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
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.