10 Email Marketing Campaign Types for Your Restaurant

May 27, 2024 4:51:46 PM

Email marketing is one of the most efficient tools for restaurants looking to engage with their guests and boost their business.

In fact, almost 70% of diners prefer email as a way to stay informed about—and get promotions from—your restaurant.

Coupled with the fact that emails are a cost-effective marketing channel, the power of email marketing becomes evident.

That’s why we’ll explore ten types of email marketing campaigns that can elevate your restaurant's communication strategy and attract new and repeat guests.

So, let’s dive in and get customers to dine out at your restaurant. 

Welcome Emails

If prospective diners find your restaurant online, like through your website, and subscribe to your email list, they’ll receive a welcome email before they even set foot in your establishment.

Alternatively, they might visit your restaurant first, have a great dining experience, and then choose to sign up for your emails.

In both cases, welcome emails serve as the starting point for your digital communication, making it critical to create a positive first impression.

There are many ways to do that, such as a short welcome message and a discount for their first (or next) visit. 

Here’s an example.

restaurant welcome email screenshot

Source: Back Yard Burgers

Back Yard Burgers get straight to the point.

They welcome new members to their clubhouse, tell them what to expect (mouth-watering deals), and then treat them with a free classic burger.

Concurrently, they provide a time limit for the free offer, enticing new members to visit soon.

If you’re offering a discount/freebie for new subscribers, you can also include a promo code and then track how many guests use it when they visit your establishment.

But this is just one approach. 

Your welcome emails can also include an overview of your guests’ favorite menu items or a short story about how your restaurant came to be.

Additionally, there are two things worth considering that the above email is missing:

  • personalization, i.e., adding the subscriber’s name to foster a sense of connection
  • call-to-action (CTA), such as “Reserve now” or “Follow us on social media

Overall, welcome emails set the tone for your future communications, thus laying the foundation for a lasting relationship with your guests.

Reservation Confirmation Emails

As their name suggests, these emails serve to confirm and provide details about table reservations.

Although each reservation confirmation email can be created and sent manually, they’re usually automated, i.e., triggered when a guest makes a reservation through your online reservation system.

Such emails typically include:

  • confirmation of reservation date, time, and the number of guests, and
  • contact information for any changes or cancellations.

Moreover, they can also contain other pertinent details, such as:

Here’s an example of reservation confirmation emails that are automatically sent when customers book a table through our online reservation system, Tablein.

tablein restaurant reservation confirmation email

Source: Tablein

These and other emails whose sending can be automated through Tablein are fully customizable.

This means you can tailor their content and design to reflect your restaurant's brand, voice, and specific guest needs.

Of course, there’s much more you can do with an advanced table booking system like Tablein to automate your staff’s daily tasks.

Among various features, the key functionality enabled by Tablein is that guests can make online reservations 24/7 through any of your restaurant’s online channels.

tablein screenshot

Source: Tablein

For instance, you can customize and automate SMS notifications in a similar way as your booking confirmation emails.

Likewise, your online reservation setup can include an opt-in field that guests can use to join your emailing list.

Lastly, it should be noted that confirmation emails are an excellent opportunity to promote your restaurant by adding marketing content. 

Such content can include discounts, information about special occasions, or great reviews that your satisfied diners left on social media, which brings us to the next section.

Social Proof Emails

Social proof emails are a great way to build customer trust and your restaurant’s credibility with the help of guest testimonials and reviews.

This user-generated content can include:

That way, potential customers see real experiences from others, making them more likely to choose your restaurant.

For example, this healthy food delivery service joins social proof and a discount offer in one email, which is an often-used practice in email marketing.

social proof email

Source: Factor

Of course, social proof goes beyond guest reviews and testimonials, meaning your emails can also contain:

  • information about awards and recognitions from culinary organizations,
  • articles or reviews in professional magazines and local news outlets,
  • mentions or endorsements by food bloggers/vloggers, and
  • endorsements or visits by celebrities.

Including this type of social proof in your emails reinforces your restaurant's credibility through external validation and provides potential customers with additional assurance and confidence in the quality and reputation of your establishment.

Special Occasion Emails

Special occasion emails serve as invitations to memorable events hosted by your restaurant.

Think cooking classes, wine-tasting events, live music nights, and themed dinners.

These emails are designed to engage customers and create anticipation for unique experiences that go beyond regular dining.

By sending out email invitations to special events, you provide guests with opportunities to enjoy new and exciting experiences while also fostering a sense of community and loyalty.

Here’s an example of a pop-up themed dinner and wine-tasting joined in one evening.

special event restaurant email

Source: Le Si Restaurant

Keep in mind, though, that sending special occasion emails should be well-timed.

This will ensure maximum attendance and create anticipation.

To achieve this, you can include:

  • enticing descriptions of the special event,
  • highlights of what guests can expect, and
  • booking early perks or incentives.

Furthermore, special occasion emails are great for showcasing the personality and atmosphere of your restaurant, helping to differentiate your establishment and create lasting memories for your guests.

Therefore, whether it's a wine-pairing dinner or a live jazz night, these emails can help you drive attendance while enhancing the overall guest experience.

Discount Emails

Discount or special offer emails are one of the most efficient email marketing strategies for boosting sales by encouraging repeat visits from your email subscribers.

Why? Simply put, because everyone loves a good deal.

In fact, one survey showed that nearly 90% of U.S. consumers use coupons and another survey revealed that over 80% of restaurant-goers regularly look for dining deals.

restaurant discount statistics

Illustration: Tablein / Data: Statista and Vericast

Therefore, it is clear that discount emails are a solid way to attract your budget-conscious diners and give a compelling reason for all other subscribers to revisit your restaurant.

These emails can feature a variety of discounts tailored to different customer segments and occasions, making them a highly versatile tool in your marketing strategy.

Here are just some types of discounts and special offers you can consider:

a graphic with different types of restaurant discounts

Source: Tablein

As they say, the possibilities are endless.

For example, you can send out a limited-time discount to create a sense of urgency or offer happy hour specials to attract guests during slower periods.

Holiday promotions can entice diners to celebrate them at your restaurant, and group dining deals are a great way to bring in larger groups.

Given all the above, well-crafted discount emails can help you significantly increase customer engagement and boost your restaurant’s revenue.

Loyalty Program Emails

Loyalty program emails are an excellent way to reward and retain your loyal customers, i.e., email subscribers. 

These emails can feature exclusive member-only offers, such as discounts, special menu previews, and priority reservations.

By recognizing and appreciating your loyal patrons, you foster a deeper connection and encourage repeat visits.

For example, offering birthday rewards is a great way to make your loyal guests feel special and valued.

happy birthday email from a restaurant

Source: Jefferson’s

These personalized perks enhance the guest experience and create a sense of exclusivity and appreciation.

Additionally, you can include loyalty rewards and referral bonuses in your emails to further incentivize continued patronage and word-of-mouth referrals.

In short, attractive loyalty program benefits combined with compelling emails can help build lasting relationships and keep your guests coming back for more.

Feedback Request Emails

Feedback request emails are vital for gathering guest insights and continuously improving your restaurant's services.

These emails can include post-visit feedback requests, guest satisfaction surveys, or even polls on new menu items.

By asking your guests for their opinions, you show that you value their input and are committed to enhancing their dining experience.

For instance, sending a feedback request email shortly after a guest's visit can entice a timely response and provide relevant insights.

Additionally, promising a short survey duration can increase the response rate.

Here’s how Gourmet Burger Kitchen does this.

gbk survey request email

Source: GBK

Such emails are a win-win scenario:

They enhance the guest experience by addressing their concerns, all while helping you assess your restaurant performance and make better-informed decisions about your menu and service protocols.

When guests respond to your request and give feedback, those with very positive impressions can receive another email encouraging them to leave online reviews. 

That way, you ensure further bolstering of your restaurant's reputation.

Of course, day-to-day or very frequent guests should not be overwhelmed by feedback requests every time they eat at your establishment.

Lastly, just like with other email marketing campaigns outlined here, automating feedback request emails is highly recommended.

Re-Engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails are designed to win back guests who haven't visited your restaurant in a while. 

These "we miss you" messages often include special offers for returning guests or updates on what’s new at your venue.

By engaging guests who haven’t visited in three to six months or longer, you can reignite their interest and encourage them to return.

For instance, you might offer a limited-time 20% discount to entice them back, just like Red Mango did.

restaurant re-engagement email

Source: Red Mango

Beyond discounts, such emails can also:

  • inform recipients about recent additions to your menu,
  • notify them about upcoming special events, or
  • ask for feedback on why they haven't visited you recently.

In summary, re-engagement emails with a compelling offer, gentle reminder, or polite feedback request can jog the memory of your inactive guests and prompt them to revisit your restaurant. 

Announcement Emails

These emails are essential for keeping your guests informed about important news or changes at your restaurant.

Announcement emails can cover a variety of updates, such as your restaurant’s:

  • venue relocation,
  • changes in operating hours or reservation policies,
  • new branch opening,
  • introduction of new dishes or services, or
  • upcoming special events or promotions.

For instance, if your restaurant is moving to a new location, an announcement email can provide all the necessary details to ensure a smooth transition for your guests.

This is what such an email can look like in practice.

restaurant relocation announcement email

Source: Hoi An Sense Restaurant

Such emails keep your customers in the loop while also building excitement and anticipation for the changes.

Behind-the-Scenes Emails

Lastly, behind-the-scenes emails offer your customers an insider look at your restaurant, fostering a deeper connection and loyalty.

These emails can feature stories about your staff, insights into day-to-day operations, and behind-the-scenes photos and videos.

Simply put, guests love to see the inner workings of their favorite restaurants, and this transparency can make your emails highly anticipated.

You can also offer backstage tours and send emails inviting guests to subscribe for such events, either in person or virtually.

Example? Chick-fil-A tours.

chickfila backstage tour email

Source: Chick-fil-A

As illustrated, this restaurant chain sells tickets for their in-person tours, but you can invite free sign-ups via email or even make such tours a prize in an exclusive contest for your email subscribers.

If you’re doing a virtual tour, you can inform your guests by email, highlighting that it’s free or that it’ll be live only, thus fostering a sense of exclusivity.

Beyond tours, you can introduce your staff members, highlight their favorite guest experiences, or showcase the preparation of a signature dish.

By sharing these personal and engaging stories, you build trust and make your restaurant brand more relatable.


So, we’ve covered how different types of emails can be leveraged to create a compelling and personalized communication strategy for your restaurant. 

You can mix and match several types of promotions in a single email, and also combine your emailing efforts with other marketing methods, particularly social media.

Finally, you can automate most, if not all, of your emails and enhance the guest experience by utilizing other digital restaurant management tools like online booking.

The end result? 

Engaged guests, lasting relationships, and higher sales.