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Email Marketing for Restaurants: Keeping in Touch With Your Guests

Mar 18, 2021 Franchise Information

Alongside new social distancing and safety regulations, it’s become increasingly important to connect with guests (past, present, and future) through digital channels — meeting them where they are.

Email is still a very valuable way to connect with restaurant patrons, whether it’s to highlight a menu item, send a special birthday coupon, or wish your customers a happy holiday season.

Email is Still Alive and Well

Patrons who sign up to receive email notifications from a restaurant brand are acknowledging their support.

According to recent industry benchmarks from MailChimp, email open rates for the restaurant industry are nearly 20%. If we’re talking about specific campaigns, promotions or announcements, that’s decent engagement with a captive audience. One could argue that number is likely higher for restaurants with an established brand.

A restaurant brand with a strong email list has a definitive advantage because its email list represents a captive audience. Patrons who sign up to receive email notifications from a restaurant brand are acknowledging their support. The patrons that make up the email list will be great candidates for responding to coupon codes and other promotional incentives the restaurant has going on.

Email Is Effective for Revenue Growth

We all remember that old 80/20 rule. That is, businesses normally generate 80% of their revenue from 20% of their customer base. That’s true of the restaurant business as well.

As per FSR Magazine’s post How to Soar Restaurant Revenue with Email Marketing, “…getting just a meagre 5 percent of customers to return on a regular basis could increase revenue by 25 to 125 percent.”

They also go on to say that “74 percent of business owners aren’t using email marketing. That means that the field is wide open for restaurants to expand their marketing and communication.” That is especially true when the brand is established and can leverage well-coordinated promotional announcements. In other words, email is extremely effective when the brand understands their customer and cares about what they want to read.

Email Lists Are The New Gold Rush

Let’s face it, in the world of digital communication, data is like gold. If the restaurant brand has a strong email list, they have some semblance of control over that data, whereas social media promotions are far less direct. Countless brands are vying for people’s attention on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Email communication can be far more direct, with less “noise” to contend with.

Email is also ostensibly permission-based. Because of CASL and equivalent data protection laws for email addresses, safeguards are in place to ensure that someone who signs up for a brand’s email broadcasts truly wants to hear from them. Emailing a permission-based list is a far more effective approach than using more traditional “interruption-driven” promotions.

Email Marketing is Cost-Effective

Email is still a cost-effective way to reach consumers. There are industries where print and mail promotions still work. Of course in the post-COVID-19 normal, email is less complicated, given that it doesn’t involve having to physically touch anything.

Also, sophisticated brands allow for great continuity of promotional ideas when the medium is a patron’s mobile device. If the brand has an exclusive partnership with delivery aggregators like Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, (which Recipe does) promotional codes and offers that arrive via email allow for a low-barrier transaction to occur.

According to Payments Canada, “…26 percent of Canadians say they are using food delivery services like Uber Eats and Instacart more often during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Using email marketing as a way to leverage promotions and deals for delivery just makes sense.

People Trust Email From Trusted Brands

At Recipe, we are home to several iconic Canadian restaurant brands. That equates to a very high trust factor. People tend to respond better to communications from recognized and trusted brands. And because Recipe equips our franchisees with organized promotions with consistent messaging, branding and value propositions, our franchisees have great success with email marketing.

So, even though today’s digital landscape includes many different options to reach your patrons, don’t count email out just yet!

If you still have questions about how email marketing can help your restaurant, let us know. We’re happy to help!

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