Restaurant Email Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A restaurant email marketing campaign may not be top of mind for restauranteurs trying to grow their business, but it takes more than great food to draw diners. It also takes marketing.

Restaurants use a variety of marketing channels for promotions: printed flyers, Facebook ads, and Instagram, to name a few. However, email marketing remains the most effective way to incentivize customers to spend more money or win back diners who haven’t engaged in a while.

Why are email marketing campaigns important for restaurants?

The data is clear — email drives $42 for every one dollar spent —  a 4,200% ROI! That’s higher than any other marketing channel. Restaurant email marketing delivers a nearly 20% open rate and 1.34% click-through rate. Those are results any marketer would be happy to report.

Social media, although popular for many reasons, is not how consumers prefer to receive promotions. Four out of five marketing professionals would give up social media channels before email


The pros know how to get results, and they know how to do it with the least amount of resources. Email marketing can be automated and targeted based on customer information.

With that in mind, here are some strategies for leveraging restaurant email marketing:

Make it easy for customers to connect

There’s no email campaign without email addresses, and purchased lists offer an abysmal return on the investment. Successful email marketing is well-targeted to previous customers and people who have shown interest in your restaurant by visiting your website. Make it simple for them to share email information with you. Embed an email registration form on your website and display a QR code in-restaurant for easy scanning that takes the customer to your email registration form.

Sweeten the deal by offering customers a free appetizer or dessert the next time they order — send it to them in a welcome email. Be sure to ask for special occasion dates so you can send birthday and anniversary emails later. And to make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity, include your email signup URL or QR code on all receipts.

Make your emails interesting

Your topics need to be on point for the best open and click-through rates. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Announce new and seasonal menu items, specials, and themed nights
  • Introduce subscribers to the restaurant owners, chefs, and staff members
  • Tell the story of how the restaurant got started in your welcome emails
  • Offer tips on how to heat up and use left-overs people frequently take home
  • Highlight media coverage and reviews to get people excited about your food
  • Share videos of your chef explaining and cooking some restaurant favorites
  • Give loyal customers discounts, deals, and coupons

In addition, don’t forget to create an irresistible subject line that compels people to open your emails. For best results, keep them short, be descriptive (the email must deliver on the subject line), and limit the use of punctuation.

Segment and personalize each email

Based on customer information from your POS technology — like whether someone prefers delivery or takes advantage of particular promotions — you can segment customers to serve them emails that best target their preferences.

On that same note, email software will allow you to customize and personalize an email based on the recipient. If you collect their name along with their email address, their emails can read “Dear Frankie” rather than “Dear Sir/Madam.” And, if you have information about what Frankie typically orders, you can include a promotion targeted to their taste. 

Use email links strategically

Emails should always point people to your website, where they can get more information about your location, operating hours, how to order online or make reservations, as well as details about private dining, catering, gift cards, and loyalty programs. Other than linking to media coverage about your restaurant, links from emails should always go to your website, where you can inspire visitors to make a reservation or discover something they didn’t previously know about your establishment.

Pay close attention to your email marketing analytics to see which emails work best for your restaurant and when you’re getting the most opens and clicks. Use this information to tweak your approach.

Bonus: don’t be shy about asking customers for reviews. 

Getting the restaurant data you need

To facilitate segmentation and personalization, you need a restaurant POS system that gives you the customer data you need for successful email marketing. Heartland’s restaurant POS systems and technology solutions help you collect the right insights for your business. Let us help you get started today.

Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at