagement metrics. According to Campaign Monitor’s 2022 Email Marketing Benchmarks Report, here are some benchmarks for the restaurant, food, and beverage industry:

  • Open Rate: 18.5%
  • Click-Through Rate: 2%
  • Click-To-Open Rate: 10.5%
  • Unsubscribe Rate: 0.1%

If your emails are underperforming, consider testing and learning from the results. Pay attention to factors such as spam filters, mobile-friendliness, email frequency, and the relevance of your messaging. Regularly monitor your analytics and make adjustments as needed.


In conclusion, email marketing is a powerful tool for restaurants to engage and retain customers. By building an email list, creating engaging content, planning, and scheduling campaigns, and analyzing results, restaurants can harness the power of email marketing to drive revenue, increase customer loyalty, and establish their brand in the industry. With the right strategy and execution, email marketing for restaurants can be a game-changer in today’s competitive market.

uk en