Restaurant Postcards – Creative Direct Mailers

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Gift Card Plastic Mailer


It’s a fact: 85 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year of opening their doors. To be successful, you must have not only great food and great service, but a great marketing plan as well. That’s where we come in.

ValCards Plastic Postcards can help you develop effective restaurant direct mail postcards that increase your visibility and gets traffic in the door-and coming back for more.

A restaurant postcard is perfect for:

  • Call for reservations
  • Featured Chef announcements
  • Specials
  • Seasonal Entrees
  • Grand openings or relocations
  • Trial records
  • Mailing to existing clients or new prospects
  • Gift Certificates           

Your New Restaurant Direct Mailer is a Call Away!

We start with our expertise and design experience and work closely with you to deliver your specific message in the most effective way possible. We work with you from concept to finished product to ensure your restaurant direct mailer meets your needs on every level.

As leaders in the field of restaurant postcard printing and design, we know what it takes to increase your sales and brand awareness. Call us today for your FREE consultation!   

A common question in most households is, “Where are we eating tonight?” When that question pops up inside your Commerce Circle, your restaurant should be at the top of the list of options. A restaurant direct mail marketing campaign will help get you there!



Your Best Potential Customers (Mailing List)

An accepted rule of thumb is that restaurants should spend 3% of revenues on advertising. Through our consultative process, we work to understand your prime costs and what a customer is worth to you. Then, we help you establish an appropriate advertising budget and build your restaurant direct mail marketing campaign to stay within those margins.

Generally speaking, restaurant customers don’t travel very far, especially for weeknight dining. So, we recommend mailing list which target income appropriate customers within just a couple of miles of your restaurant and mailing them more regularly.


A winning ad that produces measurable results

From a design perspective, we feel pictures should do the talking. Photos of a signature dish, the restaurant itself, or the owner/manager can all be effective visuals. We don’t advise cluttering the card with a full menu. Let that be something your patrons see in person!

A coupon can be a fantastic incentive that will deliver results. We work with you to create an optimum promotion, one that will entice your customers while remaining conscientious of your profit margin needs. For some direct mailings, such as those for certain fine dining establishments, a coupon might not be necessary. A Marketing Consultant will help you determine what’s best for your restaurant.


Get in front of your best potential customers

Once your mailing list is selected and your design is in place we can schedule your mailing dates.

How often should I mail ?

We do not have contracts, preferring to earn your business every time you mail, but with any marketing – consistency is key. The response & return on investment get better with every impression as your best potential customers become more familiar with who you are.  To experience the full benefits of direct mailtouching the same households once every 30 days is ideal.  You need to be more visible than your competitors so that when these potential customers ask themselves “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” – your restaurant comes to mind first!

The impact of consistent direct mail on your business that happens over time is priceless, and your response rates will increase every month you mail.

Packages & More.

All Inclusive pricing & Free tools for your Mailings

Tracking phone number
At no additional charge we will provide a call tracking number for you. The number will have the same area code as your current number and forward to your place of business. All the calls are tracked and recorded.  This provides you with a great way to measure response, but it is a powerful mechanism for coaching and training phone skills for your organization.  If you accept reservations, this free service is highly recommended.

Monthly reporting
Monthly reporting involves cross referencing your customer database to that of the mailing list. This allows us to calculate the number of people who came in your business with or without the coupon. When mailing middle to high income households not everyone brings in the coupons but are drawn in from your well spent marketing dollars.  By doing the cross referencing we can calculate the number of new vs. returning customers and how much they spent to give an accurate measure of ROI.

Three tips for effective postcard marketing campaigns

There are a lot of “marketing experts” out there who will tell you, “marketing is simple.” It isn’t, and postcard marketing is no exception. However, it CAN be simplified to the point where even the busiest restaurateurs can manage an effective and profitable marketing program.

Of course, you cannot just snap your fingers and produce an effective design and targeted mailing list. But there are a few proven tricks of the trade that will help you build a winning campaign right from the beginning.

Are there many nuances that really go into creating a fully optimized postcard marketing campaign? Yes. But honestly, even if you never master them, or don’t find time to do so, you can still build a successful campaign that will increase your business and make you more money. All you need are what I call the Big Three. Once you know the Big Three, you can expect excellent results from your postcards even if you haven’t gotten to the more nuanced strategies that can wring every last cent out of your marketing investment.

If you get the Big Three right, you will see big-time results for your restaurant, and you can focus on fine-tuning later. The Big Three are: Quality, Design, and List.


 “What Quality postcard do I need?”

“Can I get away with a paper postcard?”

“What is the benefit of a plastic postcard anyway?”

The quality of your postcard may sound like an arbitrary choice, but it is so much more important than that. The quality of your card has a direct impact on the response to your mailing. There are always variables involved, but you would have trouble finding someone who disagreed with the following statement: “A higher quality postcard stands out more than less quality.” More people notice plastic postcards, more people read plastic postcards, and that increases your chances of turning card recipients into paying customers at your restaurant.  

Most direct mail postcard companies don’t have options when it comes to the quality of your card. If they don’t have options, you should perhaps choose another company. The quality you ought to choose can be found by answering these questions:

1. How much do other restaurants in your area market themselves?

a. Not at all/I’m the only one (you can lean towards a smaller card)
b. Light to moderate amount (lean toward a larger card)
c. Moderate to heavy amount (you need a large card)

2. Do your competitors also mail postcards?

a. No (you can lean towards a smaller card
b. Yes (you need a large card)

3. How much explanation does your offer require?

a. Not that much/easy to grasp(smaller card is fine)
b. A little background info (medium should do the trick)
c. A lot/details are important (Go big or go home)

4. What kind of restaurant do you have?

a. Fine dining (go big)
b. Family/casual/pub (medium is fine)
c. Pizza, fast food (small will be fine)

There is no use putting the effort into a card just to have it ignored because you wanted to save a little bit on printing. Plastic postcards work over and over for restaurants. It’s proven, so don’t buck the science!

Determine design, mailing list


You need a card that cuts through the noise and communicates your message to prospective diners immediately and clearly. There are ten elements that make up a fully effective direct mail postcards design. They are:

1. Clear headline
2. Supporting graphic
3. Color that pops
4. Intriguing sub-headings on the back that lead into benefits
5. Benefits!
6. Enticing offer
7. Restaurant name and logo
8. Call to action and/or expiration date for the offer
9. Contact information – website, map, phone number
10. Return address

Elements 1, 2, and 3 are how you get attention and translate that attention into a decision to read more of the card. If these elements fail to grab attention and generate interest, your card is a lost cause.

Elements 4, 5, and 6 are where you convince the reader to take action. The sub-headings pull the reader into the body copy (which needs to be chock-full of customer-related benefits). Then you seal the deal with an offer they can’t refuse.

Elements 7-10 give your future customer the information he/she needs to respond. Note that number 8, the call to action, is vitally important. Believe it or not, most people won’t think to take action if you don’t ask them to. They simply have too much going on to take the initiative.


The final, crucial aspect of the Big Three is your mailing list. A good mailing list will turn a mediocre card into a superstar customer creation deice. A bad list will take the perfect postcard design and turn it into a trashcan liner. The reason is that the list defines the type of person who receives your ad. Putting an ad in front of the right sets of eyes is even more important than the ad itself.

In order to get the perfect mailing list, you need to understand who your “ideal prospect” is. Do you cater to an elderly crowd? Or maybe families with young children? Are you an edgy hangout for teenaged rockers? Whatever your ideal target market is, those are the people whose names should be on your list. The specificity of the lists you can obtain is astonishing, too. Families with two children under 10 that live within 20 miles of your location? No problem. Twenty-somethings that have signed up for alternative music mailing lists? No sweat. But you need to know who you are looking for.

Specifically for restaurants, I have seen huge success with lists that are compiled monthly based on those in your area who have a birthday that month. They are called birthday lists. (Original, huh?). The restaurateurs I have worked with have seen amazing success by mailing out special birthday offers to these lists. The cards get redeemed at very high rates, and nobody eats alone on their birthday!

As you know, once you get a new visitor into your restaurant, the rest of the experience will decide whether they come back or not! You want them back, so giving them an incredible birthday experience is crucial. One time, I responded to a birthday promotion and took my husband along to celebrate. The restaurant was really on top of the promotion. When we arrived and checked in, we were each brought a complimentary glass of champagne. What a GREAT first impression! Needless to say, the money they “lost” giving a free dinner to the birthday girl, they made up in spades every time we came back!

Postcard Marketing : Low-Tech Marketing’s Prince

Web advertising, e-mail or other high-tech marketing methods aren’t the only way to market these days. Many entrepreneurs are simply seeking a low-cost, easy-to-implement sales tool, and aren’t wrapped up in the latest tech fad.

For “tech-less” marketing, old-fashioned postcard marketing is a great option. These princely little pieces pack a powerful marketing punch for many a startup and small business.

Consider the Midwest School of Music, in Indianapolis, IN. When owner Barbara Granneman returned to teaching piano, she used a postcard campaign to get her business started. In a month she had 40 students and hired another teacher. Now a few years later she has 32 employees and has opened a Chicago branch. Aside from a Yellow Pages listing, postcards are her only means of marketing. She tried others, but stopped them all because postcards proved most effective.

Even technology companies love postcard marketing. Intuit, which makes accounting software, recommends postcard marketing to its accounting firm clients for three reasons:

  • It’s easier to read a postcard at a glance than to open an envelope
  • Postcards are less intrusive than e-mail, and these days have less competition
  • Unlike e-mail, postcards can take on any size, color, gloss or graphic

You can create, print and mail postcards without a big investment. Free Design Templates are available at the US Postal Service website, and the standard 4×6 size costs just $0.23 to mail.

Getting your postcards printed is also a snap.

Direct mail experts at the USPS say the most effective postcard marketing shares these traits

  1. They’re eye-catching: Your postcard doesn’t have to be art, but it helps if it’s attractive. Adding a high quality photo or other image will help
  2. They’re simple:     It’s a postcard, not a novel. Pretend every word is costing you $500. A     jumble of information won’t do it. Simple, bold headlines like “Fall     Fashions Are In!” or “50% Off Cookware” work best – then explain where,     when and a few other details
  3. They’re timely:     Messages such as “Your Service Contract Expires June 1” work great – if     you have a timely message of some kind for your customers use it
  4. They’re two-sided:     Be sure to use both sides of your postcard, but not every inch. Use one     side like a poster and the other for a few details. Or put an ad on one     side and a personal message on the other
  5. They’re multifaceted:     A postcard can double as a coupon, gift certificate or event ticket.     Ask people to present the card to claim an offer. It’s an easy way to     measure effectiveness

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