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How to Leverage Email Automation for Your Restaurant Business

Email automation is a game-changing advancement for email marketers!

The tech allows email marketers to structure relevancy-rich, targeted email campaigns that drive results. Perhaps, this is the reason why email automation is among the top three tactics used by email marketers to improve campaign performance. Email marketing is one of the most vital communication channels, and automation lies right at the center of it!

What is Email Automation?

If we put it in the simplest words possible, Email Automation is a feature that enables action triggered and timely email sends to the subscribers with hyper-relevant information. Email automation sends out emails to your customers and prospects as per a defined schedule, actions taken, or other set triggers. These triggers are set by independent email campaign goals and behavioral aspects.

For instance, when a customer places a meal order, an auto-generated receipt with the order details lands in his inbox, and maybe after a day, he receives an email asking for his review for the food he had ordered – The series of emails for events mentioned in the example are possible with email automation.

Email automation, like any other marketing facet, depends upon the industry you are in. Action triggers for an online clothing store and that for a QSR (quick-service restaurant) are different, and thus, email automation also needs to be set up differently.

This blog talks about all that it takes to leverage email automation for a restaurant business. So let’s get started with ‘WHY’ before we move on to ‘HOW’ restaurants can employ email automation in their marketing strategy!

Why Email Automation for Restaurants is Important?

An automated email is the second step of a process initiated by your subscribers. So, when you automate your campaigns, you send emails with consent – This is the key reason why email automation is popular and performing! Sending personalized and ultra-targeted emails are two of the most essential reasons why email automation is important. But that’s not it, here is a list of reasons WHY restaurants should consider email automation as a frontline technique to communicate with their customers.

The Centre for other Marketing Channels

Email segmentation is a wonderful technique to bifurcate various groups of subscribers based on their behavior, food interests, past restaurant visits, order value, and more. These segmentations can also be derived from channels like social media, website visits, and store visits. You can use the list of subscribers from other platforms and engage them via automated email campaigns.

Saves Time and Efforts

Most restaurants have many subscribers on their email list. Imagine sending them emails individually! Daunting isn’t it? Email automation works on autopilot mode and sends your subscribers relevant, personalized messages saving a lot to time and effort.

Makes Your Campaigns Scalable

When you use email automation to reach out to your subscribers, your workflow doesn’t change with new entries or exits. You do not have to worry about your email lists being small or large, all you have to do is to set up the trigger actions and let the automation do its trick.

It Makes Your Email Campaigns More Measurable

When it comes to analyzing the campaign performance, email automation tools are smart enough to pull out metrics that matter. You can measure different campaign structures and their engagements or compare them with the previous ones. When your welcome emails have a higher open rate than your food review emails, you come to know which areas need improvements.

Effective Customization

Custom email templates and campaigns go a long way; the same way, automated email campaigns based on behavioral and preferential data convey the message better. It establishes a connection between your brand and your users and increases credibility.

How to Use Email Automation for Restaurants

Now when you are aware of all the tremendous benefits that automated campaigns have to offer, it;s time to set out your email automation flow for your subscribers. If done correctly, this highly personalized communication channel can help you foster your restaurant business like no other.

We have scrutinized a few email templates, along with the type of automation from some of the renowned restaurants’ email campaigns. Take inspiration from them to start building an email automation process of your own.

Welcome Emails

The most common yet essential email automation you can apply for your food business is by triggering sign-up actions. Campaign Monitor reports a whopping 91.43% open rate on welcome emails; there is no way you can miss out on this one!

Examples: 

Welcome Emails
Source: Really Good Emails
Promotional Welcome Emails
Source: Really Good Emails

These are the welcome emails Magic Spoon and Bachan’s respectively send upon a subscriber signing up. The key takeaways from both the templates are:

  • Ideal image to text ratio in the email template
  • Concise email copy
  • Color palette
  • Placement to CTAs

Educating Emails

Once you’ve welcomed a member, the next email should be to educate them about your brand, your USPs, your best offers, special discounts on their first orders, or any other essential information that you want to put across.

Examples:

Educating Welcome Emails
Source: Really Good Emails
Informational welcome emails
Source: Really Good Emails

Becel and McDonald’s both have a very unique approach while educating their subscribers about the things they offer. What strikes out in both the emails is:

  • Saying more with less
  • Visual cues
  • Colour Palette

Order Placement Emails

The transactional emails are as important as the welcome emails! When a customer orders from your restaurant, along with the order details, you get a chance to upsell, cross-sell, or simply encourage them to download your mobile application or ask them to check out your social profiles. The small details you add to your email template make a huge impact on how the recipients perceive your brand.

Examples:

Order Placement Emails
Source: Really Good Emails
Order Placement Emails
Source: Really Good Emails

The emails from FOXTROT and Blue Apron have sleek, sophisticated template designs for their order placement emails. What we liked about them is:

  • Correct use of white space
  • Upsell, cross-sell, and Mobile app promotion
  • Order tracking tool
  • Appealing food photos (Blue Apron)

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Nothing strikes a connection better than a simple greeting on a special day! Birthdays and anniversaries are the times when email automation can directly send a suitable wish with an applicable offer to appease the subscribers. This is the most prominent way to grab your subscribers’ attention and bond with them.

Example:

Birthdays Emails
Source: Really Good Emails

Chipotle presents a generous offer for the subscriber’s birthday month that creates extra revenue via special greetings. You can make use of different email designs including celebration images, GIFs, interactivity, etc. to catch the subscriber’s eye.

Special offers

Enticing your subscribers with timely discount offers is yet another way to maintain the buzz as well as increase online or in-store food orders.

Examples:

 Special offers Email
Source: Really Good Emails


Source: Really Good Emails

The special offers by Dunkin Donuts and Postmates are auto-generated emails based on subscribers’ profile, reward points, and bonus in combination with the holiday season. From these two emails, apart from stunningly designed templates, learn how to,

  • Personalize client’s account
  • Combine with upcoming/ongoing festivities
  • Write witty content

Some other Noteworthy Emails we stumbled upon

Aside from the regular email automation types, a few emails that grabbed our attention due to their exceptional designs, visual elements, copy, or even concept are listed below. Check out these emails from Pho and DavidsTea.

Noteworthy Emails
Source: Really Good Emails
Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap Up

Email automation for restaurants is filled with opportunities to welcome more footfall and online orders. Briefly, you can segregate the automation into five major parts:

  1. Welcome lists
  2. Onboarding emails
  3. Educating the subscribers
  4. Offer emails
  5. Followup or rating

Once your email list segmentation is in place, email automation will work like a charm for your food business. Depending on your audiences and their interests, automated emails can help you create super-personalized emails for your subscribers to lure them in. 

If you find email automation to be too complex to be set up, you can always seek an expert’s help with email automation. 

Happy Emailin’ y’all!

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

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