3 Tips for Building Your Restaurant Email Database

Sep 3, 2015

restaurant-people-feet-legsIn a recent post, we covered why it is vital to always be adding to your restaurant email list. But how do you get people to fork over their email to join your restaurant email database? There are a million different ways to do it–but here are three of our favorites:

3 Tips for Building Your Restaurant Email Database


This classic method has been around forever. In the simple scenario, you place a fishbowl with a little sign on your counter, waiting area, or bar. In exchange for customers dropping in a business card (and joining your email list), you pick one lucky winner a month who receives a catered lunch, a free dessert, or some other worthwhile prize from your restaurant. This works really well if you have a busy lunch where customers are within easy reach of their business cards. But it can also work as long as you have an area where people are waiting and can drop their card. Make sure you schedule some time each month to add the emails to your database–and always follow through on your promise of the prize.

Website Magnet

Most customers find you first via your restaurant website–so put your site to work on your email list. Create a simple opt-in section where people can sign up for your list in exchange for something free (the magnet). Send them a favorite recipe, Farmer’s Market schedule, or cocktail tips. You can type it quickly and then use a site like Fiverr or Canva to make it look great very simply. In addition to getting them on your list, your “magnet” will be spreading your restaurant name and reputation. Make it attractive, high quality and useful–your customers will be more likely to share it.

Online Ordering Feed

The BEST way to get build your email list is through your online ordering system. Since customers will be giving you their email addresses to register for ordering, you can easily include a message about getting signed up for your list as well. So simple, so streamlined, such a no-brainer. If your online ordering partner isn’t giving you access to those emails–that should definitely raise a red flag. They are your customers–and you should be able to communicate with them as you wish. ChowNow gives you full access to your customer database.

If you are looking for an online ordering partner who handles the marketing of your carryout business for you while giving you full customer access, then let’s talk!

— Mike Ganino | Mike is a restaurant veteran having served  as COO at Protein Bar and in key roles at Yum! Brands, Lettuce Entertain You, and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. An in-demand speaker and trainer on restaurant and hospitality industry, Mike advises ChowNow on developing the strongest online ordering solutions for restaurants.

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