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    Best Email Marketing Software For Restaurants in 2021

    Written By Jason Rowse - Digital Marketing Expert

    Updated: 09/01/2021

    Best Email Marketing For Restaurants

    From gaining a competitive advantage to attracting the attention of your customers and increasing dining loyalty, restaurants can use emails for a wide range of marketing strategies.

    #1 Pick - Best Email Marketing Software for Restaurants:

    Benchmark- Great segmentation, and best value for money.

    It’s an affordable way of increasing the buzz around your restaurant, especially if you’re just opening.

    For experienced restaurateurs, email marketing improves customer retention and brand recognition.

    The article below will walk you through the key benefits and practices of email marketing so that you can get started. A detailed review of the six top software for restaurants is also included to assist you with identifying the right software.

    Best Email Marketing Services For Restaurants for 2021

    The following lists the top five services with their exclusive perks for restaurant owners and marketers.

    1. Benchmark - Ideal for small and medium-sized restaurant owners

    Popular for its white label marketing solutions, Benchmark is an LA-based email marketing brand. From creating custom emails to optimizing targeted lists, Benchmark is ideal for small and medium-sized restaurant owners.

    The thing that caught our eye is its full video integration as it’s excellent for showcasing the food and ambiance of restaurants. On top of it, you can also customize the signup form on this platform per your preferences. Combined with the drag-and-drop email editor, Benchmark is even fun to use. 

    In combination with an easy-to-use UI, beginners and experts can create professional-looking surveys and other interesting content too. Alternatively, use the free PDF offered by Benchmark called the ‘email marketing manual’ if you’re unfamiliar with email marketing.

    Features of Benchmark:
    • A/B Testing
    • Content Customization
    • API & CRM Integration
    • Ecommerce Tools
    • Automation
    • Tracking Reports
    • Analytics
    • Free
    • Pro: $13.99 per month

    Provider Site
    • Email marketing tool for a great strategy
    • Easy set up of customized emails
    • Live editing option

    2. Drip - Personalize sales funnels and automate them

    For small business owners and marketers looking for a one-stop solution for all their automation problems, Drip offers advanced solutions.

    The email marketing service is famous for its dedicated automation tools, which help with maintaining long-term customer relationships. The best thing about Drip is its ability to set email triggers that automatically sends the email to users based on their behavior and purchase intent. You can personalize sales funnels and automate them at ease on this platform.

    If you’re introducing new specials or extra dishes to the menu, announce it by sending event-based emails. The intuitive navigation on Drip makes it easy for creating advanced email courses and recipes for your foodie fans.

    What drew our attention most is that they offer a refund if the service fails to grow your list or improve the conversion rates.

    Features of Drip:
    • Automation & Funnels
    • Easy Integration
    • Workflow Builder
    • Track & Trigger
    • CRM
    • Liquid Language Support
    • Advanced Segmentation
    • Basic: $49 per month
    • Pro: $122 per month
    • Enterprise: On Request

    Provider Site
    • Ecommerce automation
    • Customer data
    • Easy to use
    • Good pricing

    3. ConvertKit -Easy to navigate

    Small restaurateurs will find ConvertKit easy to navigate owing to its intuitive design. With precise-targeting and subscriber tagging, this email marketing service is ideal for improving location-based conversions. While ConvertKit offers no more than three email templates, the editor comes with basic functions that are responsive. However, most functions from this marketing service are built for basic processes and not more advanced use.

    What we appreciate about this provider is its flexible subscription model where you can add or eliminate specific users from workflows. Another bonus is the subscription management with a visual overview of automation that makes this software essential for beginners.

    While it doesn’t offer a free plan, you can test the service with the free trial.  

    Features of ConvertKit:  
    • Highly Targeted Emails
    • Visual Automation Builder
    • CAN-SPAM Compliance
    • Email With Event Triggers
    • Template Management
    • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor
    • Landing Page/ Web Form Editor
    • $29 per month for 1,000 subscribers
    • $49 per month for 3,000 subscribers
    • $79 per month for 5,000 subscribers
    • $119 per month for 10,000 subscribers

    Provider Site
    • Best for bloggers and freelancers
    • Very easy to use
    • Tagging system to segment customers

    4. Constant Contact - Send emails based on user behavior

    Built for novices and small businesses, this software service lets users customize over 400 email templates. The best bit about signing up with Constant Contact is that it offers brands and businesses personalized content ideas based on their industry of choice.

    You can also use the automation tools to create and send emails based on user behavior such as those interested in events, foods, and menu items via this site.

    Restaurateurs are recommended to use the ‘event’ and ‘survey’ options on Constant Contact to enhance their marketing efforts. With a high deliverability rate of 89%, your emails will reach the tagged customer on time. Moreover, this service provider offers a free trial of up to 60 days for testing your needs.  

    Features of Constant Contact:
    • A/B Testing For Subject Lines
    • Performance Reporting
    • API, CRM & Plugin Integration
    • Triggered Automation
    • Customizable Email Templates
    • Available As A Mobile Application
    • Basic: $20
    • Plus: $45

    Provider Site
    • Mobile responsive email
    • Feedback with surveys and polls
    • Tracking donations by a custom landing page

    5. AWeber - Intuitive drag and drop functionality 

    The intuitive drag and drop functionality is hands down the best feature of this email service provider. If you’re new to email marketing, the 700 built-in email templates on AWeber will give you everything you need to build a good list of subscribers.

    Affordable pricing is not the only perk of signing up on AWeber. The service provider is also famous for its lead generation tools that are ideal for acquiring new customers. Users can also create signup forms on this platform as per convenience and preferences.

    Features of AWeber:
    • Split Testing With Tutorials
    • Segment By Location
    • API, CRM, Plugin & Ecommerce Integrations
    • Signup Form Generator
    • Free Smart Designer
    • Tweakable Email Templates
    • Email Sequence Automation
    • $19: Up to 500 subscribers
    • $29: Up to 2500 subscribers
    • $49: Up to 5000 subscribers
    • $69: Up to 10,000 subscribers
    • $149: Up to 25,000 subscribers

    Provider Site
    • Smart designer is for free
    • A/B testing
    • Drag and Drop email creation
    • Free template library

    6. Mailchimp-A pioneer in automation optimizing

    One of the most recommended email marketing services for restaurateurs, Mailchimp, is a pioneer in automation optimizing your email content for mobile is an automatic feature available here for all users. You can use the creation wizard of Mailchimp for customizing the email.

    The drag and drop interface combined with the pre-built email templates eases the entire process. 

    New restaurateurs can use over 15 pre-built automation workflows in addition to in-depth metrics and reports available from this service provider. If you already have a restaurant or two, creating segments based on unique email triggers will work wonders.

    Features of Mailchimp:
    • Split Testing
    • Personalization
    • Integration
    • Automation
    • Reporting
    • Segmentation
    • Analytics
    • Free
    • Essentials: $9.99 per month
    • Standard: $14.99 per month
    • Premium: $299 per month

    Provider Site
    • Flexible Plans
    • All-in-one pricing
    • Lots of guides to learn from
    • Extensive marketing platform

    Why Email Marketing Is Good For Restaurants

    Estimated to be about 15% of the total marketing budget across the industry, email marketing is among the easiest marketing strategies to deploy. 

    Find out the eight other benefits of using email marketing for your restaurant below.

    • Meet Demand: Statistics show over 72% of Americans want to receive emails from businesses.
    • Low Costs: On top of being almost-free and affordable, email marketing wastes no money on print and postage.
    • Automation: Automated emails record 119% more click rates than broadcast emails.
    • Better ROI: Generating 28.5% in ROI when compared to direct email, marketers can earn up to $44 for every $1 spent on email marketing.
    • Advanced Tools: From in-depth reporting to comprehensive analytics, you can track the opening rate, conversion rate, and other metrics to keep improving your campaigns.
    • Brand Exposure: You can increase awareness about your brand among subscribers by personalizing the email with your brand logo and other details.
    • Improved Sales: Include upsell and cross-sell options in your email marketing strategies to encourage your customers to buy from your restaurant. 
    • Convert Lost Customers: You can recover customers who abandoned their carts via follow up emails based on their behavior using a software.

    How Do I Pick The Right Software For Restaurants?

    Restaurateurs and marketers searching for professional tips on email marketing software will find the list below worth bookmarking.

    Look for the following key performance indicators for identifying seamless marketing software.

    • Contact Management: Tracking and record keeping of communication between the subscriber and the business is an important feature.
    • Segmentations Available: Check the list of segmentations such as age, spending history, geographic location, behavior, and gender on your target audience.
    • Customization & Branding: Assess personalization tools offered by the service provider for your design ideas.   
    • Integrations: Keep an eye out for integrations such as API, CRM, Google Analytics, Social Media and Plugins.
    • Automation Tools: Look out for behavioral triggers to create smart automation sequences.
    • List Maintenance: Watch for advanced maintenance tools such as the removal of soft bounces or hard bounces.

    Email Marketing Campaign Ideas For Restaurants 

    Launching a new campaign isn’t child’s play. That’s why it’s good to check out examples of restaurant email campaigns first to see what works and what doesn’t before you take the plunge on your own. 

    • Complimentary Dishes: Send promotional messages to customers notifying them about free dishes with entrees, main courses, or appetizers so that they proactively shop at your restaurant 

    • Seasonal Menu Changes: If your menu items are in for a change this season, share the news with your loyal customers so they can book their reservations in advance. The same is applicable when you’re adding new cuisines or bringing in new staples to the menu

    • Customer Retention: Given repeat customers spend up to 67% more than new customers, pitching promotional offers with purchase is the best way of bringing existing contacts back to your restaurant 

    • Show brand values: Another brilliant way to draw in loyal customers is by sharing the story behind your restaurant, chefs, or how your dishes came to fruition. You can even add a video story or picture to increase the impact of the message 

    • Special Event Dishes: Whether it’s the birthday or anniversary date of your customer, treat them with a special discount, freebie, or a similar offer that’s captivating 

    • Survey Email: Marketers can collect more details about customers as well as their tastes and distastes via survey-type marketing emails  

    • Add a GIF: You can also use videos and GIFs to improve the engagement of the reader. This strategy works because GIFs deliver a 130% increase in conversions

    Best Practices

    If you want to make the most of email marketing, the first step is to use a software designed for your goals. Next, research and stick to a consistent rhythm of sending your emails such as every Tuesday or Thursday. This is because automated emails have 60% more conversion than emails sent at random intervals.

    Find out the best three email marketing strategies for restaurant owners below to get started.  

    Follow The Standards

    Given welcome emails produce 320% more sales than promotional emails, create and set a welcome email. Another norm is to include dishes from your menu using captivating descriptions because this can drive up purchase intent by 27%.

    Make Use Of Automation

    Create triggers that prompt email sequences such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. You can also send a series of automated emails based on the variable data such as the subscriber behavior of abandoning the cart.

    Customize Your Subject Lines

    According to Econsultancy, adding emojis in the subject line can increase the open rate by 65%. Consider doing A/B testing with your subject lines to find out what rings well with your target audience.

    Go For Email List Segmentation

    With segmented campaigns leading to a 760% increase in revenue, it’s a vital tool for successful email marketing today. Segmentation refers to sending emails to parts of your contact list than pitching to all of them at once. 

    You need to start by dividing your customers into different segments based on their food preferences, cuisine type, location, ages, industry, income level, gender, purchase history, and other relevant parameters. For example, people who regularly order steak should get more steak offers than salads and other vegan options. 

    Be Mobile Friendly

    Because 46% of email users open their messages via mobile, your emails must automatically scale to today’s mobile devices’ varied screen sizes and formats. That’s because emails that look odd or show up poorly are typically deleted in less than three seconds by users these days.

    In short, the colors, font styles, font sizes, and other modifications on your email must adapt to the devices used by your target audience so that readability remains intact across the board. 

    Work On Customer Retention

    With 60% of US customers finding advertisements untrustworthy, email is the next best medium to reach customers directly, especially those who’ve had food from your restaurant already. Up to 80% of businesses today rely on customer retention via email marketing, according to the Emarsys whitepaper survey. 

    You can send messages about new dishes, cuisines, or updates to your restaurant. According to Gourmet Marketing eBook, 70% of restaurant customers expect brands to send them coupons as they’re ready to use them. 

    Integrate Your Campaigns With Social Media

    Another way of keeping your contacts hooked to the brand is by combining social media with email marketing. It creates a well-rounded marketing strategy because over 80% of internet users have social media accounts, and nearly-100% have email accounts. 

    Marketers can begin by sharing links to social media profiles of your brand within marketing emails. You can also encourage email users to connect with you on these channels, especially when conducting social media events.

    Bottom Line

    Email marketing can help increase customer loyalty, generate higher sales, and improve brand awareness for participating restaurants. Given its affordable price point and high ROI, small and large restaurants alike should consider the value of adding email marketing to their available advertising arsenal.

    One last bonus tip is to select a day of the week and brand it yours with hashtags such as #FriedChickenFridays or #SpicySaturdays. 


    1.   What’s the expected ROI of email marketing in the restaurant sector?

    When it comes to Return on Investment, email marketing records well across different industries. With that said, the exact number varies by the survey you reference. 

    For example, WebpageFX claims this marketing channel gains $44 for every $1 that’s spent. On the other hand, EZCater email marketing records $38 returns per $1, and ChowNow reports $43 per dollar. 

    2.   Which provider offers email marketing templates for restaurants?
    • Mailerlite exhibits the most extensive collection of exclusive-templates for the restaurant and food industry, totaling up to 30 
    • Constant Contact offers over a dozen templates tailored for restaurant marketers. It also has over 400 customizable templates when it comes to other industries
    • Moosend has three custom newsletter templates, especially for restaurant email marketing. Apart from custom food-related templates, this service provider has a total of 70+ free templates 
    • While ActiveCampaign offers one customizable design for the restaurant industry, it has a collection of over 30 templates to choose from 
    • Featuring two stellar campaign designs for restauranteurs, SendX in total has over 20+ free HTML templates for creating newsletters, launches, promotions, ecommerce, and online courses concerned with other industries 
    3.   What are the most successful restaurant email subject lines?
    • We Spent 87,600 hrs Perfecting THIS Dish…
    • Winter Is Coming And Our Summer Menu Is Going
    • Do you have plans for dinner? Would you like some?
    • Satisfy Your Hunger
    • Friday, ‘tis the Season
    • Thanks for visiting us
    • How to impress your dinner date without breaking the bank
    • Extended Happy Hour Starts 
    • A little luxury at a great price 
    • Vanilla or Chocolate? 
    4.   What’s the average email opening rate for the restaurant sector?
    The restaurant industry averages a 19.77% open rate and a 1.34% click rate. When it comes to the ‘Restaurant and Venue’ industry, the average open rate is 20.39%, followed by 1.40% of CTR.
    5.   Is email marketing for restaurants worth the time and effort?
    • Yes. Email marketing is worth every penny spent for many reasons. 
    • Restauranteurs can get started with email marketing for the lowest costs given its affordability relative to other channels 
    • Promotional emails offer one of the best ways to create brand recognition and loyalty among new and past customers 
    • Marketers will find this channel ideal for its shareability. For example, recipients can forward it to their contacts in a few clicks 
    • This marketing medium records a high-ROI owing to its multifaceted features such as A/B testing, personalization, automation, optimization, segmentation, and many more 
    • Most of the email marketing software solutions come with their own intuitive drag-and-drop message builder that you can use to create professional emails without knowing a word of code