7 Inspiring Examples of Email Marketing for Restaurants

Apr 29, 2024 4:27:42 PM

Have you recently thought about jumpstarting your restaurant's email marketing game? That’s a great move—when used right, email can really help you engage with your guests and drive more reservations.

But if you're feeling a little lost and overwhelmed by all those "best practices" and email templates, you're not alone. Figuring out exactly what to say and how to make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox can be tricky.

That's why we've gathered seven real-life email examples from different restaurants showcasing some ideas you can try out. 

Think of them as blueprints to inspire your own campaigns and create your restaurant's unique email voice.

Let's dive in and get those creative juices flowing!

Welcome Email - Restaurant Chain “Not Your Average Joe’s” 

Fitting, isn't it, that the first email we explore is often the first one guests ever receive from your restaurant? 

That's right, we’re talking about the welcome email

Our example comes from Not Your Average Joe's (NYAJ), a Massachusetts-based chain with over 25 locations across the US. Let's check it out.


Source: NYAJ

So, what makes NYAJ's welcome email stand out?

First, they greet new subscribers with a headline that emphasizes exclusivity, instantly making subscribers feel like VIPs with access to special treatment. 

Immediately following this bold headline is a bright "Make a Reservation" button—a clear call to action (CTA) that encourages new subscribers to take that next step.

image14-minSource: NYAJ

The email's body text is refreshingly concise.

Instead of lengthy paragraphs, NYAJ focuses on clearly stating what one can expect from their emails, namely updates, promotions, and special offers.

This communicates respect for the subscriber's time and sets the stage for future communication.

Finally, notice the multiple buttons highlighting available locations, a second reservation button, and NYAJ's mobile app (which comes with a free appetizer offer). 

image5-Apr-29-2024-01-31-29-7819-PMSource: NYAJ

All these buttons and the attractive offer try to capitalize on one key fact—welcome emails have some of the highest open rates and click-through rates in the business.


Illustration: Tablein / Data: GetResponse

Think of it this way: someone has just actively expressed interest in your restaurant.

They're primed to learn more and possibly book a table so you want to give them this option in the first message they receive from you.

By welcoming guests with immediate value and encouraging those crucial first interactions, you can turn that enthusiasm into a fruitful relationship.

New Menu Email - Italian Restaurant “Gusto”

Let's dive into our next example, with an email showcasing a delicious new menu.

For this, we're turning to Gusto, an Italian restaurant chain with 14 locations across the United Kingdom. Take a peek at their email below.


Source: Gusto

Immediately, your eye is drawn to that mouthwatering pizza, right? 

This proves a vital point of restaurant email marketing: food photos are your best friend! Even more so when you're hyping up a new menu or irresistible seasonal dishes.

Gusto's body text also delivers. Notice how it has a narrative feel! 

They talk about changing seasons and how their menu reflects that shift.

Describing the comforting nature of the menu and mentioning the Italian regions inspiring the dishes, they paint a vivid picture—and that sense of authenticity is enticing to guests.

Finally, there's that clear "Book Now" CTA button, guiding subscribers to the next step.

But why is this type of email so important? 

Well, if you're among the restaurants that revamp their menu on a monthly or seasonal rotation, you're constantly bringing something new to the table.


Illustration: Tablein / Data: Toast

New menu announcement emails offer the chance to create excitement with appetizing imagery and enticing descriptions.

Guests who love your classics will still order their favorites, but a well-crafted email might tempt them to try something new, ultimately leading to a bigger check and a more memorable meal.

Overall, this example from Gusto shows how a few well-chosen images and the right words can turn a simple menu update into an irresistible invitation.

Online Order Promotion Email - Restaurant “Tortelli”

Next up, let’s explore the power of a well-crafted discount offer email, a staple of any successful restaurant email marketing campaign.

This time, we're looking at an email from Tortelli Pasta Bar, a pasta-focused restaurant in Romania. Check it out.


Source: Tortelli

Notice how short and sweet it is! 

A clean illustration as a background and bold text highlighting the key information about their new online ordering page. That bright yellow box ensures the offer isn't missed. 

Most importantly, this email cuts to the chase with a tempting 20% discount for first-time online orders.

This type of promotion feels especially relevant in today's market, where online ordering is booming. 

In fact, data suggests the global online food delivery market could reach a staggering $191 billion by 2029.


Illustration: Tablein / Source: Business of Apps

People crave the convenience of ordering a delicious meal with a few clicks.

Instead of giving a portion of revenue to third-party ordering platforms, why not encourage guests to order directly through your restaurant's website? 

A juicy first-time discount is a great way to kickstart the adoption of your online ordering system.

Plus, if your ordering and delivery experience is fantastic, you'll create loyal customers who return again and again.

This works for other new services, too.

Maybe you've launched an online reservation system with a seamless booking process. Offering a discount for those first online bookings can really drum up some excitement.

All in all, Tortelli Pasta Bar's email demonstrates how a simple, well-timed promotion can nudge guests towards convenient new ways of interacting with your restaurant.

Review Request Email - “Jack’s Backyard” Barbecue 

Now, we turn to the power of the humble feedback request email.

This example comes from Jack's Backyard BBQ, a restaurant dishing up smoky southern goodness. Let's take a look at their charming email next.


Source: Jack’s Backyard BBQ

Notice how this email starts with a warm photo of the restaurant's owner.

This instantly adds a personal touch! It's much harder to ignore (or harshly critique) someone you feel a connection with, even if it's virtual. 

The text itself reinforces this with its informal, friendly style showing Jack's isn't a faceless business, but a restaurant genuinely wanting to improve the experience for their guests.

Below the prominent CTA button, they smartly include vital contact information like their address, website, and opening hours, making it easier for guests to follow up, even if they don't leave a review.

You might think a local spot like Jack's could skip email outreach and rely on their food to charm the locals. 

But data from Brightlocal shows that a whopping majority of consumers at least occasionally consult online reviews, especially for local businesses.


Illustration: Tablein / Data: BrightLocal

Why do people trust those online reviews?

Well, people crave authentic experiences and reading about other people's visits helps diners get a feel for the atmosphere, service, and food before they decide to try a new spot.

These kinds of feedback emails have dual benefits.

Not only do they give you valuable insights on where you can improve, but when sent strategically (to happy customers, of course!), they also generate those coveted online reviews that attract even more guests.

Recurring Deal Email - “Chipotle” Food Chain 

Let's now take a look at a promotional email with a focus on powerful and clean design. 

For this example, we're turning to an international giant in the fast-casual space Chipotle. Check out their eye-catching email below.


Source: Chipotle

Immediately, you notice the clean, uncluttered aesthetic. There's just enough going on to get the point across without overwhelming the viewer. 

We're greeted with a large headline announcing "Mondays = Free Delivery" positioned above a mouthwatering food photo.

Below that is a relatable bit of text mentioning "the Mondays". We all know what that means, right? 

That feeling of dread as the week begins!

By injecting a friendly, casual tone, Chipotle makes their offer feel even more appealing.

Chipotle also gets their CTAs right. 

Notice the two options: a red button for claiming free delivery, and a more subtle "Remind Me" button. 


Source: Chipotle

This strategy plays into a valuable best practice of website and email design, as digital marketing director Chris Getman explains in the following quote.


With its streamlined design and clear message, Chipotle ensures this email looks just as good on a laptop as it does on a phone, where most emails are likely opened, so that’s another best practice applied.

Overall, this email teaches us that promotional content doesn't need to be complicated to be effective.

A few carefully chosen words, high-quality visuals, and smart CTA placement can do wonders.

Birthday Celebration Email - “Bonefish Grill” 

Our sixth email example showcases birthday emails, one of the essential tools in your marketing arsenal.

We’ve taken the example of Bonefish Grill, a casual seafood chain based in the United States, which you can see below.


Source: Bonefish Grill

Birthday emails are all about celebrating your guests and making them feel special. 

Offering a gift, whether it's a discount, a free dish or dessert (like Bonefish Grill does), or another enticing perk, shows appreciation and creates a positive association with your restaurant.

Bonefish Grill's email pulls this off with a heartfelt and playful message.

That photo of shrimp topped with a birthday candle adds a touch of fun while keeping the focus on the food.

And by including a clear call to action button at the bottom, they guide guests towards that next step: getting their birthday certificate with the free dishes.

Everyone loves a bargain and birthday emails in particular are a fantastic opportunity to build customer loyalty and ensure those special days are even more memorable with a delicious meal at your restaurant.

Event Promotion Email - “The Knife” Restaurant 

For our final example, we have an event promotion email.

Look at how The Knife restaurant invited email subscribers to their 2020 New Year's Eve celebration.


Source: The Knife Restaurant

Immediately, you're drawn into the celebratory mood with that stunning night sky background and a subtle hint of fireworks. Visually, it sets the stage for a special evening.

The Knife's messaging wastes no time and gets to the point quickly. 

New Year's Eve is a time when restaurants often have special menus that can get pricey. 

They address this head-on by making the price point a focal point of the email. If someone finds this pricing suitable, they're more likely to keep reading to learn more.

Next, they briefly describe the event itself, painting a picture of the experience: live DJ, a special menu, and of course, a champagne toast. 

That tagline, "All yours, all inclusive," reinforces the idea of a premium, hassle-free experience. 

To seal the deal, they urge guests to call or email the restaurant to reserve a table for this event.

To summarize, here's why The Knife's email works so well.


Source: Tablein

We might have personally preferred a button for online booking over the phone or email reservations, but overall, this is a stellar example of tailoring your email to a specific event and generating excitement.

Overall, event promotion emails are a fantastic way to generate excitement and fill tables during holidays, special occasions, and even your own unique events like wine tastings or cooking classes.


From warm welcome emails to eye-catching promotions, the examples we've explored highlight just how impactful targeted, well-crafted emails can be. 

Hopefully, these emails have sparked some ideas and inspired you to craft unique marketing messages and promotions that resonate with your own customers.

Remember, consistency and personalization are key! 

Regular, engaging emails build relationships with your guests, and by focusing on tailoring your offers based on their preferences, you make each message feel like a special treat.

With the right approach, you’ll create emails that guests actually look forward to opening.

You just need a little creativity and the right strategy, and your email marketing will become a recipe for restaurant success.