I don’t see restaurants using email very often and I think they’re missing the boat.  Email is such a powerful tool for bringing return visitors back to a restaurant or filling slow nights.

I noticed a story last week about a restaurant that gave a discount for “well behaved kids”.  The parents were proud, and quite surprised to be rewarded for their kids good behavior. What I found more interesting about this story is what I noticed at the bottom of the tab.

screen_shot_2013-02-07_at_1-50-45_pm-resized-600A “Join Our Mailing List” reminder and a bit of a benefit statement for doing so.  Here’s an example of a restaurant that over time will identify a group of patrons that will help their bottom line.

Tell me as a restaurant owner you wouldn’t know what to do with the names of 500 customers who appreciate or are interested in wine.

As an example:

– announce special wine tasting events – like on Saturday afternoon

– survey them to find special wines THEY want on the wine list

– offer a free glass of wine if they drop by the day AFTER Valentine’s Day

– bring in a wine maker and do a special 5 course tasting dinner

– try a gift certificate with a free glass of wine attached

– fill your bar with a mix and mingle night based on how to taste Sauv Blanc

– you could even educate them on wine in a monthly newsletter – share your knowledge

…and so on.

Do this for one year and you’ll soon see the power of email marketing in a restaurant setting.