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Restaurant Promotional Emails: Discounts, Deals, and Special Offers

Last Update: Dec 5, 2023 @ 8:39 am

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” 

– Leo Burnett, Advertising Executive


For restaurateurs, restaurant managers, and marketing professionals, crafting an effective promotional email strategy is an essential aspect of driving success in the industry. It’s more crucial than ever to make promotional emails that catch customers’ attention, keep them engaged, and prompt them to take action than ever before in this age of continual information and advertising saturation. With the right approach, discounts, deals, and special offers can significantly boost foot traffic, encourage repeat business, and enhance customer loyalty. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how top restaurant brands successfully implement promotional email campaigns, the benefits of adopting this strategy, and a summary checklist of action plans to get started.

What is a Restaurant Promotional Email
Restaurant Product Email Promotion Offer From the Web

What is a Restaurant Promotional Email?

A restaurant promotional email is a targeted electronic communication sent by a restaurant to its subscribers or customers with the primary goal of promoting special offers, discounts, or deals. These emails can effectively incentivize customers to visit the restaurant, make a purchase, or engage with the brand. When crafted and executed well, promotional emails can play a significant role in driving foot traffic, increasing sales, and fostering customer loyalty.

Key Elements of An Engaging Restaurant Promotional Email

  • Compelling subject line: Create attention-grabbing subject lines that entice subscribers to open the email and explore the promotion.
  • High-quality visuals: Include eye-catching images, graphics, or animations that showcase the offer, evoke desire, and enhance the overall visual appeal of the email.
  • Clear and concise messaging: Ensure your email copy effectively communicates the promotion or offer in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
  • Personalization: Tailor your promotional emails to individual subscribers based on their preferences, order history, or other relevant data, making the offers more relevant and appealing.
  • Limited-time offers: Encourage immediate action by creating a sense of urgency with time-sensitive deals or offers.
  • Call-to-action (CTA): Include a prominent and compelling CTA that guides subscribers to take the desired action, such as claiming the offer or making a reservation.

Types of Promotional Emails for Restaurants

There are several types of promotional emails that restaurants can use to drive customer engagement:

  • Limited-Time Offers: Offer limited-time discounts or bargains to generate a sense of urgency. For example, you could promote a happy hour, a weekend brunch special, or a seasonal menu item.
  • Holiday and Event Promotions: Take advantage of holidays and special events to create themed promotions. Offer special menus, discounts, or freebies to entice customers to celebrate with you.
  • Loyalty Program Rewards: Reward your loyal customers with exclusive deals or offers. This not only shows appreciation but also encourages repeat business.
  • New Menu Items or Services: Introduce new menu items, catering services, or delivery options with a promotional email. Offer discounts or free samples to encourage customers to try them.
  • Birthday or Anniversary Offers: Send personalized emails to customers on their birthdays or anniversaries, offering a complimentary dessert, drink, or discount.

Role of A Restaurant Promotional Email in Your Marketing Campaigns

  • Drive foot traffic and sales: Promotional emails featuring discounts, deals, or special offers can entice subscribers to visit your restaurant and make a purchase, ultimately increasing revenue.
  • Enhance customer engagement: By sending targeted and engaging promotional emails, you can maintain a strong connection with your subscribers, keeping your restaurant top-of-mind and encouraging repeat visits.
  • Build customer loyalty: Offering exclusive deals and personalized offers to your email subscribers can foster a sense of belonging and brand loyalty, leading to long-term customer retention.
  • Boost brand awareness: Effectively designed promotional emails can capture the attention of your subscribers, helping to reinforce your restaurant’s brand identity and establish a stronger presence in the market.
  • Generate word-of-mouth marketing: Happy customers who take advantage of your discounts may tell their friends and family about their great experience, bringing in even more potential diners.
Case Study_ Domino's Pizza
Domino’s Pizza Restaurant From the Web

Case Study: Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is a popular restaurant brand that has effectively implemented promotional email campaigns to drive sales and customer engagement. Here are five things they’ve done in their ads that all focus on giving people a better price: 

  • Limited-time offers: Domino’s makes customers feel like they need to act quickly by offering deals that are only good for a limited time.
  • Exclusive subscriber discounts: By offering exclusive deals to email subscribers, Domino’s incentivizes customers to sign up for their mailing list and stay engaged with the brand.
  • Personalized promotions: Domino’s leverages customer data to send targeted offers based on individual preferences, order history, and location.
  • Attention-grabbing subject lines: The brand utilizes compelling and enticing subject lines to boost open rates and encourage customers to explore the promotional email.
  • Clear and concise messaging: Domino’s promotional emails feature simple, easy-to-understand language and visuals, ensuring customers can quickly grasp the offer and take action.

Benefits of Promotional Emails For Your Restaurant

Implementing promotional email campaigns focused on discounts, deals, and special offers provides numerous benefits for your restaurant. Here are some facts and statistics that demonstrate the power of these campaigns:

  • Increased open rates: A study by Experian found that promotional emails with subject lines containing offers or discounts had a 28% higher open rate compared to non-promotional emails.
  • Higher click-through rates: HubSpot found that the open rate for promotional emails was 14% higher than the open rate for non promotional emails.
  • Better customer engagement: A survey by Adobe revealed that 50% of consumers prefer receiving promotional emails from brands, as it allows them to stay informed about deals and offers.
  • Improved customer retention: Bain & Company found that for every percentage point improvement in customer retention, profits increase by between 25% and 95%, underscoring the significance of nurturing client relationships through promotional email advertising.
Tips for Creating Effective Restaurant Promotional Emails
Restaurant Email Promo Free Pizza From the Web

Tips for Creating Effective Restaurant Promotional Emails

1. Limited-Time Offers

Creating limited-time offers can instill a sense of urgency in your customers, prompting them to act quickly before the promotion expires. Examples of limited-time offers include:

  • Seasonal menu items
  • Special holiday promotions
  • Flash sales on select dishes or beverages

2. Discount Codes

Providing promotional codes can boost sales and bring in new clients. Be strategic about the discounts you provide and ensure they don’t negatively impact your profit margins. Some popular discount code options include:

  • Percentage-based discounts
  • Fixed amount discounts
  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) deals

3. Exclusive Deals for Subscribers

Reward your email subscribers with exclusive deals and discounts that are only available to them. This can incentivize customers to join your mailing list and strengthen their loyalty to your brand. Subscriber-exclusive deals might include:

  • Early access to new menu items
  • Special pricing for email subscribers
  • Access to limited seating events or tastings

4. Special Occasions and Celebrations

Recognizing customers’ special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries, can help foster a personal connection and encourage repeat business. Consider offering:

  • Free dessert or appetizer on their birthday
  • Discount on their next visit during their anniversary month
  • Personalized messages and offers for milestone events

5. Loyalty Program Promotions

Loyalty programs can drive customer retention and increase overall spending. Promote your loyalty program through your email campaigns by offering:

  • Bonus points for signing up or referring friends
  • Exclusive rewards for reaching specific point milestones
  • Periodic double-point earning events

6. Collaborations and Partnerships

Partnering with local businesses, influencers, or charities can create buzz around your restaurant and attract new customers. Share these collaborations in your promotional emails, such as:

  • Joint promotions with neighboring businesses
  • Influencer-hosted events or tastings
  • Charity events or fundraisers

7. Themed Nights or Events

Host themed nights or events to generate excitement and encourage customers to visit your restaurant. Promote these special occasions through your email campaigns, including:

  • Wine or beer tasting nights
  • Live music or entertainment events
  • Holiday parties or celebrations

8. Segment Your Email List

Divide your email list into segments based on factors such as customer preferences, demographics, and past interactions. This allows you to send targeted promotions that are more relevant and appealing to each group.

9. Maintain Brand Consistency

Ensure your promotional emails reflect your restaurant’s branding and maintain consistency across all marketing channels. This includes using your logo, brand colors, typography, and tone of voice.

10. Optimize for Mobile Devices

Design your promotional emails with mobile devices in mind, as a significant percentage of users open emails on their smartphones. Use a mobile-friendly template and ensure images and text display correctly on various screen sizes.

11. Test and Refine Your Campaigns

Regularly test different aspects of your promotional emails, such as subject lines, images, and layouts. Analyze the results and refine your campaigns to improve performance over time.

12. Promote Your Campaigns Across Channels

Spread the word about your sales and deals through social media, your website, and in-store displays to increase the number of people who see your emails and the effect they have.

13. Respect Subscribers’ Privacy

Ensure you follow privacy regulations and best practices, such as the GDPR and CAN-SPAM Act. Make it simple for anyone to remove themselves from your email list.

14. Craft an Attention-Grabbing Subject Line

A compelling subject line can significantly impact open rates. Make it clear that the email contains a special offer or discount, and use urgency when appropriate.

15. Use High-Quality Images

Visuals play a crucial role in promotional emails. Use high-quality, enticing images of your dishes, restaurant atmosphere, or promotional items to capture your audience’s attention.

16. Personalize the Content

Personalize the email content to make it more relevant to the recipient. This can include addressing them by their first name or tailoring the offers based on their preferences.

17. Include Clear Call-to-Action Buttons

Make it easy for recipients to take advantage of your offers by including clear, compelling call-to-action buttons.

18. Highlight the Value and Benefits

Ensure your promotional email clearly communicates the value and benefits of your offer. Explain how the promotion works and emphasize what the customer will gain.

19. Use Social Proof

Leverage social proof, such as customer reviews or testimonials, to build credibility and showcase the popularity of your restaurant or promotion.

20. Adjust Timing

When choosing when to send promotional emails, think about the day of the week, time of day, and customer preferences. Avoid sending too many emails, as this can lead to unsubscribes and reduced engagement.

Leveraging Seasonal and Local Events for Restaurant Promotions

In addition to the general best practices for restaurant promotional emails, leveraging seasonal and local events can add a unique twist to your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas for how to use them in your email marketing:

1. Seasonal Menu Offerings

Introduce seasonal dishes or drinks that showcase fresh, local ingredients. Use your promotional emails to inform customers about these limited-time offerings and encourage them to visit your restaurant to enjoy the seasonal flavors.

2. Collaborations with Local Businesses

Partner with local businesses to create exclusive promotions or events. For example, collaborate with a local brewery to offer a beer and food pairing dinner or work with a neighboring bakery to create a special dessert. Promote these partnerships in your email campaigns to generate excitement and encourage customers to support local businesses.

3. Local Events and Festivals

Take advantage of local events and festivals by offering themed promotions or participating in the festivities. You may, for instance, tailor a menu or provide special pricing in honor of the annual culinary festival that is held in your town. Use your promotional emails to inform customers about these events and how your restaurant is participating.

4. Sports and Cultural Events

Celebrate local sports and cultural events by offering related promotions or hosting viewing parties. For example, during major sporting events, you could offer themed dishes, drink specials, or discounts for fans wearing their team’s colors. Use your promotional emails to inform customers about these promotions and create a sense of community around shared interests.

5. Seasonal Decorations and Atmosphere

Embrace the changing seasons by updating your restaurant’s decor and atmosphere. Share pictures of your festive decorations or cozy ambiance in your promotional emails to entice customers to visit and experience the seasonal atmosphere firsthand.

By leveraging seasonal and local events in your restaurant promotional emails, you can create unique and memorable experiences for your customers. These strategies not only help increase foot traffic and sales, but also strengthen the connection between your restaurant and the local community. Always be on the lookout for novel approaches to incorporating current events and trends into your email marketing campaigns. If you follow these rules, your information will stay interesting, useful, and up-to-date.

Promotional Email Red Flags that Restaurants Should Avoid
Outdated Restaurant Email Promo Discount From the Web

Promotional Email Red Flags that Restaurants Should Avoid

While promotional emails can be an effective way to attract customers to your restaurant, certain practices can backfire and damage your reputation. To ensure the success of your email marketing campaigns, avoid these red flags:

1. Overwhelming Subscribers with Emails

Sending too many promotional emails can irritate your subscribers and lead to unsubscribes or being marked as spam. Limit your email frequency to prevent overwhelming your audience.

2. Misleading Subject Lines

Using clickbait or misleading subject lines to entice readers to open your emails can harm your credibility. Craft honest and relevant subject lines that accurately reflect the content of your email.

3. Ignoring Personalization

Sending generic, one-size-fits-all emails can make your subscribers feel undervalued. Personalize your emails with the recipient’s name, preferences, or past interactions to create a more engaging experience.

4. Poorly Designed Emails

A cluttered or unprofessional email design can negatively impact your restaurant’s image. Invest time and resources into creating visually appealing emails that reflect your brand’s identity.

5. Lack of Mobile Optimization

Failing to optimize your emails for mobile devices can result in a poor user experience and lower engagement rates. Use mobile-friendly templates and test your emails on various devices.

6. Failing to Proofread

Typos, grammatical errors, and broken links in your promotional emails can harm your credibility and cause confusion. Always proofread your emails and double-check links before sending.

7. Intrusive Pop-ups or Ads

Incorporating intrusive pop-ups or ads in your emails can annoy readers and lead to a negative impression. Focus on providing valuable content and offers instead of bombarding subscribers with ads.

8. Not Including an Unsubscribe Option

Failing to provide a clear and easy way for subscribers to unsubscribe can damage your reputation and violate email marketing regulations. Always include an unsubscribe link in your emails.

9. Ignoring Metrics and Performance

Neglecting to track and analyze your email campaign’s performance can hinder your ability to make data-driven improvements. Regularly monitor key metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, to optimize your campaigns.

10. Violating Privacy Regulations

Ensure you comply with privacy regulations, such as GDPR and CAN-SPAM Act, to avoid penalties and protect your subscribers’ information. Obtain proper consent for data collection and use, and provide transparency about how you handle personal information.

By avoiding these red flags, you can create promotional emails that effectively engage your audience, drive traffic to your restaurant, and increase sales. Maintain a customer-centric approach, and continuously optimize your campaigns to deliver valuable content and a positive experience for your subscribers.

Summary Checklist of Action Plans

To implement successful promotional email campaigns focused on discounts, deals, and special offers, follow this summary checklist of action plans:

  • Offer limited-time deals to create a sense of urgency and encourage immediate action.
  • Provide exclusive discounts to email subscribers, incentivizing sign-ups and engagement.
  • Leverage customer data to send personalized and targeted promotions.
  • Craft attention-grabbing subject lines to boost open rates and encourage customers to explore your promotional emails.
  • Utilize clear and concise messaging, making it easy for customers to understand the offer and take action.


In conclusion, promotional emails focused on discounts, deals, and special offers play a vital role in the success of restaurateurs, restaurant managers, and marketing professionals. By offering time-sensitive deals, exclusive subscriber discounts, personalized promotions, and crafting compelling subject lines, you can create email campaigns that engage customers and encourage them to take advantage of your offers.

Promotional email marketing will help increase the number of people who open your emails, the number of people who click on your links, the amount of customer contact, and the number of customers you keep. By following the action plans outlined in this article and learning from successful brands like Domino’s Pizza, you can create a promotional email strategy that drives results for your restaurant business.

Don’t pass up the chance to boost client retention, store traffic, and earnings by sending out discount- and sale-oriented promotional emails. Start implementing these strategies today and experience the growth and success your restaurant deserves.

READ ALSO: Crafting a Mouthwatering Restaurant Menu: Balancing Taste, Presentation, and Profitability

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