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November 27, 2018

Holiday Email Marketing for Restaurants: 6 Ways How to Get it Right

Email marketing graph on a notebook

For many restaurants, the holiday period, spanning from November to New Years day, is not exactly the most profitable time during the year. A decline in business is noticed by 61 percent of restaurants during the holidays (Chron).

With a little advice on getting your email marketing right can give you the holiday boost your restaurant desperately needs. 

Because who wants to lose money, right?

Let's begin.

1. Get Your Campaign in the Holiday Spirit

Everyone is in the holiday spirit and your restaurant should be too. A great way to show your holiday spirit is through the color scheme of your website. Change it to create a holiday vibe for users. The same goes for your email marketing campaigns during the holidays. Doing this will spice things up, people get tired of seeing the same emails.

Since many of you might not have the time or experience to build your own email campaign, it's always good to use holiday-themed templates. Some of the most top rated sites to use free email templates include Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue, and AWeber (TopTenEmailMarketing.com).

Ideas: Even though Black Friday doesn't normally apply to restaurants who ever said it can't? Get creative. When creating your email campaign think of something that will grab people's attention. For example, your email campaign could be spending less time in the kitchen and more time with family. Think presents. This could be selling your gift cards or gift certificates. Offer customers to celebrate their holiday party at your restaurant or even offer to cater. Many corporate parties go on during this time.  

Learn how Kulture Konnect helped a growing restaurant to email marketing success.

JFAT Email Marketing Case Study

2. Launch an Exclusive Holiday Menu


Sample menu image

Impress your customers who are already loyal to your restaurant by offering them a "secret" holiday menu and or a discount off your new holiday menu. Remind them that they are valued with by revealing special offers to them and only them through email marketing. This is compelling enough to make them pop in to take advantage of the special offers.


3. Create Urgency

Creating urgency within your holiday email campaign will boost sales (OptinMonster). Urgency promotes an expiration date that will encourage your audience to take action now rather than later, creating more impulse buys. Offering a limited time meal that only lasts for a couple months have increased sales by 332% for other restaurants (singleplatform).

An Experian report found that when urgency is created within promotional email, click-to-open rates increase by 14 percent. Transaction-to-click rates raise by 59 percent and overall transaction rate results are doubled (Performance Marketer).


4. Theme Your Subject Lines

An email's subject line is a deciding factor in determining whether users decide to open the email or not. In fact, according to Convince&Convert, 35 percent of email recipients will open an email based only on the subject line.

Take advantage of this statistic and the holidays. People are looking for holiday gifts, holiday recipes, holiday deals... holiday everything during this time of the year. Let your email play a part of the holidays, give it a fair shot at being clicked on with a holiday-themed subject line.

It can be as easy as dressing up your subject line with a holiday emoji. Including an emoji in an email subject line has proven to increase the number of opens the email receives by 56 percent (Campaign Monitor).

Users are going to pay more attention with a subject line that is putting a cute turkey or snowman emoji on display, since those are all items on everyone's mind during the holiday season.

Aside from emoji usage, you can just be more explicit about the holidays. It wasn't a secret in the first place, why treat it like one? Make your subject line mention the holidays. Here are some examples that did a great job at using this tactic: 

  • Story Bistro: “Thanks, Giving, and a Little Bit of Getting” 
  • Turntable Kitchen: get ready for holiday entertaining: recipes, cocktails, music recommendations.
  • UberEATS: Brr — warm up with some free hot chocolate
  • BevMo!: NEW for November! Delicious Wines for the Fall Season.
  • Food & Wine: 27 Recipes for a Holiday Cocktail Bash


5. Segment Your Contact List

Just like any type of following your restaurant builds, you want it to consist of genuine followers. This is no different for your email marketing list.

All the time spent into creating a brilliant holiday email marketing campaign will do your restaurant no good if it is going to be sent to the wrong kind of people - people who are not relevant to your restaurant and are not genuinely interested in your brand.

The solution to this problem? Segment your email listing.

Email list segmentation is a marketing technique where you take your list of email subscribers and divide them based on set criteria like, geographical location, interests, purchase history, etc. (Campaign Monitor). This is done to target only certain people with certain campaigns that will be relevant to them based on this information, creating better results for your email campaign.

Statistics show that it is best to try to segment email listings by interest, as it produces a 74.53 percent higher click rate than campaigns that are not segmented (Mail Chimp).


6. Test and Measure

Understanding the analytics is important. As a restaurant, knowing what the statistics are behind the strategies you are implementing will tell you whether they are working or not.

There is analytical software that you can use to determine these stats. Oracle Bronto, Mail Chimp, Campaign Monitor, and Sendgrid are a few examples of software that provide these services. The software will intensely breakdown statistics, revealing click-through rates for multiple categories (Smart Insights).

This way, you will know which emails are most successful in grabbing the attention of your recipients. Knowing this, you can try producing more emails that are similar in content or style since it performed well.

Using the software will better your marketing and statistics altogether.



The holidays are the perfect occasion to start actively seeking better click-through rates and a sales boost from your email campaign. They provide an excuse to be overly joyous within them and introduce new menus and promotions to subscribers.

Take advantage of the season by making sure your email marketing skills are in tip top shape to be able to produce the best results possible for your restaurant. Applying these tips to your email marketing campaign will get you where you want to be.

Learn how Kulture Konnect helped a growing restaurant to email marketing success.

JFAT Email Marketing Case Study

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