Email Marketing For Restaurants: The Complete Guide for 2023

email marketing for restaurants

Email Marketing For Restaurants: The Complete Guide for 2023

The pandemic has put up barriers to the restaurant industry over the past few years, which resulted in a severe decrease in ROI. With operations returning to normal, it’s time for them to recover and thrive again.

If you’re a restaurant owner or marketer, a thorough marketing plan will help you promote your business like a pro and get more customers to taste your delicious food. In this guide, we’ll focus on email marketing for restaurants, an excellent tool to nurture existing customers and attract new ones.

More specifically, you’ll find:

  • Top advantages of email marketing for restaurants
  • Tips for a successful email marketing strategy
  • Email marketing examples for inspiration

Let’s get started!

Restaurant Email Marketing Benefits

What are the main benefits of email marketing campaigns for customers and prospects? Let’s have a look:

Improved Customer Relationships

If you want to build stronger relationships with customers and prospects, email campaigns can play a vital role in this process. From transactional emails to offers and event invitations, create a consistent email calendar to nurture them at different customer journey stages.

As long as these campaigns are timely and relevant, customers will gradually feel a stronger bond with your business. Make sure you offer what you promise, or people will lose their trust in you sooner or later.

More Customers And Reservations

The more brand awareness you build, the more likely it becomes to increase your reservations down the line and gradually turn your restaurant into the talk of the town. You can also adopt tactics to boost your reservations, like offering deals for days with fewer bookings.

Moreover, you can promote a customer loyalty program to maximize retention by incentivizing VIP customers and making them even more fond of your restaurant. By increasing your return on investment and conversions over time, you can also improve your services and sustain good quality and reputation.

Standing Out In Competition

Finally, building an email marketing funnel and regularly engaging with your email subscribers will help you stand out. Keep a close eye on what other restaurants do to nurture their audiences to get inspired and stay ahead of the curve.

So how can you make it come true? Apart from sending regular offers and updates, you can also invest in resources such as new menu products, delivery information, events or exhibitions close to your restaurant, etc.

For example, with this campaign, Chipotle aims to inform its customers about its catering services:

Subject line: 🏈 Big game? We cater. You win.

email marketing for restaurants

If it’s your first time dealing with this marketing channel, here’s a step-by-step guide to nail your email marketing efforts:

1. Set Your Goals

To make the most of email marketing for restaurants, it’s important to set clear objectives for your strategy. Do you want to build brand awareness, boost your ROI or create trust in your brand?

Even if you hope to achieve everything at once, it’s wise to determine the primary goal for each campaign you send. For example, a reservation confirmation email is meant to reassure customers that their action is complete and share details about their transaction.

You can also follow the SMART framework to guide you through this process, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. If each goal you set follows this principle, it will be easier for you to measure the campaign performance and improve accordingly.

SMART framework for businesses


Let’s look at the emails most restaurant owners and marketers prioritize:

  • Welcome emails
  • Upcoming events
  • Announcements
  • Promotional emails
  • New menus

Determine what you’d like to accomplish through each campaign and target your subscribers with the right message.

2. Choose An Email Marketing Platform

When using email marketing, you must put many components together. Conducting everything manually can cost you lots of time and effort. Thankfully, many email marketing services like Moosend and Mailchimp are available for every budget and need to streamline your email practices.

From email design to automation and segmentation, choose an email marketing software that will cover all our needs and help you meet your email marketing goals. Here are the main features to look for before making your final ESP (Email Service Provider) choice:

  • Intuitive dashboard
  • Premade templates and email builder
  • Automation and segmentation capabilities
  • Lead generation
  • Analytics and reporting
  • A/B Testing
  • Mobile responsiveness

Here’s what an easy-to-use dashboard looks like – you can find what you need in a flash without getting lost in the noise:

Moosend dashboard

Are you looking for an email marketing service to get started? Read our comprehensive guide and find the perfect platform for your business!

3. Grow Your Email Lists

To send email campaigns to current and prospective customers, you should create email lists with subscribers who’ve provided their opt-in, i.e., permission to email them. But how do you gain new subscribers or get loyal customers to join your list?

Let’s see some techniques you can use:

  • Wi-fi marketing: Offer free wifi in exchange for your customer’s email address.
  • Email-only special offers: Give coupons to collect new email addresses.
  • Οnline reservations: Create a reservation platform to gather email addresses.
  • Schedule contests: Run a giveaway contest and ask for personal information.
  • Build sign-up forms: Add subscription forms – pop-up or static – inside your website or mobile app.

This list is not exhaustive; you can try other creative practices, as well, and see how they perform. Here’s a subscription form from VAGA restaurant to inspire you:

email signup form example

To maintain a healthy email list, it’s essential to clean it regularly to sustain high deliverability and low spam and bounce rates.

4. Use Segmentation And Automation

Unlike other marketing tools, such as social media and SEO, email marketing allows businesses to create personalized experiences for their audiences. According to a Salesforce survey, 70% of consumers stay loyal to companies that understand their needs.

So how exactly can you personalize your restaurant newsletters? Most email marketing platforms have audience management features to help you build different segments of customers with shared characteristics and target them with relevant messages.

For example, you can create segments with new vs. repeat customers, previous orders, VIPs, etc. You can also set up automated emails and send gift cards and discounts to customers for anniversaries and birthday emails to extend the fun.

In the image below, you can find the most prominent market segmentation types to send newsletters and promotional emails that are relevant to your subscribers’ needs:

market segmentation types

5. Design Captivating Email Campaigns

It’s time to make magic happen. You can choose one of the premade email templates of your chosen marketing platform and customize it based on your needs. For example, here’s a Moosend template for restaurants wishing to display their menu to customers:

Μoosend email template for restaurants
Get it now!

A great email campaign starts with the company’s logo and has a clear outline, including visuals with delicious food to capture your subscribers’ attention and trigger their appetite.

Moreover, a call-to-action (CTA) button prompts the reader to take extra steps after reading your email. For instance, this link can lead to your restaurant website to nurture them further or to a landing page to collect their contact information.

Finally, at the end of the email, you can place a footer with valuable information about your business. For instance, you can include your social media buttons, phone number, and address to help subscribers reach out to you faster. It’s also important to add an unsubscribe link for those who wish to opt-out of your restaurant email list.

6. Write Unique Copy

If your email design is one side of the coin, copywriting is the other. To convince your readers to take further action, you should write clear and relevant messages that showcase your brand.

The subject line is one of the most important elements of your email newsletter. Think of how many emails land in your inbox daily. The only way to attract your subscriber’s attention and increase your open rates is to write a captivating subject line including the main gist of the campaign.

Here are a few subject lines to inspire you:

  • Your lunch is ready!
  • Our new winter menu is ready!
  • Come dine with us!
  • Up for a delicious mystery tour?
  • Join us for happy hour today!

Of course, the preview text and main content should also serve the goal of your campaign, including words that make your offers hard to resist. Check the example from McDonald’s below to get in the flow.

Subject line: Your FREE McDonald’s is locked in! 🔒

email marketing for restaurants McDonalds example

7. Analyze Your Metrics

Tracking your email performance is one of the essential tactics to ensure that the engine is running and the results you get are the best possible. Below, you’ll find the most important email metrics and recent benchmark data for email marketing for restaurants measure:

  • Open rates – 18.5%
  • Click-through rate (CTR) – 2 %
  • Click-to-open rate – 10.5%
  • Unsubscribes – 0.1 %
  • Bounce rates

Κeep a log of these data to understand which patterns work and which email practices need improvement.

5 Email Marketing Examples For Restaurants

Now that we’ve explored the best email marketing practices for restaurants, let’s see some amazing campaign examples to help you:

1. Alain Ducasse Exclusive Collaboration Email

Subject Line: Exclusive collaboration with Dom Pérignon

restaurant email campaign

Why it works: We’ll start with Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, a top restaurant with three Michelin stars. With this campaign, they announce an exclusive collaboration with Dom Pérignon to entice loyal and prospective customers.

Once they open it, they’ll see a classy and plain format with all the necessary information about the collaboration. To share similar updates, it’s important to take extra care of the subject line and preview text so that the subscribers understand what this campaign is all about at first glance. Finally, create dedicated CTA buttons for those who wish to explore more.

Want to create a similar campaign? Alain Ducasse is a Moosend customer, so if you like what you see, sign up for a free account today and use our amazing templates and features.

2. Gibson’s Restaurant Group Welcome Email

Subject Line: Thank you for signing up

restaurant welcome email example

Why it works: Welcome emails are among a business’s most powerful email marketing assets, as it usually receives a high open rate. Gibsons Restaurant Group made the most of this trend by sending a dedicated campaign to thank new subscribers.

To make a first impression, they also offer an incentive to prompt new subscribers to make their first purchase on the restaurant’s online shop. Moreover, they’ve placed the CTA and discount code profoundly at the center to ensure that all readers will see and click on them. Therefore, if you have online ordering services, this is a perfect tactic for you, too.

3. Bakers Square Birthday Email

Subject Line: Have a free slice on us for your birthday!

Bakers Square birthday email

Why it works: Everyone loves birthday gifts, and your customers will adore you if you offer them something on their special day. Here, Bakers Square offers an extra slice of pie for every purchase they make at the bakery to incentivize them to pay a visit.

This email design stands out from the crowd, with intense red color and a yummy piece of birthday cake waiting for us. Bakers Square created this unique campaign using Moosend’s editor. Create your version to wish your customers Happy Birthday!

Find a template!

4. Floriana Special Event Announcement

Subject Line: 8 spots left for our Quady North Wine Dinner! 🍷

Floriana upcoming event email announcement

Why it works: If you want to invite your loyal customers and prospects to an upcoming event, you can do it like Floriana. In the header, you can find the main information about the event, such as the date and time, followed by the exclusive menu.

Moreover, they added a sense of urgency starting from the subject line to show subscribers that they should hurry up if they want to attend the event. This is a well-known marketing tactic to use on similar occasions to trigger the fear of missing out and get your subscribers to act.

5. Restaurant Hub Content Newsletter

Subject Line: #recipient:name#, your ‘Top Fathers Day Restaurant’ picks

content digest email for restaurants

Why it works: You can follow Restaurant Hub’s format to nurture your audience with helpful resources and recommendations. Here, they created a dedicated email campaign with recommendations for Father’s Day.

You can see the recipient’s name in the subject line and the intro. Restaurant Hub used Moosend’s personalization feature to make their communication more direct and personal.

Register for a Moosend account today to optimize your email personalization goals if you want to try it out.


If you want to reap all the benefits mentioned above, it’s time to streamline your email marketing efforts. Pick an email marketing platform that completes your existing stack and design your first campaign to motivate readers to visit your restaurant asap.

Follow our email marketing best practices for starters, and you’ll be more than happy with the results. Remember to put automated emails and personalization in the game for more spiciness.

Looking for an email marketing service that other restaurants trust? Sign up for a Moosend account today and enjoy a 30-day free trial.

Email Marketing For Restaurants FAQs

And for dessert, here’s a quick round of frequently asked questions about restaurant email marketing:

1. How can I attract new customers with email marketing?

You can create various emails with offers, discounts, deals, or free resources to motivate them to visit your restaurant.

2. Is email marketing effective for restaurants?

Yes – many restaurant businesses use it to warm up customer relationships and increase their ROI over time.

3. How can I grow the email list for my restaurant?

Here are some practices to build your email lists: 1) Wi-fi marketing, 2) Subscription forms, 3) Email-only special offers, 4) Giveaways, and 5) Online orders.

4. How can restaurants market their business online?

These are some prominent techniques to focus on: 1) Website optimization, 2) SEO, 3) Email marketing, 4) Social Media, and 5) Paid Advertising.