Restauranteur Blog

Collect email addresses and let your restaurant's website market to the regulars

- Monday, December 03, 2012

There are many ways for a restaurant to collect email addresses and market to their guests. Your website should already have an area devoted to collecting email addresses. But in order to be a successful restaurant, owners have realized how important it is to maintain regular customers. A regular is an important piece of the marketing puzzle. A regular is your restaurant's ambassador that can attract new customers your restaurant can turn into regulars. By keeping these reoccurring guests happy and educated on what your restaurant is offering every week, you can insure a constant stream of new customers.

Every website that we build here at Restaurant Website Platform comes with our email marketing feature. This type of email database is more valuable than a Constant Contact or Mail Chimp account because it connects directly to the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). We also design every client one email marketing newsletter template that matches their website or brand so that they can manage their own advertising campaigns and look professional. A poorly designed newsletter that looks sloppy will probably never bring you new business. But just like we tell every restaurant owner and manager, email marketing only works if you are willing to put in both time and effort.

These are just a few ideas on how your Restaurant can collect email addresses:

  1. Include an email address card in every check presenter that your server takes to the table. This sounds simple but this program is something that you as a manager or owner will have to monitor quite closely. These cards need to be replaced frequently and that means you will need to train your staff on the importance of this process. A manager needs to stress to servers and bartenders that by helping the restaurant market to regulars, this means more cash in their pockets. We have seen the most successful restaurants run a nightly contest for the server, hostess, or bartender that turns in the most “valid” email addresses at the end of the night. Their reward can be as simple as a free meal, a bottle of wine or even a gift certificate. The restaurant should also be willing to give the customer something for giving up their email address. Most of our clients offer a free desert or free glass of wine and others offer a coupon for a percentage off their bill on their next visit. These coupons can be sent to your customers via email, see it’s working already. Making sure you or your management team enters the email addresses into your database is the most important part. The worst time to tackle this task is at the end of the night when you are tired and trying to close the place down, so save this project for the morning or set aside a day every week.
  2. Join your local Chamber of Commerce today. Your Chamber already has a great list of email addresses and when you pay your membership fee they will normally share that list with you. Your restaurant should want to be part of the community and you can drum up more business by hosting Chamber of Commerce events.
  3. Put a fishbowl at the Hostess stand for business cards and do a weekly prize giveaway at the restaurant. You can get creative with the gifts or simply buy them lunch. Then every week announce the prize and winner in your newsletter. Everyone who puts a business card in the bowl should be added to your email database.
  4. Do we have your email address, Mr. Jones? Ask for their email address every time your customers call and make a reservation. This can be accomplished by simply asking your customers if they would like to receive weekly discounts that your restaurant only shares through email. Once you have their email address, your restaurant can advertise events such as cooking classes or wine tastings to create more regular customers. Believe me, they will want to give up their info.

Over the years, we have worked with and worked for many restaurants. Some restaurants truly understand the power of email marketing and some restaurants drop the ball. There are many types of people that open restaurants. Some owners simply build a restaurant, open the doors and think that customers are going to come rushing in. It just doesn’t work that way. Of course, there are some restaurants that have the greatest location in town and remain packed day and night. But for most restaurants, they must devote the time and effort of collecting email addresses so that their business can grow every year. So are you ready to start increasing covers with email marketing? Contact us at 310-537-8500 or and we can get started increasing your business.

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