How Do Restaurants Make Email Work as a Channel for Getting More Orders?

As a restaurant owner or manager, your ultimate goal is to stand-out in a competitive market. To make your customers (or prospects) order more from you. However, the caveat is that tons of marketing promotions are conducted by restaurants on a day to day basis to entice customers to buy from them. So how on Earth will you stand out? What channels are low cost and effective? Well, in this article, we will cover email marketing as a channel to build your order volume and stand out from the rest. 

Why should you go for an email marketing strategy?

Email marketing is a channel that restaurants use to push their latest offers and discounts. It also makes it easier to drive brand awareness and to communicate what you stand. In fact, 138% more money is made from customers who buy your products via an email offer than by customers who don’t get your emails at all.

emails image

Email marketing can be a very successful strategy for restaurants, if done right. Yes, email might be passé and was way more effective years back when the digital boom was at its infancy. 

However, with the sea of emails going through to customers on a daily basis, it is essential for you to stand out. 

The key benefits to running email campaigns are listed below.

Low cost

Yes, tremendously economic to execute. The only cost you will need to incur is the cost of the tool and buying a list (although we do not recommend buying one, best to make your own).

Targeted audience if the list is a good one

You can target better. you can customise your email basis several factors we’ll talk about this in more detail later in the article.

Customisations and A/B testing are possible

You can do a lot of trial and error when it comes to email. Most tools offer multiple ways of doing this.

Customising the messaging to better fit the current mood (topical messaging)

Now this point is key. Speak the language of the time that you’re in. Since Covid struck, lot of things have changed. Email marketing for one has again become one of the top modes of communication again. As a restaurant manager, here are a few things that you can promote.

Menu changes

Make menu changes. McDonalds, for instance, has a special Stay Home Menu that blends in perfectly in the current scenario.

menu of mcd restaurant

Hygiene and Safety measures employed

People want to know more about the practices you are employing at your restaurant to make food ordering a safe activity. Look at KFC’s 4X Safety campaign for instance. They promote contactless delivery and car delivery to ensure that people are assured of the hygiene standards.

kfc promotions

What kind of ROI can my restaurant business expect via an email marketing strategy?

There are some initial costs when starting with your email marketing process but with a smart campaign strategy and a good marketing service provider, you can create an email campaign that yields a very high ROI ($44 for every $1 you spend). Email marketing is as inexpensive as you want it to be. On an average, a medium sized business can expect to spend around $0-$1000 on email marketing depending upon whether they self-manage their campaign or they work with some agency and also depending upon the plan they choose. Most platforms let you upgrade your plans the way you need them.

On the return front, the word is- depends. Click rates of 20-25% and open rates of 20-22% are good. So an effective 4-5% people will actually end up visiting your website. how good your website landing page is will then determine the conversion rate, and the conversion volume will then depend upon the average basket size.

Creating an email campaign

You need to pay attention to certain details while coming up with an email campaign. Email marketing requires constant effort but that does not mean it’s complicated. To make it simple for you, we have put together a step by step guide to help you make the perfect email campaigns.

email goals

Set a goal

Being a restaurant manager / owner, your goal is to clearly segregate types of campaigns basis the goals. One goal might be to increase brand awareness. Second, might be to increase orders at your outlet. It may also be to promote the latest happenings at your restaurant and so on and so forth. The metrics for each will accordingly vary.

Choose an Email Marketing Service

It is important to note that your success with email marketing depends upon the email marketing service you choose because the delivery rate of your emails depend upon them. A good email marketing service should allow you to send bulk emails that are actually personalized without a lot of work, should make it easy for you to manage your contact lists, segment your subscribers into smaller groups and track performance of your email campaigns. Most importantly, they should ensure that your emails should not end up in the spam folder. Some of the top email marketing service providers are- MailChimp, Freshmarketer, SendinBlue and ConvertKit.

email tool mailchimp

Build your own list of contacts

Restaurants can build an email contact list in multiple ways. Make email a mandate either at the order placing stage or at the leaving feedback stage. Plough these contacts back in your email list. Make interactive posts on your social accounts. For instance: Here is our menu! Tell us what you want us to add on it, email us on our support ID or drop a message below.

Building a quick list is a great benefit as it gives you a larger audience to run your promotions on. Here are some strategies offered by Crazyegg to build and grow an email list- Killer Strategies to build an email list

Remember- You should never send unsolicited emails as it will only rub off the people you were hoping to turn into customers in the wrong way. Start by creating a subscription page on your website where people can sign up for newsletters to get updates from your company or other relevant messages.

Segment your audience

Segmentation means breaking down your list of contacts into smaller groups based on some specific criteria so that you can send them a more personalized message. Rather than blasting every email to the entire list, you can send emails to those people who you think will benefit the most from it which will in turn result in a higher conversion.

Restaurants can segment their list in multiple ways. Basis previous orders, type of order (veg/non veg), quantity of order (average basket size segmentations), kinds of dishes ordered (family/single) and so on and so forth. Remember- the more you segment, the more effective your campaign would be.

Run A/B tests on your email campaign

Not everything works. Email marketing is a game of trial and error. What piques the interest of a guy to order from your restaurant. You might try out an email with a catchy restaurant promotion subject line, you can use numbers or the word discount (although careful not to hit spam). Sky is the limit here. However do set up 2-3 versions of your email to really stand out. Running tests will help you increase your open and click-through rates which will result in more food orders and order platform visits. It helps you clarify whether your email campaign will be a success by gathering the subscribers’ attention or not, without actually having to send the campaign to the entire list.

Getting the email right

By following the given strategies, you’ll be able to maintain relationships with your clients, increase your customer engagement and also maximize ROI.

Make sure the subject line stands out

One of the most important things about email marketing is the subject line of your email. Make sure to choose a subject line which stands out and grabs the reader’s attention which will compel them to open your mail and go through it. It will also lead to an increase in the open rate of your emails.

Follow the Law

Email marketers must abide by the rules of CAN-SPAM ACT which prohibits them from sending a deceptive subject line and not providing the audience with appropriate ways to unsubscribe to their mails.

Send relevant information through mails

Don’t just send mails to encourage them to buy your products. Every once in a while you should mix up your messages and provide your subscribers with relevant tips and insights that they value and may be useful to them.

Follow a schedule

Stick to sending emails on specific days of the week at a fixed time. This will help your subscribers follow your mails easily and on time. The best days to an send email campaign are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday because on Monday people are usually busy with work and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday people tend to relax and spend time with their family and hence they often do not open their mails.

Send mobile friendly emails

Research shows that almost half of the people open their mails on their cellphones. So, if your emails aren’t mobile friendly, that is, if your emails don’t display correctly on the mobile screens then you seem lethargic on your end and it also leads to people not opening your mails in the future and finally unsubscribing to you. So, make sure your emails are compatible for both desktops as well as mobile phones.

Summing Up

Email marketing is a handy, cost-effective channel. You can drive your offers and promotions via this medium and you can get your customers to come again at your restaurant, and increase their customer lifetime value. A good marketing strategy is complete with a sound email strategy. If done right, it can bring great value to your restaurant.

Devyani Singh

Devyani Singh

Devyani is a content marketer at LimeTray. Often seen with her earphones on listening to 90s rock and Jazz or reading Harry Potter all over again. She's extremely fascinated by trees and can be seen photographing them every now and then. She is reachable at marketing@limetray.com.