Building an email marketing subscription list is central to your entire online promotional strategy but it is a process that can prove difficult for restaurateurs. Here are five ways to ensure you obtain your patrons’ valuable email addresses and have them coming back for more.
Your Wait Staff
Your wait staff is the interactive face of your restaurant: where the direct relationship your patrons have with your services is embodied. If we assume that your wait staff has already done everything possible to ensure that the patron is comfortable and satisfied with the meal, ambiance and service, perhaps the patron will be receptive to a suggestion brought with the bill: “We’re always developing new dishes and approaches here at The Hard Crock Cafe. We can send you our monthly newsletter that’s crock-full of insights, tasty tips and discount crock-coupons. Could I have your email address?”
Your diners respond to motivation and the approach above will be far more successful if an incentive is worked into the script. “Your first newsletter will contain a 50% discount coupon for an entrée on your next visit”; “a two for one meal special”; “I can give you a ($5 / $10 / etc.) discount on your bill right now”; or “… and your dessert becomes free!” If your restaurant has a Chef’s Table, a reservation at that sought after location can prove a powerful motivation to turn over the email address. Other possible incentives include providing the customer with the possibility of setting up a visit with the Chef tableside, or to order a rare, decadent and delectable Foodie Heaven specialty that is off the menu and completely way over the top, like Kobe Beef Tenderloin in Matsutake Mushroom Sauce with shaved White Alba Truffle.
When Taking Reservations
When your staff is accepting a reservation is a great time to suggest to the patron that they can receive the newsletter in exchange for their email address. The type of incentive that can be provided from the list above can be sent in print-out-coupon form to the diner immediately via email, giving your reservations personnel additional ammunition to get that all-important address.
On the Guest Check
Many POS systems have lines that can be customized with specific promotional content. Instead of wasting this space on “Crock Around The Clock At The Hard Crock Cafe,” this area can contain a note asking for the email address and a space that the patron can fill out, which is then torn off and left in the Guest Check Folder, in a container by your register or on your bar. You can place blurbs pointing out the use of that space on your menu or on the takeout and delivery order forms.
On Your Website
If you are already drawing traffic to your website, providing the incentive there can act as a significant conversion factor. Since the patron is already visiting your site, you can offer valuable online content rather than a discount coupon. You can easily develop article or short e-book content such as “The Hard Crock Café’s 20 Favorite Crock-Pot Entrees – Recipes & Photos”; “Chef Crockarooni’s 12 Favorite Italian Mama Specialties”; or “10 Ways To Organize A Hard Crock Party At Work!”
In all of these approaches it must be made absolutely crystal clear that the email address will place the patron onto your email campaign subscription list. It is imperative in order to adhere to both ethical and legal standards that you not only specify the restaurant’s newsletter frequency and ease of opt-out procedures, but also have a way of recording the customer’s approval whether by email or physical form. Considering every aspect of your restaurant from the aspect of how email addresses can be collected from patrons will build your list and boost your bottom line. And that’s no crock!