7 Restaurant Email Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

Jul 8, 2024 3:35:52 PM

Email marketing has been a trusty sidekick for restaurants since the dawn of digital communication. 

But don't be fooled—restaurant email marketing isn't a set-it-and-forget-it practice. 

To avoid watching your email efforts fizzle out, you need to stay on top of important trends and statistics. 

That's why we're about to dive into seven restaurant email marketing statistics you absolutely need to know. 

From open rate and click-through rate averages to the rising trend of personalization, we'll cover a lot of ground. 

So grab a seat, and let's dig into some stats that'll help you serve up some seriously successful email campaigns.

40.03% Is the Average Email Open Rate For the Restaurant Industry

First off, let's take a look at a key metric for measuring email performance: open rate.

Mailchimp, a leading email marketing platform, has collected extensive data by analyzing emails delivered through their system, tracking emails from both small and large companies with at least 1,000 newsletter subscribers.

The statistics, last updated in December 2023, cover open rates, click rates, and bounce rates across various industries. 

For restaurants, the average open rate is more than 12% higher than the general average across all industries.

email open rate statistics

Illustration: Tablein / Data: Mailchimp

This higher-than-average open rate might be attributed to several factors. 

For starters, restaurants often send important reservation-related emails that guests are more likely to open. 

Additionally, patrons are typically eager to check out new menu items or discount offers from restaurants they already enjoy and frequent. 

Highlighting this 40.03% open rate statistic is also crucial for benchmarking your email marketing efforts.

Let’s take a closer look at the three benchmarking types: internal benchmarking, benchmarking against industry averages, and benchmarking against close competitors.

types of benchmarking for assessing the success of email marketing efforts

Source: Tablein

Comparing your open rates—and other metrics, for that matter—against industry averages helps you assess whether you have room to improve or if you're already performing well. 

It's also useful to compare against close competitors or restaurant types that cater to a similar audience.

Most importantly, internal benchmarking allows you to track your own progress over time, helping you refine your strategy and improve your performance consistently.

To reiterate, while this industry average provides a useful reference, your goal should be to continually improve your own metrics.

67% of Restauranteurs Have Automated Their Email Marketing

One relevant trend in email marketing is the increasing shift toward automation. 

To understand this better, let's examine TouchBistro's 2024 Restaurant Industry Trends: The State of Restaurants Report

This thorough study surveyed more than 600 full-service restaurant owners, CEOs, general managers, and area managers from across the US.

It's worth noting that 50% of those surveyed were owners, with 63% having been in the industry between 5 and 15 years, providing a wealth of experience-based insights.

When it comes to automated email marketing, the data is illustrated below.

statistics showing how many restauranteurs have automated email marketing

Illustration: Tablein / Data: TouchBistro

As you can see, the majority of restaurateurs have already automated their marketing efforts, with 30% aiming to catch up as soon as possible. 

That means 97% of those surveyed have adopted or are planning to adopt automation.

This means that you definitely don't want to join the 3% that don't want to automate. 


Take a look at what Bernard Meyer, Senior Director of Communications and Creative at Omnisend, had to say on this topic.

quote explaining the positive impact of email marketing automation

Illustration: Tablein / Quote: Omnisend

Sending newsletter campaigns manually is a huge time waste, and not sending emails on certain guest actions or at certain times is a missed opportunity to engage with diners. 

In restaurants, these triggered and automated messages are especially important, with key triggers like new bookings, canceled bookings, newsletter subscriptions, guests leaving positive or negative feedback, time-sensitive event offers, and more. 

Overall, automation is clearly the future of restaurant email marketing, so if you’re not currently using it, it’s best to start now.

2.44% Is the Average Click-Through Rate For Restaurant Marketing Emails

Now let's turn to a metric that stands next to open rates in importance: the click-through rate (CTR). 

This crucial metric measures the percentage of email recipients who click on one or more links contained in an email message. 

It's a key indicator of how engaging and effective your email content is at driving action like, for instance, making a table reservation.

Let's examine 2023 GetResponse data, where they analyzed more than 4.4 billion messages sent through their system, focusing on active senders with at least 500 contacts. 

The restaurant industry average CTR and the CTR average across all industries are shown below.

restaurant industry average CTR and the CTR average across all industries

Illustration: Tablein / Data: GetResponse

While the CTR for restaurants (2.44%) is lower than the industry average (5.14%), you’re competing within your own industry after all, and that's what you need to focus on.

In fact, the data shows a positive increase in email engagement across all industries.  

Michal Leszczynski, Head of Content Marketing & Partnerships at GetResponse, had this to say about the overall positive trend:

“This trend suggests that marketers are creating more relevant, engaging, and effective content, which their audiences are positively responding to.”

For your own restaurant marketing efforts, this information should point to the importance of creating compelling, targeted content that resonates with your audience and seeing how your CTR compares.

So, if you take these numbers and focus on improving your CTR, you can potentially drive more traffic to your website, increase reservations, and see an overall positive business impact.

26% of Restaurants Use Email As Their Primary Method of Communication with Customers

Now let's turn to a more general statistic about email communication. 

The data from the previously mentioned TouchBistro's 2024 Restaurant Industry Trends report reveals the most commonly used methods of communication with restaurant guests: social media, email, and SMS.

statistics about the prevalence of different customer communication methods among restauranteurs

Illustration: Tablein / Data: TouchBistro

As you can see, communicating through social media takes the top spot, being the primary method of communication for 37% of those surveyed, with email in second place at 26%.

So what does this trend tell us about email marketing

With people—especially younger generations—preferring social media communication, many businesses are using these channels for communication exclusively. 

This shift reflects changing consumer preferences and the growing importance of maintaining an active social media presence.

But, another trend is also apparent: the restaurateurs that do use email send messages quite often.

statistics showing that 40% of restauranteurs email customers every few days, and 22% email them daily

Illustration: Tablein / Data: TouchBistro

This data might suggest that, while fewer restaurants are using email as their primary communication method, those who do are leveraging it more intensively. 

This could indicate that these businesses find email to be an effective channel for engaging their guests and driving results.

While social media is rising in popularity, it is still wise to use a balanced approach. 

Combining both email and social media strategies can help you reach a wider audience and cater to different customer preferences.

41% of Restaurant Guests Aged 18-29 Say Email Is Their Preferred Communication Channel

Let's now see what the guests have to say about email communication. 

We'll be using data from HungerRush’s 2023 Restaurant Consumer Experience Report, which was based on a representative survey of 1,000 adults in the United States. 

Here are the communication preferences reported by these restaurant goers, divided by age group. 

As you can see below, while 40 to 54-year-olds have no large differences in preference between social media and email communication, young people between 18 and 29 greatly prefer social media communication.

statistics showing guest communication preferences by age group

Illustration: Tablein / Data: HungerRush

This preference is likely because young people are already present on these platforms, making it convenient for them to see posts from restaurants there as well.

However, as we mentioned earlier, a balanced approach is key here, so you shouldn't feel pressured to switch entirely to social media.

After all, there are still 41% of guests aged 18 to 29 that prefer email.

On top of that, there are significant business advantages of email marketing over social media.

advantages of email marketing over social media

Source: Tablein

The main advantage you should focus on is the greater return on investment (ROI), with an average of $36 for every $1 spent, according to Litmus

This impressive ROI makes email marketing a highly cost-effective strategy.

There are also more personalization opportunities with email because you have more control over the content and format. 

Email marketing platforms also offer options for better targeting and segmentation, allowing you to tailor your messages based on customer preferences, behavior, and demographics.

All in all, by using these benefits to your advantage, you can get better marketing results in return.

64% of Restaurateurs Report Sending Personalized Offers to Customers In 2024

The restaurant industry is embracing a new era of customer communication, with personalization leading the charge. 

According to the TouchBistro report we mentioned, a whopping 64% of restaurateurs are sending personalized offers to their customers in 2024.

64% of restaurateurs are sending personalized offers to their customers in 2024 as compared to 55% in 2023

Illustration: Tablein / Data: TouchBistro

This represents a significant increase compared to the 55% who did so in 2023. 

These personalized offers refer to tailored promotions or messages that are customized based on individual customer data and preferences. 

These include special birthday discounts, recommendations based on past orders, or exclusive deals for frequent diners. 

Restaurateurs typically use various data points for these personalized offers, such as dining history, favorite dishes, frequency of visits, and special dates like birthdays or anniversaries.

The growing trend is easy to understand, considering the benefits of personalization.

benefits of email personalization

Source: Tablein

Not personalizing your emails and sending generic content makes you miss out on open rates and engagement. 

In fact, Campaign Monitor data indicates that including just a first name in the subject line can increase open rates by 14.68%.

Personalization increases engagement because it makes customers feel valued and understood. 

It improves the diner experience by providing relevant information and offers, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and more frequent visits. 

In other words, when diners receive offers tailored to their preferences, they're more likely to act on them, benefiting both the customer and your restaurant.

Only 27% of Restaurant Goers Aged 18-29 Find Personalized Communication Very Important 

Finally, let's examine a seemingly contradictory statistic. 

The aforementioned 2023 Rush Report reveals that only 27% of restaurant goers between 18 and 29 find personalized communication very important. 

At first glance, this might seem at odds with the growing trend of personalization we've discussed.

Why might this be the case? 

Well, younger customers may be less enthusiastic about personalized emails due to privacy concerns, preferring not to have their data used for marketing purposes. 

Also, as the same report suggests, this data could correlate with the growing importance of social media as a preferred channel for this age group. 

And, since most social platforms limit brands' ability to personalize content, younger users may be less accustomed to or expectant of personalized messaging.

However, let's take a look at the whole picture.

statistics about the importance of personalized communication among different age groups

Illustration: Tablein / Data: HungerRush

Interestingly, while only 27% of 18-29 year olds find personalized communication very important, 44% of guests aged 30-39 feel the same way. 

Also, a significant 39% of the younger generation still consider personalization somewhat important. 

When taken as a whole, 72% of people aged 19-40 find personalization at least somewhat important.

Given the full spectrum of these statistics and the benefits of personalization we explored earlier, it's clear that a nuanced approach is necessary. 


We've reached the end of our compilation of restaurant email marketing statistics. 

And we sure covered a lot of ground, exploring seven key figures that paint a vivid picture of the current email marketing landscape. 

We really hope these stats have you walking away with a clearer understanding of what's working and what’s trending in restaurant email marketing today. 

You can use some of these statistics as benchmarks to assess your email campaign performance, while some can be an inspiration for guiding your overall efforts. 

By applying these insights, you can create campaigns that really resonate with your audience and drive better results.

So, stay informed and keep these stats in mind as you craft your next email campaign, and watch your results soar.