Why email marketing for restaurants matters

Liam Kelman
July 1, 2024

The Email Marketing Guide for Restaurants

In the bustling world of restaurants, customer loyalty and repeat business are the lifelines that sustain growth. One of the most potent tools to foster this loyalty and drive repeat visits is email marketing. At Slerp, we understand that retaining a loyal customer base can be the difference between thriving and just surviving.


Why Email Marketing is Essential for Restaurants


Email marketing isn’t just about sending promotions—it’s about building a relationship with your customers. A single visit might bring in £20, but a loyal customer who returns regularly could contribute up to £2,000 per year to your business. This underscores the importance of nurturing repeat visits and increasing customer spend with each interaction.

Email marketing offers several benefits:


  • Direct Communication: Reach your customers directly in their inbox, without relying on social media algorithms or third-party platforms.
  • High Engagement: Restaurant emails have high open rates, and email marketing can yield a return on investment (ROI) of £40 for every £1 spent.
  • Personalised Offers: Tailor your messages and offers based on customer preferences and behaviour to drive more frequent visits and higher spending.
  • Loyalty and Retention: Regular communication keeps your restaurant top-of-mind, encouraging customers to return and take advantage of special offers.


Ready to boost your restaurant’s sales and customer loyalty? Here’s how to leverage email marketing effectively with Slerp:


1. Build A Customer Email List


Creating and growing an email list is the first crucial step in your email marketing journey. This list is your direct link to every customer who has already shown interest in your brand.


Leverage Your Existing Customer Database


Start with your current POS system. Most systems store customer emails and contact details. Here’s how you can access and utilise this data:

  • Login to your POS dashboard: Navigate to the “Customers” or “Contacts” section.
  • Export the data: Download a CSV file containing your customers’ names and emails.
  • Upload to your email marketing platform: Integrate this list into your chosen email marketing tool or let Slerp automate the process for you.


Collect Emails with Every Transaction


Ensure every transaction—whether in-person or online—results in collecting an email address. This can be achieved by:

  • Offering email receipts: Provide the option for email receipts at checkout.
  • Optimising online ordering: Ensure your online ordering system captures email addresses at checkout.

If your current system doesn’t support these features, consider upgrading to one that does, as collecting customer emails is fundamental to effective marketing.


Incentivise Email Sign-ups


Encourage new sign-ups by offering something valuable in return. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Fishbowl Raffles: Have customers drop their business cards into a fishbowl for a chance to win a free meal or discount.
  • Sign-Up Sheets: Place a clipboard or tablet at your front desk or host stand for easy sign-ups.
  • WiFi Login: When customers log in to your WiFi, prompt them to sign up for your email list.

Always provide a compelling incentive, like a discount or a special offer, to motivate customers to share their contact information.


2. Utilise a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System


To take your email marketing to the next level, integrate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. A CRM helps you manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving relationships and driving sales growth.


Benefits of CRM in Email Marketing


  • Customer Segmentation: A CRM can segment your customer base into different groups based on their behaviour, preferences, and demographics, allowing you to send highly targeted and relevant emails.
  • Personalised Campaigns: Use the data from your CRM to personalise your email campaigns. Tailor your messages to individual customers’ preferences and past interactions to increase engagement and conversion rates.
  • Automated Workflows: Set up automated email workflows that trigger based on specific customer actions, such as a first-time purchase, a birthday, or a period of inactivity. This ensures timely and relevant communication.
  • Analytics and Insights: CRMs provide detailed analytics on how your emails are performing, including open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. Use these insights to refine your strategies and improve your ROI.


How to Integrate CRM with Email Marketing


  • Choose the Right CRM: Select a CRM that integrates well with your email marketing platform and POS system. Look for features such as customer segmentation, email tracking, and automation capabilities.
  • Import Customer Data: Import your existing customer data from your POS or email list into the CRM. This will allow you to start leveraging the full power of the CRM’s features.
  • Segment Your Audience: Use the CRM to segment your audience into different groups based on their behaviour and preferences. Create segments for regular customers, first-time visitors, high spenders, and more.
  • Set Up Automated Emails: Create automated email workflows that trigger based on specific customer actions. This can include welcome emails for new subscribers, reminders for customers who haven’t visited in a while, and thank-you emails for loyal customers.
  • Analyse and Optimise: Regularly review the performance of your email campaigns using the CRM’s analytics tools. Identify what’s working and what’s not, and make data-driven adjustments to improve your results.


3. Send Engaging Weekly Emails


Maintaining a regular flow of engaging emails keeps your restaurant top-of-mind for your customers. Here’s how to ensure your emails are varied and compelling:


Welcome Emails


Kick things off with a warm welcome email sequence. This is your chance to reintroduce your restaurant, highlight your new online ordering system, and offer an enticing discount, such as 25% off their first order.


Weekly Email Types


Send a mix of different email types to keep things interesting and prevent unsubscribes. A typical monthly schedule might include:

  • Week 1:
      • Tuesday: A friendly prompt to visit your restaurant.
      • Friday: A loyalty points update or recent promotion reminder.


  • Week 2:
      • Tuesday: Showcase your most popular menu items.
      • Friday: Another prompt, with a different focus.


  • Week 3:
      • Tuesday: Updates on loyalty points or benefits of ordering directly.
      • Friday: Highlight upcoming events or seasonal specials.


  • Week 4:
      • Tuesday: Another prompt email.
      • Friday: A monthly discount or special offer.


This variety ensures that your emails are not only informative but also engaging and valuable.


Promotions and Special Offers


Promotional emails are a powerful way to drive immediate action. Use these sparingly but effectively, focusing on offers that align with your business goals, such as:

  • Slow day promotions: Encourage visits on quieter days.
  • Seasonal specials: Highlight limited-time offers and events.
  • Exclusive discounts: Offer unique deals to email subscribers.

Be strategic with your promotions to maintain profitability while attracting more business.


4. Create a Comprehensive Loyalty Program

A well-designed loyalty program is a game-changer for customer retention. Here’s how to create a program that keeps customers coming back:


Offer Appealing Rewards


Encourage sign-ups with an attractive welcome offer, like a 15% off coupon. Maintain engagement by providing consistent monthly discounts and rewards. Focus on cost-effective items such as appetisers, desserts, or non-alcoholic drinks.


Keep Customers Informed


Regularly update customers on their loyalty points and how close they are to their next reward. Send emails after every purchase with their current point balance and next reward milestone. This keeps the program exciting and encourages frequent visits.


Make Rewards Attainable


Design your rewards system to offer achievable and desirable incentives. Popular choices include:

  • Free appetisers or desserts: Low-cost items that add value to the dining experience.
  • Exclusive discounts: Regular offers for loyalty program members.
  • Special event invitations: Access to exclusive events or early bird specials.

Ensure the rewards are appealing enough to motivate customers to keep earning points and returning to your restaurant.


Partner with Slerp for Effortless Email Marketing


At Slerp, we make email marketing simple and effective with our CRM. Our platform automates your email campaigns, ensuring your messages are always timely, relevant, and engaging.

Ready to see how Slerp can transform your restaurant’s email marketing? Schedule a demo with us today and discover how our CRM can boost online sales

Schedule a Free Demo of Slerp’s CRM


By integrating CRM into your email marketing strategy, you’ll not only enhance customer relationships but also drive greater engagement and revenue growth. Let Slerp guide you through this transformation and elevate your restaurant’s marketing game.

Quick Insights

Start by Building an Email List:

Your email list is your most valuable tool. Collect customer emails at every opportunity to create a direct line of communication with those who already enjoy your food. This list will be the cornerstone of your marketing efforts.


Send Weekly Emails:

Consistency is key. Send a mix of emails each week—think promotions, menu updates, and special events. This variety keeps your audience interested and drives more visits and orders.


Create a Strong Loyalty Program:

A well-crafted loyalty program, combined with regular email updates, is a game-changer. It keeps customers coming back and increases your revenue. Reward your customers for their loyalty to boost their engagement and your sales.

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