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A cafe in Amsterdam with a steady flow of regulars and new customers

A cafe in Amsterdam with a steady flow of regulars and new customers

THESE 8 IDEAS FOR YOUR RESTAURANTS' NEWSLETTER ARE GUARANTEED TO BRING IN TRAFFIC

A regular newsletter is your best, most direct contact with your guest in between their visits. A newsletter has one main purpose:  to get regulars and new guests to keep in touch with your restaurant.  That newsletter needs to be written with intention. You are proactively inviting guests to visit.

But what do you tell them?  You need to tell them your stories.  It takes effort to maintain your monthly newsletter, but your efforts will pay off.   

It can all be daunting.

So here's help. I’ve collected some of the formulas you can use to create the type of news your potential and returning customers will want to read. Use them exactly or tweak them to fit your unique restaurant.

Your newsletter can be as simple as a monthly e-blast with very little written content but lots of photos, or you can have recurring topics with good photos. 

1. New Menu Item with a STORY

People love your men, but letting them in on what's new, and the behind the scenes is why they'll love hearing from you. You can pique their curiosity by explaining the inspiration and process for creating a new item on the menu. Telling a story  gets people salivating, wanting to come in right away to try it.

Examples

  • The story behind your new vegetarian offering(You Won’t Believe It)
  • A kitchen favorite gets added to the menu -- bacon crusted Mac ‘N Cheese
  • The new cocktail is a creation for one of our locals.

2. Featured Menu Stories

Tell them about favorite items on the menu, and the story behind it!  There are so many things that already exist on the menu that are noteworthy. Your guests love your storytelling. invite your guests feedback:  to tell about their Aunt Betty's favorite hand-me-down recipe. 

Examples

  • Tim just told us a story about his Great Aunt Jane's borscht soup recipe.
  • Tell stories from the your farm purveyors (check with your farmer so they agree.  Most of the time, they are very happy to be included)
  • How It’s Made: This could be a monthly story, with pictures of the prep to serve process. Video is welcome, Photos will work.

3. Answers To Common Questions

You can never go wrong by answering the common questions your customers ask.

You probably hear questions all day long. And you probably answer them without thinking twice. Put those answers in your newsletter. You can bet that if people are asking you in person that they’re asking them online. Talk to your staff. Chances are they’re answering questions. Find out what's a common recurring question, and how they are answering it.  

Examples

  • Do you ever do small parties, not restaurant buy-outs.
  • Recommended Pairings with favorite items (this could be a monthly topic)
  • When do you serve soft shelled crab

4. Event Announcements

Are you hosting an event? If not, start thinkin'! 

Announce it on the newsletter, social media and website--be thorough. And literally: invite them to come by sharing the benefits with them: Come see our dessert and dessert wine demo this Wednesday!

Examples

  • Fundraiser:  Help us by supporting Dining Out for Life, September 25th for lunch or dinner
  • We are hosting our Local Chamber of Commerce Happy Hour. Here's the link to learn more.
  • Our bartenders love to share their stories and knowledge.  Have you joined us on Tuesday's yet?  Well, consider yourself invited to our weekly Beer Pairing Tuesday.

5. Complementary Businesses & Non-Profits 

Generating traffic sometimes starts with the newsletter, then often moves to a conversation on social media when your subject is engaging.  Collaborating with local businesses and organizations invites you into your community.  Talking about other businesses and non-profits is one more reason why your business is at the center of that conversation.

Examples

  • 10 Fun Events around Downtown this summer (yes, you can share one from your place, but the idea is to get more than your regulars and followers talking about you).
  • Our Staff Favorites:  Non-profits we support.
  • Chef's Favorite Places to Eat. This article may already be posted, you are merely sharing. 

6. Call to Action

This is the buzz phrase for this year, and may continue into 2018.  There's a reason for it--people often love to have a quick, easy idea, and all they have to do is show up!

Examples

  • 3 Customers share their story about getting engaged at our restaurant. 
  • We are naming our cocktails, come in on Friday and give us suggestions.
  • Our new cocktail line-up is ready. Come in on Friday for our seasonal Cocktail Tasting

7. Local Commentary

Restaurant owners and chefs are tuned into their own community.  Is there something to share that your guests will love to talk to their friends about, and will lead them to come into the restaurant?

Examples

  • Our rooftop garden is producing enough basil for our pesto. Come in for our quinoa-pesto and tomato tabouli. Call ahead, and we'll get your order ready.
  • We participated in Hats and Horses again this year.  Please support Meals on Wheels. (include photos from the event, which the organization will provide).
  • Help Us Raise Funds For No Kid Hungry. We collaborated with 5 other chefs.  Please join us. 

8. Seasonal Trend Discussions

As a restaurant owner, you have the inside scoop on what ingredients will be included in the new specials. Entice your guests to come back in this month.  Give them the inside scoop in the food and drink industry by sharing some of your knowledge. People love feeling like they’re getting something others are missing.

Examples

  • 5 Local ingredients and the menu items you'll love
  • Our Seasonal take on Sangria.
  • This New Ingredient Is So Crazy That People Will Love It

This is a big list of ideas. Spread them out over the year, and ask staff and managers for ideas.  Often there are ideas right in front of you, that you missed.  

If you need help building your list, here is some great wisdom.  Building an email list for your restaurant. 

And an article on 6 Marketing emails for the holidays.

Pictures of your cafe, restaurant or brewery evokes what your customers love about you. 

Pictures of your cafe, restaurant or brewery evokes what your customers love about you. 

 

 

 

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