Quick email marketing guide for restaurants and pubs

Good food and friends, and a place where they meet, is certain to get tongues wagging. Email is a great way to let people in about what’s going on and to stay in touch with your patrons.

Get started: Build your list

  • Have a fishbowl where it’s clearly indicated that they’ll receive emails, at the entrance where people can fill in a form or place their signed business cards in order to sign up to your list. Even better, have a tablet where people can sign up online.

  • Have a link to the signup form on your receipt.

  • Make sure you mention your newsletter to your customers

  • Consider a VIP list for your regulars. You know their name, they know yours. It feels like they’re visiting friends more than coming in for a quick meal. Shouldn’t they be the first to know about what’s going on?

  • Offer an incentive, like a discount, a free coffee or a special birthday shot if they sign up or forward the email to a friend.

What to share

  • Your Menu – especially weekly or daily specials!

  • Great food combos you love (and why you offer them on your menu)

  • The special dishes you’ve created for the calorie conscious or with care to avoiding allergens

  • Tips and tricks to help the home chef kick their meals up a notch

  • Special events

  • Reservation reminders

  • Recipes you’re willing to share (if any!)

  • Special ingredients you love

  • Season’s Greetings – and remind them to reserve for Mother’s day!

  • News: finally selling a bottled version of your famous vinaigrette? New cookbook out? Spread the news!

Never forget to…

  • Have your address in the email (You need it to comply with International anti-spam legislation… and it prevents your patrons from potentially getting lost!)

  • Provide your telephone

  • Give them a means by which they can reserve

  • Showcase your opening hours

  • Use the name of a person and the name of the restaurant in the email’s “from” line

  • Use an email that has a human monitoring it

  • If you got people to sign up via fishbowl, send them a welcome email (or even better, a confirmation email) the same day so they remember where they signed up.

Do it in style

  • If you don’t have professional pictures of your dishes, consider asking a friend who knows what they’re doing to take some – remember that your patrons can’t taste or smell what you’re sending, and we tend to eat with our eyes first, so beautify your plates, snap a couple of shots and keep them handy.

  • A great photo of the restaurant – full or empty – can also help people since they’d be able to picture (ha!) the restaurant.

  • Choose a template, pick your colours: set yourself up for success.

Just in time for St-Paddy’s Day

St-Patrick’s day is a great time to hang out with friends in a cool pub or relax at a swanky restaurant. The Emerald Isle is known for it’s rolling hills, welcoming hearths and warm hearts, and a pint of stout on the 17th of March is more than welcome. Even if the tradition is more American than Irish.

Other resources:

The Secret to Effective Restaurant Email Marketing

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Author Mireille Tessier

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