12 Killer Email Marketing Campaign Ideas for Restaurant & Cafe Owners

The Australian restaurant industry has a $19 billion market size with over 180K employment. As a restaurant and café owner, you have several ways to market your business and generate sales, but nothing beats email marketing.

It has the highest ROI where you can expect to earn $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing. However, you must have a robust email marketing strategy to get this ROI. Simply setting up an email campaign for your restaurant and café business won’t yield an ROI of 3800%.

What exactly you have to do to make email marketing work for your small business?

Here are the top email marketing campaign ideas for restaurant and café owners that you can implement right away to boost engagement, sales, and profitability.

1. Share Menu

One of the best ways to keep your customers and subscribers engaged is to send them your menu. You don’t have to send your entire menu rather select a special menu item every week to your list.

If you use a CRM tool, you can send personalized menu items to customers based on the types of meals they have had. For instance, if a customer visits your restaurant for breakfast and loves your coffee, you should send him a breakfast menu. Personalization is the best way to engage your list.

2. Discounts

If a simple menu email doesn’t work, offer a discount to your subscribers that they can’t refuse.

There are several types of discounts that you can share with your list:

  • Give a discount to existing customers on meals that they have had
  • Introduce new meals on discount
  • Utilize off-peak time and encourage customers to visit during off-peak hours to use discount on their favorite meals

3. Loyalty Program

Why not use a customer loyalty program to take discounts and referral marketing to a whole new level? A loyalty program is a perfect way to keep your customers coming back to your café. Happy Way has a perfect loyalty program that encourages customers to refer a friend by giving $10 and getting $10 back.

Loyalty Program










They have a tiered point system that lets customers earn points in different ways such as spending, sharing on Facebook, etc.














You can create a similar or even better loyalty program for your restaurant or café if you don’t have it already. Encourage customers to keep visiting you and refer you to their friends to get rewards and discounts. Promote your reward program via email marketing. Share progress with the customers and tell them what they can do to get points or how they can reach the next level.

4. Blog Promotion

Your loyalty program isn’t the only thing you can promote through an email marketing campaign, you can send traffic to your blog too. Create a campaign to promote your blog. Share the latest blog posts with your list on a regular basis.

This email marketing campaign idea will help you engage your list and you will get targeted traffic to your blog. However, you must publish quality content on your blog regularly, so your list has something new to read every week.

5. Cooking Tips

How about sending weekly cooking tips and techniques to your list? It works great. Because you get a chance to show your authority, credibility, and you can prove that you know what you are doing.

You can send tips directly through email instead of sending traffic to your blog. Most of the subscribers don’t click links in the email (for several reasons) so it’s best to send cooking techniques via email.

You can share a wide range of tips and techniques on cooking, table manners, recipes, health, lifestyle, eating habits, dieting, carb intake, and so on. Anything that will provide your list with value will work great.

6. Recipes

There are two ways you can create a recipe email marketing campaign for your restaurant. You can send recipes to your list so they can become better at cooking what they love.

You can create a Share Your Recipe campaign. Ask your list to share a recipe, choose a lucky winner, offer the lucky winner free lunch in your restaurant, and share photos of the winner enjoying lunch with your list. This is a great email marketing campaign idea to keep your list engaged.

7. Special Day Email Campaign

This one is easy and highly personalized. Send a discount to subscribers on their special days e.g. birthday, anniversary, etc.

You aren’t increasing repeat sales by offering a discount, but you are building relationships here. You are wishing your customer on his/her special day and this is something they always remember. This is an automated email, but your customer might never forget it and will stick with your business for years to come.

8. Ask for Reviews

Have you registered your restaurant and café on local directories and review sites like Yelp and Google Maps? If not, you should.

Getting reviews is essential for local businesses. According to BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey 2019, 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and an average consumer reads 10 reviews before trusting a business.

Create a review email marketing campaign to collect reviews from your customers. The idea is to send an email to newly subscribed customers asking them to leave a review on one of the third-party websites. Here is a simple template you can use to get reviews on local review sites:









Not sure what are the top restaurant review sites in Australia? Check out this infographic for 10 best review sites.

9. Meet the Chef

Create a monthly email marketing campaign to let customers meet the chef or your staff. You can choose one staff member each month and have your customers interact with him. Or, you can arrange one day per month where customers can meet your entire team.

This type of email marketing campaign does two things:

  1. It brings customers back to your restaurant
  2. Interaction with staff/chef increases engagement.

10. Event Calendar

How about sharing the monthly event calendar with your list? Tell them what special occasions and events you are planning to arrange in your café. This lets you share restaurant news such as the launch of a new menu.

Don’t forget to mention peak and off-peak hours and even days so customers can plan their visit accordingly.

11. Reservation Reminder

Create a reservation reminder email campaign that reminds customers of their reservations. This is essential to keep the ball rolling. Even if a single customer forgets the reservation every month, that’s business lost.

Don’t let this happen.

An email like this can make your customer happy:











These emails are sent automatically so there isn’t much you have to do to make your customers feel special.

12. Chef Special

Chef special email campaign is a great technique to bring customers back to your café. Whenever you introduce a new meal, send a quick email to your list. Inform them and ask them for a reservation.

Even if you don’t add a new meal, you can send chef special emails with a note from your chef sharing a few lines about the meal. This will make each meal special for your customers. Better yet, if you can use story building to make your meals stand out from the crowd – and memorable.


These email marketing campaign ideas are sure to boost your restaurant and café sales. Creating these campaigns won’t take a lot of time. Once created, the campaigns will run automatically. However, you’ll have to test and tweak (e.g. A/B test subject lines) to see what works best.

When used right, email marketing can prove to be a gamechanger for your restaurant. Get started today!


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