I vividly remember sitting in class in my last year of college. My hospitality teacher told us a very interesting statistic.
It sounded something like this: “95% of restaurants, bars and hotels go bankrupt in the first year after they open”. It was shocking for me, as I thought that these types of businesses are very sustainable and can generate massive amounts of money.
Obviously it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was. The restaurant business can be very tough to run.
Especially when you’re just starting out. Literally no one knows about your restaurant.
I don’t need to tell you how surprising it was to see how fragile these businesses can be in the pandemic. Getting people to your restaurant is crucial.
And it’s getting more and more difficult, as these multinational corporations extend in your area. I’m talking about restaurant chains, as well as fast food chains.
If you have a small restaurant, it’s almost impossible to compete with a bigger brand or a very popular chain.
That’s why marketing is very important. But unfortunately very expensive as well …
Email marketing though, is still the best option for small businesses. Especially for restaurants.
We all know how big the operating costs of running can be. The staff, the supplies, the rent are all very expensive .
So, email marketing is kinda like the only viable option for restaurant managers and owners.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Restaurants
Let’s have a look at what the benefits are:
- Fortify your relationship with your current customers. This is a great way of maintaining your audience. Creating an email campaign where you constantly letting your customers know that you appreciate them can really improve your sales. Some of them might come more often to your restaurant in stead of going to your competition. I would 🙂
- Attract new customers. Going the extra mile before people even step foot in your restaurant could really make the difference in your business. They will surely appreciate your hospitality.
- Great ROI (return on investment). The most important benefit, and the one you’re probably looking for, email marketing has an amazing ROI. A study done by WebPageFX shows that email marketing has a 4400% ROI. But what about restaurants? Obviously it will be a bit lower than that. But you can surely expect it to be quite high.
Why Should You Use Email Marketing For Your Restaurant?
There are plenty of good reasons. As you already know, building strong relationships with your customers is crucial for every business, let alone restaurants.
A simple email newsletter can make the difference in the customer’s perception about you. And it doesn’t really take that much effort. Or even money.
Also, the people who don’t know anything about your restaurant can receive discounts in their emails. We all know that this is a great way to attract potential clients.
Another cool idea is to have emails sent automatically after the customers leave your place.
Again, an email in which you show your appreciation to the customer by telling them you hope they had a good time can dramatically increase the chances of them returning.
For your loyal fan base, you can have special offers or daily menus sent daily. We all know how short the people’s attention span is, especially in this era.
Even if they truly love your restaurant, they will forget about its existence. So it’s a good thing to remind them 🙂
This is probably one of the best ways to promote your restaurant and provide value at the same time.
For example, you can send out special recipes that your chef makes. Chances are people will like what they see but they will be too lazy to cook it themselves.
So guess where they will think of going?:)
Let people know when you include new items on your menu. This is a good way of telling them that you care about your service.
Or you can tell them your restaurant’s origin story. How it all started, how difficult it was in the beginning.
This is probably one of the most powerful marketing tactics in the world. There is a lot of stuff regarding this in the funnel section of the blog.:)
Maybe you can send them photos of the staff. Show them how things are done in your place. This is a great way to build trust and make your customers like you even more.
You can organize exclusive events in your restaurants and invite your customers. Make them feel like a VIP.
Send an email to your entire list by telling them it’s a private event and they are invited. Also, have them show the email at the entrance so it feels more exclusive.
The restaurant I was working at did this once and it went very well. After the event, there was a visible spike in traffic on our terrace.
Also, we had much more private events on the weekends, such as weddings or corporate events. You should try it out in your place 🙂
How Can You Build Your Email List?
One of the most effective way to collect leads it to have a opt-in form on your restaurant’s website. The reason it’s so good it’s because you don’t pay for any ads.
Also, you can have good-looking pop-ups on your website.
Make sure they don’t look spammy in any way. The customers might get angry.
BUT if you know what you’re doing, they can increase your conversion rates up to 10%.
Keep in mind it’s very important how you design the pop-ups. Don’t have different colors from your website theme.
Don’t have the pop-up appear immediately after a visitor enters your website. Also, you need to offer something in return to their email.
A good option would be to compile a PDF with some recipes. Or maybe a list of ways to prepare your meals faster.
Also, you can tell your waiters to bring a small flyer together with the check. The flyer could say that if they join the email list, they will regularly receive coupons or discounts for beverages.
Be creative. That’s what marketing is all about.
Oh, you can also offer people exclusive deals if they join the list. Kinda like a VIP club. There’s another interesting idea.
Running a restaurant business is a lot of hard work. Especially in these strange times.
The pandemic showed us how fragile most, if not all businesses really are. And restaurants make no exception.
That’s why is really important to have your marketing on point. Otherwise your business will struggle to make a profit.
It will give you a better understanding on how it really works. Kinda like a birds-eye view.
If you already decided that you want to start taking email marketing more seriously, that’s a very good thought to have.
You also need a software with which you can automate all your campaigns and newsletter.
A very affordable option is GetResponse. I personally use it for a couple of years and don’t intend to change.
It’s very reliable and the best one I’ve tried so far (believe me, I tried a lot of them).