If you’ve already created a website for your restaurant (ideally with one of the restaurant website builders our research identified), then you’ll already be thinking about the next step – how to market your restaurant to the world. And, since you’re here, we’re betting email marketing is one you’re interested in.
Good choice! With an open rate of one in five (19.77%), restaurant newsletters are among those, of all the industries one Mailchimp study looked at, with the most engagement.
That shows that people don’t just want to read emails from their favorite restaurants – they demand it. So how can you get started?
To help, we’ve curated our favorite restaurant newsletter examples from across the web. Below, we’ll analyze restaurant newsletters from Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, Subway, Chick-fil-A, KFC, and Bon Appetit to ignite the stove of your imagination. Let’s get cooking!
When COVID-19 struck and everything shut down, restaurants were among the businesses hit hardest. Eateries had to adapt all corners of their operations – marketing in particular.
Suddenly, restaurants had to get online and find some way of sustaining meaningful, engaging interaction with their audience, while also driving orders and staying top of mind.
This is where email marketing took center stage.
By sending regular emails, many restaurants new to the online game realized they could provide a steady stream of relevant, high-quality content to their followers without busting through their marketing budget. And today, email marketing is an excellent way for restaurants to offer tailored deals and discounts, provide important updates, and establish an enduring relationship with their customers not only inside the restaurant but away from it, too.
Keen to join them? Let’s take a look at the top six restaurant newsletters for some inspiration!
As we’ve just discussed, restaurant newsletters play several roles: they build your brand, engender customer loyalty, and encourage repeat business.
But what they also need to do is get your readers’ mouths watering – and that’s why we love this iconic restaurant newsletter from Pizza Hut.
The email uses a clever copywriting trick involving repetition: where the same word is used multiple times to create impact. Here, the email promises “More delicious sauces. More premium ingredients. More crust flavors.” (With each “more” highlighted in bold and in a different color.)
Really, though, this restaurant newsletter stands out most for its use of visual elements: namely, the meatballs, peppers, spinach, and salami Pizza Hut is flaunting as the latest additions to its topping list.
The icing on the cake? The big, clickable red CTA in the center of the email, where readers can “Order Now”. We couldn’t resist!
Find Out More
Interested in learning some more clever copywriting tricks? Check out our 19 expert tips for writing for the web!
Olive Garden’s restaurant newsletter boasts an eye-catching design, with text and images set against a backdrop of maroon blocks. These oblongs section off parts of the email, making it easier for the reader (or should we say scanner – research shows people spend an average of just 10 seconds reading emails from brands) to extract the key takeaways.
Olive Garden’s easy-on-the-eye restaurant newsletter also takes a leaf out of Pizza Hut’s book in that it lets images of its food do the talking.
The cheese-themed newsletter we found includes pictures of the restaurant’s fried mozzarella sticks and Sicilian cheesecakes to help the reader visualize what might be on their plate the next time they head to Olive Garden. Importantly, Olive Garden doesn’t overfill the page with copy. Instead, it chooses to let large swathes of color and blank space place emphasis on the delicious-looking pictures of its dishes.
While all good email newsletters should attempt to play the long game with their readers – to build rapport, elicit trust, and cultivate a community – sometimes, shorter is better.
And sometimes, that means going straight in with a deal or discount that’s simply too good to resist.
Take the Subway email newsletter below, for example. There’s no introduction, no personalized greeting – just an offer immediately entitling the reader to a free footlong, and a big yellow CTA button to claim it. In imploring its readers to “Hurry, [because the] offer ends soon!” Subway also uses urgency – one of the key principles of persuasion outlined by Robert B. Cialdini – to convince customers to click.
Sure, there’s a bit more copy and some images below this section of the newsletter. But ultimately, Subway knows that it’s that first three inches or so of email where the battle for its readers’ attention will be won and lost. It also demonstrates that sometimes, it’s not just the readers’ attention span, or appetite, that you have to appeal to…it’s their wallet, too!
Who said restaurant newsletters always have to be about restaurants? Not popular Georgia-headquartered fast food franchise Chick-fil-A, that’s for sure.
Chick-fil-A understands two of the most sacred covenants of email marketing:
- Topically themed newsletters do well.
- Staying top of mind is vital.
For these reasons, Chick-fil-A tailored last May’s newsletter with a Mother’s Day theme. The newsletter allows the reader to instantly share one of a range of Chick-fil-A branded digital Mother’s Day cards with their mom, and do so via text or social media. This curries favor with the reader by offering them something for free, while also increasing the brand’s visibility.
What’s more, it demonstrates the power and value of capitalizing on public holidays, trending topics, and seasonal trends; and how, by tying your own brand’s newsletters – plus all its other messaging and marketing collateral – into these calendar staples, you can increase your restaurant’s relevance in the eyes of its readers and patrons.
We had to dip into the vaults for this KFC newsletter from 2019 – but sometimes, the oldies are the goodies, and the classics always stand up.
This restaurant newsletter from KFC certainly does. The whole thing channels an extremely editorial style – right down from the title (“Finger Lickin’ News”), to the full-length image of a staff member, to the headline and contents sections.
This has the effect of making KFC’s newsletter feel more informative, rather than being driven by marketing goals. What’s more, KFC scores a hit by making its newsletter less about the company, and more about the people that power it. Within the email is a staff spotlight: featuring an interview with a profile of a KFC team member.
KFC knows that, first and foremost, people are interested in, well – other people. So imbuing its newsletter with profoundly personal properties is an excellent way of enticing clicks.
Okay, so Bon Appetit isn’t strictly a restaurant – but, as a monthly food and entertaining magazine containing recipes, restaurant recommendations, and wine reviews, it’s certainly in that space.
What can we learn from its monthly newsletter? That, for starters, giving a monthly newsletter a more personal feel is important. Bon Appetit achieves this through a handwritten introduction from its Associate Food Editor, Kendra Vaculin, who talks its readers through one of her personal stories about food. (In this case, her pursuit of “the perfect noodle bowl”.)
Through the down-to-earth, relatable style of storytelling, Bon Appetit’s newsletter sets up a conversational, one-on-one feeling – as though the reading of the newsletter constitutes an intimate, fireside chat about food and the role it plays in our lives.
We want to leave you with some instructions to go with all that inspiration. So before we part ways, let’s lay the table for you with our top tips for creating your restaurant newsletter:
- Keep your subject lines concise and to the point, but catchy, too – communicating the benefit or offer within to entice subscribers to click. (To this end, questions work well too…don’t you think?)
- Create urgency through phrases like “limited time offer”, “last chance”, or “exclusive deal” to encourage your readers to act quickly.
- Personalize your emails with your readers’ names.
- Invest in professional photography for your dishes and restaurant, and use these to catch the eye in your restaurant newsletter.
- Use short videos or GIFs to showcase your restaurant in a more interactive way.
- Segment your email list based on customer preferences, purchase history, or location. You can use this data to tailor promotions or recommendations to different segments of your database, according to each one’s likes and interests, to keep them relevant.
- A/B test different restaurant newsletter subject lines and designs to understand which ones result in higher open rates. You can also test variations in email tone and length.
Through examining six of the best restaurant newsletter examples in forensic detail, we’ve learned that each one brings a different skill set to the table.
While Bon Appetit engages readers with a personal story from one of its key people, Subway takes a more direct tack, getting straight down to business with a discount. Similarly, while Chick-fil-A’s Mother’s Day cards email takes a softer approach, Pizza Hut wastes no time with a strong CTA to “order now”, accompanied by large images of food.
So, what’s the key takeaway here? That there’s no ‘one size fits all’ restaurant newsletter format, or template. And that in fact, variety is the spice of life. Don’t bore your readers with the same strategies every week: play around with approaches and styles: be they informational, commercial, or – a la Subway – purely transactional!
With that, you should have all the inspiration you need to get started with your own restaurant newsletter. But why start now, when there’s so much good stuff to read here on Website Builder Expert? So before you go, sample the best restaurant website templates, and take a bite out of our guide on how to design a restaurant menu.