Not only does the food you prepare bring in the customers but the environment and atmosphere in which you offer it. Giving your customers a sense of what awaits them begins long before your restaurant newsletter arrives in their email. Your newsletter expresses who you are and what you have to offer. It builds on existing relationships to create new ones. To make sure you do everything right, here are 10 Steps to creating a great restaurant newsletter.

Offer Great Customer Service

Perhaps you have unlimited funds to create a beautiful environment — but even a small, casual restaurant can provide a wonderful experience. Service is key. Friendly, professional, hard-working staff who serve the correct items in an appropriate time-frame let customers know you care about them. Building relationships with customers through simple techniques like calling them by name is key.

Create Your List

Who will receive your newsletter? Your customers who love you! Provide a way for customers to join your email newsletter list. All serving staff should speak about the newsletter after a customer has enjoyed a delicious meal and good experience in the restaurant. Let them know its purpose: providing a weekly menu of specials? Offering coupons and other incentives?

Learn how to take beautiful photos of the foods you offer or find an employee who has a good eye.

Use Photos

Photos are the way to tantalize your customers with Food, Food, Food when you can’t lure them in with the sight and aroma of an actual dish. Learn how to take beautiful photos of the foods you offer or find an employee who has a good eye. Build a photo library of your own foods to use in newsletters.

Plan It Out

Invest planning time into your newsletter. Think about what is most important to communicate and how you can frame it. Create a visually appealing template. If you can’t afford a designer, there are lots of email services out there nowadays that offer help and templates (we use Mailchimp).

Customers want to know what delicious food you’re going to offer them when they visit in response to your newsletter reminder.

Be sure your plan is for something that is easy to digest (no pun intended) and keeps the focus on what’s most important. Also, keep it simple; you don’t have to put everything into this newsletter — save some for the next one. Last but not least, you want to be consistent in frequency, so when you’re planning, keep this in mind!

Be Present On Social Media

Connect your newsletter to your accounts on social media that your customers use – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. Provide links to these accounts in every newsletter. Post pictures and company updates to keep in touch with your customers and let them know if there’s anything coming up.

Listen To Your Clients

Be client-centered in your newsletter. What do your customers want to know? They want to know what delicious food you’re going to offer them when they visit in response to your newsletter reminder. Customers look for both familiarity and variety. Your regular, fixed menu offers them familiarity. Specials and Items of the Day offer them variety.

Make sure to share something new each time – a program, a new service or a new award – to make each newsletter unique.

You don’t need to repeat your whole fixed menu in each newsletter. You can summarize it, sometimes pick a dish to highlight. Be specific, though, about Specials and Items of the Day, and whenever possible, include mouth-watering photos.

Provide Boilerplate Information

Your address, phone number, website, email address, links to your social media accounts and hours – make sure they are there and are easy to find. Awards or special mentions? List them. Great Yelp reviews? Provide a link. Make it easy for people to find out more about you and to get in touch.

Make Each Newsletter Unique

Yes, the boilerplate information is important, but this is a “news” letter! If you said the same thing to a friend every time you connected with them, you probably wouldn’t be friends for long. Be sure you share something new each time — a program or special event, a new service or an upgrade, a thought about your food or an experience in the restaurant, a featured staff person or customer, a new award.

This is a “news” letter!

Provide A Call To Action

What do you want people to do in response to this newsletter? Share it with three other people? Bring a friend to dinner? Order lunch for an office? Come to the restaurant during a particular week or for an event? Be specific, and offer an incentive.

If your newsletter is honest, informative, attractive and easy to take in, if it reminds your customers how much they like your food and how much they enjoy visiting you, it will be a great success.

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