If you’ve never sent a newsletter to your restaurant patrons, it’s time to consider this email marketing strategy seriously. A properly-crafted foodie newsletter can increase brand awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, sales. I’ve put together a list of restaurant newsletter ideas to help you get started.
What is a Restaurant Newsletter?
A restaurant newsletter is a type of electronic communication containing relevant content that restaurateurs can send to customers who have subscribed to their email list. A newsletter can contain anything from important news, menu releases, promotions, and so on. The purpose of a newsletter is to increase brand awareness, drive repeat visits, and convert.
12 Restaurant Newsletter Ideas Customers Will Love
1. Special offers and promotions
The best thing about opening a newsletter from a brand you love is seeing it contains a promotion or a special offer you can redeem. If these offers are exclusive to newsletter subscribers, even better. Customers will be glad they subscribed and might tell their friends to do so as well, which would increase your subscribers’ list.
If the offer is redeemable online instead of in-store, don’t forget to add a highly visible call to action that redirects the customer to the page where they can redeem it. I recommend a button because it’s easier to spot and click on.
In the case of promotions and special offers, the button could read “Redeem now,” “Claim now,” “Order now,” or even “Book a table” if the offer is redeemable in-store.
2. Limited menu items or seasonal menus
Whenever you change your menu or introduce a one-time item to it, you should announce it everywhere. From your website to social media and, of course, your newsletter. How else are people going to know about it?
Since newsletters shouldn’t be very long or text-heavy, it’s all about how you advertise the menu. If it’s just a menu item that won’t be around for long, emphasize the fact that it’s a limited-time deal they shouldn’t miss.
If you usually do seasonal menus, thematic images surrounding that season and its most distinctive holidays should do the trick. Let’s say you’re introducing a pumpkin pecan pie around Thanksgiving. A steaming pie decorated with nuts and whipped cream and surrounded by fall foliage, a decorative pumpkin, and warm colors will look unbelievable on camera.
3. New menu items
Similar to limited-time menu items, if you’ve introduced a new permanent dish to your menu, you should include it in a newsletter. If you have a longer post about it somewhere on your website or social media, redirect your customers to where they can read more about it.
If you sell food online, it’s imperative that you add a call to action with a link to where people can order the new item. The CTA could read “Order our new menu item,” “Order [dish name] now,” or “Read more about our new menu item” if you don’t have an online menu.
4. Event reservations
Are you organizing a special event at your restaurant, such as a Halloween party or a celebratory Thanksgiving dinner? Send your customers a virtual invitation via your newsletter. While the invitation itself is mostly symbolic, to get customers to engage and convert, include a button where they can make a table reservation for the event.
Hype up the event as “not to be missed” and tell them that reserving a table will ensure other more decisive customers won’t steal their spot. The call to action on the button can be “Book a table,” “Make a reservation,” or “Secure your seat.”
5. Stellar reviews
A whopping 94% of customers choose where to eat based on online reviews. This means collecting positive reviews of your restaurant should be one of your top priorities. You should strive to respond to reviews on every platform that allows them, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business.
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Ideally, you should provide easy access to them on your website for everyone to see. However, you can do more to convince people that your restaurant is the place to be, and that is to gather a few of the best reviews and turn them into a newsletter.
Not only will that boost your credibility, but it is also a great tactic to get more reviews. After presenting a few reviews from a platform of your choice (or multiple), add a call to action that will send customers to where they can leave a review as well. The button could read, “Leave us a review,” Leave us a review on [platform name],” or “Review us on [platform name].”
If you feel like customers might need some motivation to leave a review, you can offer a freebie in exchange for one, like a free drink or dessert.
6. Secret recipes
Not all restaurant newsletter ideas will necessarily and directly convert, but they should at least engage customers somehow. That is something recipes can 100% do. If you’re willing to share some of your secret recipes with your newsletter subscribers, you might capture their attention and pique their interest.
Be persuasive by highlighting the fact that you’re sharing these secret recipes with your subscribers only. Then, encourage them to tag you on social media, sharing their attempt at recreating the recipe. Add links to your social media profiles so they may follow you there.
If you have video recipes posted on your YouTube channel, add a preview in the newsletter and a link to your channel for people who want to check out the entire recipe. You can do something similar with recipes posted on your website as well, so you can increase website traffic.
7. New features and services
Are you excited about a new feature you’ve just added to your restaurant website or service that became available in-store? Share that excitement with your customers in a newsletter.
Let’s say you’ve just started taking online orders. That is the perfect feature to promote online because you can easily redirect customers to where they can place their first order straight from the newsletter.
8. Birthday gifts
One of the most effective restaurant newsletter ideas is rewarding customers with a special gift on their birthday. If the data you collected on them includes their birthday (and it should if you plan on doing something like this), use tools like Mailchimp to send an automated birthday email.
The actual gift can be anything they can redeem either online or in-person, from a voucher to a discount or a free meal/menu item. If the gift is instantly redeemable online, use a call to action like “Get a free [menu item],” “Redeem gift,” or “Claim your birthday gift.”
9. Contests and giveaways
Organizing a contest or a giveaway every now and then is good business. They raise engagement as well as brand recognition. If you want to let more people know about it, promote it in your newsletter.
Depending on the type of contest/giveaway, you can choose to make it exclusive for newsletter subscribers or simply use your newsletter as another medium through which to advertise it. Regardless, give detailed instructions on what the contest or giveaway entails and a direct link to where people can sign up for it.
10. Employee spotlights
One of the more personal restaurant newsletter ideas on this list, this will help customers get to know you and your staff better. While it may not directly convert, depending on how you choose to frame the story and what you choose to include in the email, it might still get you some engagement.
First, it’s a matter of carefully crafting the email subject line to capture the subscriber’s attention. Second, the email shouldn’t be a dead-end for the person reading it. Ideally, it should encourage them to read more on the topic or see other similar stories somewhere on your website or social media.
So, if you were to tell a story that makes your chef unique, for instance, you could prompt people to follow you on Instagram for more of his antics or on YouTube to check out some of his vlogs or recipes.
11. Dish of the month
You can also choose to spotlight a different dish each month and make the newsletter format image-based. You don’t need to say a lot about the dish; just let the pictures speak for themselves.
To capitalize on people’s desire to taste said dish once they stare at the mouthwatering pictures, add an easy-to-spot button that they can click to order it ASAP. From your newsletter straight into their takeaway bag.
12. Business updates
Finally, if your business is going through changes, these are newsletter-worthy as well. For instance, let’s say you’re opening a new restaurant location. That is something you want your customers to know. Include photos of the new restaurant location as well as its address and contact information.
Another example of a business update is changing your chef, especially if you’ve just hired a well-known or highly-talented individual. Include his background and specialties and send people to where they can order his famous dishes.
The newsletter examples above are perfect for a restaurant email marketing beginner who wants to increase engagement and conversions. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools online that can help you create a newsletter from scratch and send it to your list of contacts.
For email newsletter design inspiration, you can use the Canva newsletter maker for free. You can choose a newsletter template and customize it as you wish. To distribute the newsletter, MailChimp is one of the best tools around. Also, don’t forget your newsletters should be responsive, so they load correctly on any device.
Do you have any other restaurant newsletter ideas that have worked for you in the past? Reach out and let me know.