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Restaurant Email Marketing: Top 5 Tips On Making It Work

Louise Casamento
Sr. Director of Marketing, Oracle Hospitality

Staying in touch with customers is crucial for nurturing a relationship with them. It’s important to remain “top of mind” when they are planning their next meal out – or in – for that matter. But what is the most effective way to keep yours engaged?

To provide some clarity on the topic, Oracle Food and Beverage conducted a global study revealing just how restaurant goers want to be contacted. Its results will be released in the coming months, but in the meantime, we’re offering a sneak peek at the findings regarding email marketing.

Is email marketing dead?

The results are in: Email marketing is still very much alive with 62% of customers globally saying they would like to hear from their favorite restaurants, bars and coffee shops via email. This trend spans all ages from pre-millennials (58%) to baby boomers (56%) – with the most enthusiasm coming from millennials (66%) and Generation Xers (63%).

Though interest in email marketing is worldwide, Latin America leads the way with 71% of restaurant guests wishing to be contacted via email. Asia Pacific is next with 66%, then Europe (56%) and finally North America (55%).

Contrary to the popular notion that email marketing is dead, our research shows that it remains a viable marketing strategy for restaurateurs. Here are five tips for using it effectively:

No matter the communication method, don’t over-contact your customers. According to our research, restaurant consumers prefer being contacted bi-weekly rather than weekly, with 41% saying they happily would be contacted ‘2 to 3 times a month.’ By comparison, only 31% happily would receive emails ‘once a week or more.’

The consumers most enthusiastic to receive frequent contact are in Asia Pacific, followed by Latin America. Those in North America and Europe are the least enthusiastic.

When it comes to generational differences, baby boomers are the least receptive to frequent communications, while millennials and pre-millennials are the most enthusiastic.

Targeted marketing is most effective, which places a premium in understanding audience.

If your customer demographic, for example, is predominantly North Americans over the age of 55, then it’s important to tailor email content and language to meet their preferences. Likewise, contact frequency also should match their preference.

According to Mintel (2018), 39% of restaurant customers grow bored of the same deals, promotions or takeaways, making it vital for operators to refresh their marketing messages. The use of customized emails and personalized promotions provide several benefits: They increase recipients’ likelihood of engaging content (Budac, 2016), and they also reduce pressure on operator margins by minimizing the need for blanket promotions. Many high-street restaurants have adopted the ‘first person’ marketing approach to improve communication with customers and win their loyalty (Mintel, 2018).

Always remember: An individual opening your email doesn’t guarantee a visit to your website. When crafting subject lines, keep in mind that they must be sufficiently exciting to get recipients to click, but must be backed by worthwhile content. From a consumer’s perspective, there are few things worse than seeing a really interesting subject line, only to be disappointed – if not frustrated – by content that’s irrelevant.

Over 40% of emails are consumed via mobile. Mobile compatible emails are less likely to be deleted before being read. A key fact: 42.3% of consumers will delete or unsubscribe if an email is visually unappealing on a mobile display (Budac, 2016).

Continue the conversation with us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram using #OracleFoodBev. Learn more about Oracle Food and Beverage and Oracle Simphony Restaurant POS on our website!


  • Oracle Food and Beverage research (2019).
  • Mintel (2018) Eating Out Review - UK - September 2018
  • Budac, C. (2016) ‘Theoretical Approaches on Successful Email Marketing Campaigns’, Ovidius University Annals, Series Economic Sciences, 16(2), pp. 306–311.

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