Email Marketing for restaurants

Rita Homem's photo

Rita Homem


Email has revolutionized communication, from sending thoughtful PowerPoint presentations to sharing funny videos. It’s also become a vital tool for brands to connect with their customers.

📈 With an average return of $40 for every $1 spent on email marketing, it’s a strategy worth exploring.

Curious to learn more? In this guide, we’ll show you how to use email marketing for your restaurant. We’ll cover:

  • 📋 How to build your email list
  • 📧 Key elements of email marketing
  • 🍴 Different types of restaurant emails

Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

Building your email list 📜

First things first, you need an email list. Without subscribers, there’s no one to receive your emails.

Online reservations 📅

If you use a booking management system, you’re already collecting email addresses. Put them to good use! With resOS’ Mailchimp integration, sending email campaigns to your guests is a breeze. Need help? Our customer support team is here for you.

Mailchimp email marketing integration with resOS for restaurants

Offer incentives 🎁

Everyone loves free stuff! Offer discounts, free appetizers, or drinks to encourage people to share their email addresses. It’s a small investment that pays off with happy customers.

Website 🌐

Add a pop-up or a simple sign-up box on your website, usually at the bottom of every page. Don’t forget to include a checkbox for customers to consent to receiving emails—it’s a legal requirement. Also, place a subscribe button on your website, or use QR codes on your menus and tables for easy sign-ups.

Promote sign-ups on Social Media 📱

Boost your newsletter sign-ups with these tips:

  • 📢 Post simple reminders
  • 🔗 Add your newsletter link to your link tree
  • 📝 End all posts with a mention of your newsletter

Email Marketing elements ✉️

Now that your list is growing, it’s time to start sending emails! Here are the key elements to focus on:

Subject 🏷️

One of the most important elements in any email. It’s what catches your guests’ attention and makes them want to open and read your email.

💡 Aim for subject lines with 30 to 50 characters — 4 to 7 words, basically.

Need ideas? Try these:

A question: What do you think of our [latest dish]?

Two options: Takeaway again or drooling over something different?

Tap into desires or frustrations: Your most Instagrammable food photo awaits.

Personalize with names: John, have you tried our latest dish?

Use a metaphor, tale, myth, or pun: Our buffet is a ‘horn of plenty’.

Preview text 👀

This short sentence appears after the subject line and before opening the email. It nudges subscribers to open your email.

💡Aim for 30 to 80 characters — around 4 to 8 words — to ensure it appears on both mobile and desktop.

Combine it with the subject line for maximum curiosity.

  • What do you think of [latest dish]? | “Delicious,” says Sarah.
  • Takeaway again or drooling over something different? | Come on, you know the answer.
  • Your most Instagrammable food photo right here | Double tapping is on your followers’ menu
  • John, have you tried [latest dish]? | You really should!
  • Our buffet is a “horn of plenty” | Find out why

Body 📜

This is the main part of your email. Tailor your message to your goals. Want more bookings? Include a 🔗 booking link. Make it easy for subscribers to take action without having to contact you directly.

Call to action (CTA) 🔗

Clearly state what you want your customers to do. Whether it’s booking a table, visiting your website, or checking your social media, include a clear and eye-catching CTA button.

Footer 🔚

Your footer should include:

  • Social media icons
  • Your logo
  • A booking link
  • An unsubscribe link
  • Your restaurant’s physical address

Remember, the unsubscribe link and physical address are mandatory by law.

Email design 🎨

Be creative! What you write and how you write can say a lot about your restaurant, but so can your email design. 

An image is worth a thousand words, especially if we’re talking about dishes, desserts and drinks. Are you drooling already? I sure am 🤤

With this in mind, aim on the side of excess (of images), rather than caution.

💡 As a rule of thumb, your email’s image-to-text ratio should be 80% image, 20% text.

Different Types of Restaurant Emails 📧

Welcome email 👋

Subject: Welcome to [Restaurant Name]!
Preview: We’re thrilled to have you!
Body: Thank you for joining our community! Here’s a special offer just for you: [Discount/Offer Details]. We can’t wait to see you!
CTA: Claim Your Offer

Promotional email 🎉

Subject: Exclusive Deal for You!
Preview:Don’t miss out!
Body: Enjoy 20% off your next visit. Show this email to your server to redeem your discount.
CTA: Get Your Discount

Event email 🎈

Subject: Join Us for [Event Name]!
Preview:RSVP today!
Body: We’re hosting a special event and you’re invited! Come and enjoy [Event Details].

Re-engagement Email 📣

Subject: We Miss You!
Preview:Here’s a treat!
Body: It’s been a while since your last visit. Here’s a [Special Offer] to welcome you back.
CTA: Claim Your Treat

Post-visit email 📝

Subject: Thanks for visiting!
Preview:How was your meal?
Body: We hope you enjoyed your meal at [Restaurant Name]. We’d love to hear your feedback!
CTA: Leave a Review

Newsletter 📰

Subject: Latest News from [Restaurant Name]
Preview:Exciting updates!
Body: Check out our latest news, upcoming events, and special offers.
CTA: Read More

Final tips 🛠️

Now that we’ve gone through ways to build your email subscriber list, email marketing key elements and different email examples for your restaurant, you’re ready to start your restaurant’s email marketing campaigns.

If you’ve been sending emails for a while, we’ll just share some final tips and tricks which will help you on this new journey.

Personalization 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Make your subscribers feel special by:

  • Adding their first name in the subject line or body
  • Customizing the “from” field (e.g., “John from Pizza Hut”)
  • Tailoring content to their interests
  • Using language your customers use

Mobile optimization 📱

With 40% of emails opened on mobile devices, ensure your emails look great on both desktop and mobile. Most email platforms use responsive designs, but always check by sending a test email to yourself.

Data and analytics 📊

Track everything:

  • Booking links: see how many subscribers click
  • Open rates (OR): percentage of opened emails
  • Click rates (CR): percentage of total subscribers who clicked on any links
  • Unsubscribe rates: percentage of subscribers who opted out
  • Device statistics: see where your emails are opened

These metrics can give you ideas of what your subscribers like to see and what they aren’t interested in.

Let’s go back to the Women’s Day event. Suppose that you send a newsletter updating your subscribers on the event along with news on a quiz night.

Link rates tell you that the Women’s Day CTA button got 50% CTR while the quiz night button only got 5%. This tells you that your subscribers are much more interested in going out to party with their friends than answering questions over a couple of drinks.

It doesn’t mean that you should drop quiz night altogether. It does give you an idea of what your subscribers are looking for, so you can plan your emails and events accordingly.

If you want to take your tracking to the next level, then integrate your email marketing platform with Google Analytics.

You can easily integrate Mailchimp, Google Analytics and resOS, your booking management system. Google Analytics will provide you with metrics to know if the emails you are sending are translating directly to bookings. That’s the real winner!

Google Analytics integration for restaurants

Compliance ⚖️

Ensure you comply with laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR:

  • Provide a quick unsubscribe option
  • Include a physical address
  • Obtain explicit consent to use email addresses

Check your local laws to know which regulation applies to your specific location. Different states within the United States of America might have different laws as well, so make sure to check not only federal, but also state laws.

Conclusion 🏁

Are you ready to launch your first email marketing campaign? Remember, for every dollar spent, you could get $40 back. Don’t leave money on the table. Start sending those emails!

Register your restaurant today on resOS and try our Mailchimp and Google Analytics integrations. 🚀

Register your restaurant today on resOS

and try our MailChimp and Google Analytics integrations.