To me running a restaurant seems like galloping on a horse that you almost control but not quite.  Things happen fast, lots can go wrong, and there are lots of moving parts.

4358294944_e1dc7d30a6But I find so few restaurants are using this killer medium I thought it was time to give a small prod.

Here’s a simple strategy that ANY restaurant can follow that will absolutely, positively, increase your sales.

I’ll give you the general strategy and you can modify it to suit your size, style, type of restaurant, and your disposition.


Restaurant Marketing Idea.

Step One.  Collect email addresses.  I’ve shown two examples of an email collection in restaurants in earlier posts but this is what you do.  You can put a guest book at the till, or provide a business card drop for a drawing, or have your server ask at the table, or you can have the hostess ask.  You can ask straight up or you can make a trade for the email address.  If you have coupons, or free lunch drawings, or free appetizer offers, use one of those.  (Don’t forget to tell people you’re going to send them something-like notices of special events and offers.)

Just make sure you have a customer-friendly method to collect an email address and a name.

Step Two.  Get an account to manage your email addresses and send messages.  You just don’t want to have to manage all the bits and pieces of doing a mailing, removing people who request unsubscribes, and complying with the email laws without this type of specialty software.  Some of the most popular are iContact, Aweber, and Constant Contact.

Step Three.  Send a personal message.   Don’t fiddle around with fancy templates and layouts.  Send a message the way you would send it if you sat down and sent it to one person.  Certainly you want people to know you are the restaurant but let me tell you that when the owner or chef of a restaurant sends me an email, I’ll read it.

Bonus Tip:  You can use email to boost your current promotions and events.  Standard fare, like Hot Wing Wednesday, Mother’s Day Brunch, Dine Out Advertising, Feature items are all worth sending out information on, however I think that if you have a good restaurant you’ll be booked on Mother’s Day so don’t create overbooking situations.

My thought, find your slowest night, and send a personal email to your list telling them you would love to have them return to your restaurant soon and if they come by on that night, you’ll treat them to a desert to say Thank You.

Anybody see a restaurant do this well lately?

Photo Credit:  Mr T in DC