Email marketing is a cost-effective way to strengthen customer relationships and increase orders or bookings.
It’s a must-have in a restaurant’s marketing toolkit.
Despite many predicting the downfall of this channel, 2022 benchmarks prove that open rates and click-throughs have remained steady in recent years. There’s still great value in a well-positioned email marketing campaign.
However, restaurant email marketing has adapted in recent times. Image-sparse emails that you generically send to your entire database don’t cut it anymore. People engage with personalized content that is visually rich and taps into their food-loving senses.
The great thing about email for restaurants is it’s relatively easy to grow your database affordably. When someone places an order or makes a booking, you collect their email address. Then, it becomes a low-cost marketing channel for people that have shown direct interest in your business.
As you know, bringing (hopefully) happy customers back for more is far easier than finding new ones.
But what kind of emails are working for restaurants in 2022? I’ve pulled together five world-class examples for you to draw inspiration from.
Chipotle presents its food in a visually beautiful way across all its marketing channels, and email is no different. Its emails are professionally designed, include high-quality images of the food items they are promoting, and large bold text that drives a targeted offer. You can’t miss a Chipotle email!
A recurring deal that Chipotle promotes via email marketing is “Free Delivery Monday.” It’s an excuse to reconnect with customers each week and encourage repeat orders.
Here’s an example of this email offer in action:
Chipotle’s email marketing strategy doesn’t stop at consumer orders. They also use email to build awareness for social campaigns they’re involved with and generate interest in their catering services:
The takeaways from Chipotle’s email marketing efforts? Make your emails beautiful, on-brand, regular, and diverse.
2. Zoës Kitchen
Zoës Kitchen is a popular Mediterranean restaurant chain in Texas. I love its email marketing strategy because it heavily focuses on customer loyalty. They are regularly giving away freebies and sweet (pun intended) deals for rewards members:
The large, slightly cut-off visual of food at the top of this email is a common tactic this restaurant uses. The large image shows fine detail and supercharges the senses. It is also the very first thing you see when you open the email. I’m even salivating just writing about it!
As well as the stunning images of food, Zoës uses other similar tactics to Chipotle, such as large easily readable text, targeted offers, and on-brand colors. A winning combo.
Next up is Dunkin’ – one of America’s favorite donut and coffee restaurants.
Dunkin’ does many great things when it comes to email marketing, but I’d like to highlight its focus on special events. Events such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and more are excellent excuses to connect with your customers and offer them a deal.
For example, check out this Mother’s Day campaign for Dunkin’ rewards members that gives them the chance to send their mom an e-gift card – and, of course, some Dunkin’ goodies!
Here’s another stellar example. This time Dunkin’ is getting in the Halloween spirit by offering rewards members 3x points when they make a purchase. Using the phrase “Click or Treat” is a fun play on words, and by presenting three alternative offers it gamifies the experience for customers:
As well as relevant offers tied to events and interactive experiences, every Dunkin’ email has its iconic orange and pink color theme that is recognizable by all its customers.
A blog about restaurant email marketing wouldn’t be complete without at least one pizza brand, right? I mean, who doesn’t love pizza!?
But I didn’t choose just any run-of-the-mill pizza franchise to feature. Slice is an app that you can use to order from the best independent pizzerias around the USA. It’s helping out the little guys and also crushing it when it comes to email marketing.
Look at this vibrant email that is packed with patriotic colors and an American-themed pizza offer:
Not only is the email eye-catching and engaging – making the offer unmissable – the subject line uses emojis to entice people to open it, too.
This is the subject line:
🇺🇸 ❤️ 🍕 Save $5 on America’s favorite food
Whether you like emojis, they certainly catch attention in the inbox. And their use is on-brand for Slice, which is all about big, bold colors and imagery.
Below is another email from Slice that is worth mentioning. They have used this marketing channel to increase Halloween pizza sales by accepting pre-orders. It’s a helpful reminder for those planning a Halloween pizza night, but also the perfect way for a restaurant to increase sales for a special event.
If your restaurant’s brand has some vibrance to it, don’t be shy with your colors and use of emojis. They will help you win the battle of the inbox and catch a customer’s attention. Also, consider pre-orders for special events to maximize orders without handling them all on the big day.
Chick-fil-A is a large US restaurant franchise specializing in chicken sandwiches. While its email marketing strategy doesn’t offer too much difference from the other restaurants on this list, there was one email that caught my eye.
They’ve included an interactive word search game in the email to increase engagement with customers. It’s a tactic gaining tons of traction on Instagram with restaurants. People feel compelled to complete games!
Like the Dunkin’ Halloween email I mentioned earlier, this is an example of how interactive content can keep people viewing your emails for longer. The longer they view and the more times they click, the stickier your brand is in their mind.
You may like to brainstorm some email ideas that gamify the experience. Don’t use this tactic for every campaign – but once in a while will be worth the effort.
There you have it, five top-of-the-line examples of email marketing from restaurants.
The key learnings? Make the most of the subject line, use beautiful photography of food, drive home a targeted offer with big font, stick to your brand colors, play around with interactive content, and don’t forget to ride the wave of popular events.
What will your next email campaign look like?