Direct Mail Marketing for Restaurants

Designs for Restaurant Marketing                          

In general, you want a professional looking postcard design that promotes the benefits of your restaurant. Are you in a convenient location, do you offer extended hours, do you offer catering, etc… These are all the things that you want to bring to the reader’s attention. Other important design elements are: high quality images, a call to action or special offer, and prominently displayed contact information. For restaurants, we also recommend including a map to your location on the postcard.             

Mailing List Selections for Restaurant Marketing

For restaurants, we recommend using a residential mailing list or occupant mailing list of residents that live near your restaurant. If your restaurant is located in an area of lower income residents or has large pockets of lower income residents, we can use an income level selector to ensure you are marketing your services to people who can afford them.

Additionally, by using an occupant list, we will be able to get you one of the lowest postage rates available.

How Often to Mail Your Restaurant Postcards

As with any postcard marketing campaign - repetition (mailing to the same list of recipients multiple times) results in the best response rates. This certainly applies to restaurants as not everyone you mail to will be interested in your services the first time they receive your postcard. For Restaurant Marketing we recommend mailing to same list of recipients once every two weeks. This will allow your postcard to be in front of the recipient and your restaurant in the front of their minds the next time they plan a dinner out.

Have More Questions on Restaurant Marketing?             Need More Advice?             

Call us and one of our Marketing Consultants will create an affordable and effective plan to market your establishment with Restaurant Postcards.            

Without a doubt, you know your restaurant serves lip-smacking appetizers, scrumptious entrees and the most delectable desserts in town—but do your potential customers know it?  If you don’t get the word out, local consumers will continue to dine at home or, even worse, at your competitor’s eatery.

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Studies show that 26 percent of restaurants fail in the first year and 60 percent go out of business by the third year. There are countless reasons for this painfully high failure rate, but many experts say ineffective marketing is the biggest restaurant killer of all. The restaurant owners who play their cards right and use super-savvy marketing tactics are typically the ones who beat the odds and skyrocket to gourmet success.

Direct mail is one of the simplest yet most effective marketing tools at every restaurant’s disposal—even for those on a shoestring budget. If you’re ready to generate major buzz and attract swarms of hungry customers, take a bite out of these six targeted marketing strategies:

#1: Lunch with Local Businesses

If you want to amplify lunchtime traffic, target local businesses with an enticing direct mail campaign. Send out a postcard or letter to all businesses within a one to two-mile radius of your restaurant, and address it to “Current Business Manager.” Be sure to put your lunch menu center stage and highlight how you offer healthier and tastier options than the local fast food joint. You should also assure professionals that you’ll serve them quickly and get them in and out in a snap.

You may also consider offering a coupon or another incentive to magnetize even more local professionals to your restaurant. It is important to keep your mailing specific to lunch. Combining your lunch mailing with a dinner promotion will muddle your message and confuse your target audience.

#2: Promote an Early Bird Special

It’s no secret that seniors prefer to eat dinner earlier, and they’re usually looking to save a buck. In the meantime, you’re looking to fill your restaurant’s seats in the excruciatingly slow hours between lunch and dinner. It sounds like you two have something in common—so why not target local seniors with an early bird special? It’s a win-win!

Saturate nearby retirement communities with your early bird direct mail piece or send it out to a more targeted list of seniors in town. You could also offer an extra incentive, such as a coupon or a frequent early bird punch card, which offers a free meal or appetizer after the senior purchases a specific number of meals.<.p>

#3: Introduce a Delicious New Dish

Have you recently added a new entrée to your menu? Spread the word with a highly targeted direct mail piece! Not only is this a great way to increase traffic in your restaurant, but it also allows you test the new dish with a limited time offer or coupon.

If you have a customer database, you should customize your new dish direct mail piece for each customer category. Here are a few customization examples:

  • Frequent Customers: Send your most loyal diners a high-profit offer along with the promotion of your new dish.
  • New Customers: Send them a welcome message along with the direct mail piece. You may want to combine this with an offer or discount.
  • High-Risk Customers: Also known as “at-risk customers,” these are the folks who haven’t dined with you in a while. Send them a more tempting offer, perhaps a deep discount or a free dessert when they order your new dish.
  • Non-Customers: These are people who have never dined at your restaurant. Send these non-customers the most aggressive offer of all—something that is powerful enough to attract them to your restaurant for the very first time. Perhaps you could offer your new entrée for free with the purchase of a second dinner.

#4: Undercut Your Competitor’s Prices

If you’re looking to attract flocks of diners, send them a direct mail offer they can’t refuse—the lowest price in town. Research the prices of your biggest competitors and then offer a much lower price, at least for a limited time. For example, if your competition offers $2 Happy Hour margaritas, offer $1.50 margaritas during the same time slot. Does your competitor offer $4 appetizers on Sunday afternoons? Offer $3 appetizers in the same window. You get the gist.

Again, you may want to customize the direct mail piece so your existing customers receive a different offer than your prospective customers. It's often said that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. This is why it’s so important to maintain a customer database.

#5: Reach New Customers Online

If you want to draw masses of new diners to your restaurant, look no further than email marketing. The power of email marketing is undeniable: In 2011, for every $1 marketers spent on email, they enjoyed an average return on investment of $40.56, according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

While you may already be sending out customer retention emails to your frequent diners, you can expand your reach even more through acquisition email campaigns. When done correctly, acquisition email marketing can connect your restaurant with countless untouched customers. Plus, acquisition email enables you to have a one-on-one interaction with a potential customer. It’s a dynamic combination.

#6: Send a Special Birthday Surprise

Want to ensure your customers celebrate their birthday at your restaurant year after year (along with all of their closest family members and friends)? Send out an annual birthday mailing with a special offer for the birthday guy or gal. A few weeks before their special day, send them a personalized email or card with an awesome birthday offer, such as a free appetizer, dessert, or even a free meal.

Research shows that birthdays are the number one occasion that people celebrate at restaurants. When you put an effective birthday program into place, you’ll give your bottom line a major boost by bringing back existing customers, while attracting new ones—the folks who are invited to the party. A well-planned restaurant birthday program gives everyone a reason to celebrate!