Email Marketing for Restaurants - What's Important?

Email Marketing for Restaurants - What's Important?

Toast just released their industry report on Restaurant Success in 2019, analysing opinions of restaurateurs and guest alike. Amidst the information, a curious section on E-mail marketing grabbed our attention. So what should you be sending?

Source: 2019 Restaurant Success Report by Toast, Page 38
Want the full report? Access it via Toast here! 
Getting a customer e-mail is a strong starting point. It usually indicates a previous, happy diner or an interested potential patron. Once you have their details, you're able to directly market to them - but are you doing it effectively?

Toast asked Restaurateurs  what content they were e-mailing, then asked guests what content they felt was important. 

Specials and Discounts Reign Most Engaging

Whilst only 40% of Restaurants focused on discounts/specials, a whopping 87% of guests felt this was important for e-mail communications. In hindsight it almost seems obvious that a guest will engage more with a special offer teasing them back. 

Use this to your advantage by leading with an offer, perhaps outlining it in the e-mail subject or at the very least prioritising it at the top of your e-mail. 

Staff, Blogs and Humour are 'Fine'

Teetering at the lower end of importance (around 10%), guests weren't so fussed on this content. There's certainly merit in it, and perhaps the importance of these sections will be for developing your brand - selling your story. 

It's worth bearing in mind that even if customers don't acknowledge these points as important, they may still be subtly influenced more than they realise! A humorous or well-written piece of content is worth it's weight in gold if it holds the readers attention. So whilst the temptation may be to drop these features as a knee-jerk reaction, tread slowly. We'd recommend analysing your own brand to decide how much time should be dedicated to these features - and then being aware of the customer wants when piecing together your e-mail order. Perhaps lace the humour throughout but never in place of quality content. Keep the blog post and staff highlights to the latter stages of the e-mail and see if your engagement increases.

Something New? Shout About It!

The biggest disparity is between the 72% guest response and the 40% restaurant reaction regarding the important of emailing about new menu items. To us this seems a new brainer, if you've got something new then it is a big new selling point (especially if you've done your homework to engineer the item well!). Giving customers a reason to come back need not just be for a discount, it could be for a new experience. 59% of guests were interested in upcoming events, which also ties in with the idea that something novel would peak their interest. 

Is There a Perfect E-mail Format?

In short, no. There are too many variables and a more localised analysis of your market may find wild differences to the study in focus. 
However, we do feel it's an excellent starting point to put together a template for a finely tuned marketing e-mail.
If you have a MailChimp account already, follow this link to grab our template for free:
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