People in the food industry know the value of a well-crafted email. Announcements and invitations get customers excited, whetting their appetites for the food you serve. With an average return of $36 for every dollar spent, email marketing is your most profitable channel — nothing else comes close. But to maximize its potential, you need a restaurant newsletter.
Your subscribers want to know what’s happening. Here’s how to share your restaurant’s latest news most effectively.
Get the tools and guidance you need to find new customers and keep your regulars coming back for more.
Essential restaurant newsletter components
There are eight things your newsletter needs to keep your customers engaged and hungry for more. These essentials help you to create a dynamic newsletter that subscribers will be happy to see in their inbox.
1. Strong subject line
Fun and compelling subject lines are the key to getting your recipients to open up your emails. A subject line is the first thing people see, so tell them what they can expect.
You’ll want to avoid overt promotional language such as “Buy now.” Instead, advertise the value of your content. Tease your main article, remind subscribers of a deadline, or open up a dialogue. Try something like one of the following:
- Check out these amazing new dishes for spring
- What’s your favorite French wine?
- Better home cooking with tips from Chef Constant Contact
- Register for our New Year’s prix fixe dinner by December 4th
Keep things short and snappy. You want to fit the entire heading into the email subject line visible on their screens.
When appropriate, personalize the subject line according to the recipient’s name, area-specific deals, or identified interests.
2. Clear branded template
Branding is foundational for all your restaurant marketing ideas to attract new customers, and your email marketing is no exception.
Your email newsletter should be instantly recognizable as something cooked up by your restaurant. It should bear your restaurant’s name, logo, and visual style.
The best way for you to establish brand consistency across your newsletters is to create a newsletter template. A template will ensure that your message is coherent and your content is identifiable. You’ll also save time by giving yourself a fill-in-the-blank newsletter that you don’t have to redesign every time.
You can brand and customize your template using features from your website. Choose a layout that’s organized and easy to skim. Limit yourself to three or four main blocks of content. You can always send the newsletter more often if you have more to say.
3. Compelling content blocks
What should you put in those content blocks? Experiment with various content — particularly as you’re getting your newsletter off the ground. Try any of the following restaurant newsletter ideas:
- Upcoming events or promotions
- Menu changes
- Staff profiles
- Announcements related to the location or personnel
- Cross-promotions with local businesses
- Community service or sponsorship highlights
- Tips on cooking, plating, or setting the right mood
As you continue, you’ll probably find that some pieces of content receive more engagement than others. You can start developing regular features, but don’t be afraid to shake things up when the need or inspiration strikes.
In addition to reporting on a variety of items, you should focus your newsletter around one major update, such as a new menu. Just focus each of the content blocks accordingly.
4. Tempting teasers
Your newsletter copy should be short. Try to keep your text to a single sentence for each block and give it an accompanying image or rich media such as video or animation.
In some cases, that snippet may be all you need. For example, you might congratulate an employee on a major life achievement or feature a long-time customer with their favorite dish.
But other content blocks should bring people to your website — and your restaurant — link to fuller articles, recipes, videos, menus, and more. Use the newsletter to tease valuable, longer content that might interest subscribers.
5. Powerful calls to action (CTA)
Leave your readers with clear actions to take. This can be as simple as a button that links to a fuller article or a revamped menu. Newsletters are one place where subtle, organic hyperlinks may be less effective than invitations to “See the full article.”
Place one large CTA button at the end of your newsletter. Depending on the action you want to drive, you might use one of the following:
- Reserve your table now
- Ask about private dining and events
- Find a location near you
- Cater your next family gathering
You may want to have a default closing CTA — directing customers to your reservation system if you have one — that you can change up occasionally to fit different needs.
6. Mouthwatering visuals
The most important part of your newsletter isn’t the text. It’s the delicious images that make people crave the food you serve.
Photograph new dishes, wonderful ingredients, sources of inspiration, restaurant events, favorite customers, and loyal employees. Any of these can be material for your newsletter and blog.
Follow best practices for taking drool-worthy pictures, and let them engage your subscribers’ imaginations — and their appetites.
7. Convenient social links
Make it easy for customers to stay in touch and follow you on the channels where they’re most active. Add social icons that link to your accounts, putting them at the bottom of your template.
Only feature the accounts you update and engage with regularly.
8. Unsubscribe option
The last thing you need to include in your restaurant newsletter is an option to unsubscribe. It’s not only a necessary part of email compliance but having a smaller email list of engaged subscribers is better than a larger list that’s mostly dead weight. Reach the people who want to hear from you. The more great content you produce, the more people will tune in.
Check out our full online marketing guide for restaurants to read more about how a strong email marketing plan can drive your business’s success.
Restaurant newsletter ideas and examples
The hardest part of creating a strong newsletter is deciding what to include. Any of the following could be a powerful block of content. Adapt the following scripts to fit your brand and the news you want to share.
An award-winning recipe just for you
Chef Constant Contact shares the secret to his famous jambalaya.
Download the recipe now
Back by popular demand — Happy Hour at CC Bistro
Celebrate the end of the workday with our drink and appetizer specials.
See the menu
We reveal our favorite combinations to surprise your palate and delight your guests.
See the full article
Congratulations, Erin and Ryan!
CC Bistro is honored to have been a part of your big proposal.
Meet John Contact, our rotisseur. He swears that his grandmother taught him everything he knows.
Read the full profile
Hamburgers beat Hot Dogs 4-1 in the championship
The youth soccer team dominated all season and took home the gold. CC Bistro is proud to be a sponsor of these young athletes.
Sick of cooking? Try our new catering service
We offer packages to feed any size group and can accommodate special diets.
Place your order now
Our spring menu is here!
Come celebrate the season with vegetable-driven dishes and bright flavors.
See the new menu
Join us for an Easter brunch
Holidays don’t have to be stressful! Let us provide the feast for you and your family.
Reserve your place
What’s in your baking toolkit?
Pastry chef Jane Contact shares the 10 tools she considers essential.
Read the full article
Five-star ambiance at home
Learn how you can provide a fine-dining experience for your next dinner party.
Read the full article
Our patio is on track to open this summer
Renovations are always stressful, but we can’t wait to share our new addition.
See more pictures from the renovation
Start spreading the news
There you have it — the anatomy of a restaurant newsletter from top to bottom. Your template and content should reflect your brand, but make sure to include each of the above elements.
Lure in customers with tasty pictures and teasers for additional information they can find on your website. Make engagement easy with CTAs and social links and allow people to unsubscribe if they want.
But first, create a template to lighten the workload and ensure brand consistency. Fill it out with your colors and logo, and get ready to send your first bulletin.