Restaurant Email Marketing: Best Practices and Tips

Restaurant email marketing is a great way to reach out to your customers on a regular basis and build long term bonds.  In the highly competitive restaurant space where almost every other restaurant is using emails to reach out to their customers, it becomes difficult to make oneself stand out from the crowd. However, if done correctly, restaurant email marketing campaigns help you to fill your restaurant’s tables and nurture long-term loyalty.

Can-Spam Act

Can spam act-Restaurant Email Marketing:

The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that lays down the rules for all commercial email. It is advisable to go through the guidelines of the Can-Spam Act before you begin your restaurant email marketing campaign. Here we are listing down the broad directives of the Act:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Every email communication must have a valid physical postal address.
  5. Every communication must include a clear and conspicuous way in which the recipient can opt out of getting an email from you.
  6. You must Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any unsubscribe button or opt-out mechanism you offer must be available for at least 30 days from the day you send your message. An opt-out request must be honored within 10 business days.
  7. If you have hired an agency or a person to market on your behalf, it falls on you to ensure what they are doing on your behalf is in agreement with the guidelines of the act.

Buying a customer list is never a good idea. It is recommended that you must have the implicit or explicit permission of your customers before mailing them.

Email Segmentation

Email segmentation basically refers to dividing your customer list into categories enabling you to customize your message according to the target audience in each category. Emails sent out to segmented lists have a 90.79% higher click-through rate than those sent to the non-segmented list.

Email Segmentation- Restaurant Email Marketing:
Effect Of List Segmentation on Email Marketing

Emails sent out to segmented lists have a 90.79% higher click-through rate than those sent to the non-segmented list. You can segment your lists based on

  • Geographic
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Customer behavior
Customer Segments- Restaurant Email Marketing:

As you gather more data you have on your customers, you can create better and more targeted segments. Here are a few examples of customer segments based on customer behavior.

  • Purchase history
  • Coupons Redemption Rate
  • Visit frequency
  • Average spends
  • Food Preferences
  • Cart Abandonments
  • Loyalty Members
  • Last purchase

Tailoring focussed campaigns for each of these customer segments helps you to deliver more value to your customers and obtain higher conversions for your business.

Email Automation

Automated Emails covert 2.4 times more than bulk emails. This requires you to define rules that trigger an email, which is sent out without any additional effort on your part. Automation ensures that you deliver content at the right time to your audience. It helps you to foster better customer relations by establishing an uninterrupted communication cycle and providing constant support to your customers.

Email Automation- Restaurant Email Marketing:

Let’s say you have a pop-up on your website inviting customers to join your birthday club. Once a customer signs up, he expects a confirmation email. Now manually sending out these emails is a tedious job! The better way to do it is simply automating such processes. Here are a few examples of nature of Restaurant email marketing campaigns that you could automate

  • Welcome email
  • Feedback forms
  • Confirmation Email
  • Birthday/ Anniversary mail
  • Cart abandonment
  • Subscription renewal emails
  • Emailers to non-active/dormant members

Split Testing

Split Testing- Restaurant Email Marketing:

Split testing helps you to optimize your campaigns for better conversions. Also referred to as A/B testing, it helps you to conduct controlled experiments with the goal of checking out which of two campaign options is the most effective in terms of encouraging customers to open, click, covert or subscribe.

Two variations of the email copy are sent to two small randomly generated sets of the customer. Half of the test group is sent Version A, while the other half gets Version B without any of the recipient’s knowing that they are part of an experiment. The results from each version are measured by the numbers opens or clicks and compared to determine which version performed better.

These are some of the parameters on which you can perform an A/B test to see which one does better.

  • Email Subject Line
  • Email Body
  • Email Design
  • CTAs

Responsive Design

Responsive Design- Restaurant Email Marketing:

While you may be designing your email on a desktop or laptop, you cannot be sure that all your target audience will access the same on a device. In fact with the proliferation of technology most customers check their emails, visit social media sites or browse the internet on their mobiles devices. Using a responsive email template helps you to optimize your email for different devices your customers may use.

Focus on CTAs

To encourage customers to take action, your email must have a clear and precise CTA. You should refrain from including too many call-to-action buttons in a single mail as this may confuse your customers and deliver sub-optimal results.

CTAs- Restaurant Email Marketing:

We recommend that you

  • Include CTA in the Email subject line.
  • Use contrasting colors to help the CTA stand out.
  • Link your CTA to a dedicated website landing page.

Integrate your Social Media Strategy

Every email is an opportunity to further connect with your customers on your social media handles. The good thing about connecting on social media is that you have the opportunity to update your handle more regularly than you can send an email. This means that your customers can have daily updates and reminders on offers.

Social Media Integration- Restaurant Email Marketing:

It is even better to add social share buttons to your email. Besides increasing the reach and visibility of your email, it helps you to grow your email list. This can also help you to identify key influencers- in terms of customers who are sharing your emails on a regular basis. The data can be used to create campaigns to harness the power of these influencers by providing them referral incentives.

Social Media Integrations- Restaurant Email Marketing:


  • Add social media buttons
  • Invite subscribers to share your Emails

Update Preference Center

While most marketers spend a considerable amount of time tweaking and optimizing their campaign, relatively less attention is given to overall customer experience. A preference center is an integral part of your brand identity. How much effort you put into crafting your preference center shows how much you care about the convenience of your customers.

Preference centers -Restaurant Email Marketing:

Allow customers full control over the

  • Number of Emails
  • Kinds of Communication
  • Ability to change Email Id
  • Any other preferences

Clean your lists on a Regular Basis

Cleaning your email list refers to removing inaccurate information from your list from time to time. It is a good practice to clean your customer list once every 90-120 days. You can do it manually, however, if you have a customer list exceeding a few thousand it is better to use an automated process.

Cleaning Your Email List -Restaurant Email Marketing:
Cleaning your email list
  • Get rid of wrong or spammy Email-ids
  • Remove customers who have not opened your emails for more than 3-4 months
  • Remove unsubscribes

Besides, reducing your email marketing costs, this exercise helps you to deliver better ROI as you are continuously progressing towards a set of audience who is interested in listening from your brand.

Figure the Best Days and Time to Mail

Tuesdays and Thursdays were adjudged to be the fest days to send out your emails by several studies in this domain. The best times  were

  • 6 a.m
  • 10 a.m.
  • 2 p.m
  • 8 p.m.
Best Day and Time -Restaurant Email Marketing:

Weekends, public holidays deliver lower open and click-through rates and the same goes for office hours. While there are several industries laid guidelines pertaining to the best time and days to send out an email. It is always best to figure out the days and times that work for you within the broader standard laid down by your business segment. You can do an experiment on this by varying the day and time that you send out your campaigns and comparing the results over a period of time.

Wrap Up

Finally, the success of your restaurant Email Marketing Campaigns depends on how well craft your messages and the effort you put in creating a unique experience for your customers. Keep these guidelines in mind while designing your next campaign!