This Week: Direct Mail Tips for Restaurants

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This Week: Direct Mail Tips for Restaurants

Learn How Direct Mail Increases Restaurant Revenues

Having been a guest at a recent hospitality Marketing and Operations Summit hosted by one of our valued partners, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, we were able to gain a lot of knowledge about the hospitality industry that we were previously unaware of.

One of the things that surprised us was how many private, family or individually run restaurants had little understanding of what a good direct mail strategy could do for their business, while many of the corporate chains and franchises were using it to their advantage.  So, with the following information, we hope to help restaurant owners and managers learn the benefits of a direct mail strategy which will boost their customer traffic and increase restaurant revenue.  And the good news is: It doesn’t need to cost a ton.

increase restaurant revenue

Why Use Direct Mail to Increase Restaurant Revenues?

Restaurants make up one of the largest groups of direct mail users out of all industries. Why? Because it is effective in getting new and repeat business. Restaurant owners are able to see positive, measurable results through their targeted restaurant direct mail campaigns.

More Restaurant Consumers Each Year

With full work schedules, who wants to cook at home anymore? Each year, consumers across the nation are spending over $700 billion (and growing) at dining establishments. Because of this, there isn’t much ‘convincing’ necessary since half the work is already done. What you will need to convince people of is to dine at YOUR establishment, and restaurant direct mail is a tool that has proven to make that happen.

Immediate Measurable Results with New Movers

Approximately 40 million people will relocate each year. Seeing how many of these people will try a new local restaurant once they have made the move, getting your name out ahead of the competition is ‘kind of a big deal’. Direct mail marketing is a great way to accomplish this. A postcard or brochure mailing targeted to your radius and demographic presents a fairly inexpensive strategy to introduce consumers to your restaurant.
Here is an example to show just how inexpensive this can be:
(prices are for example only, and can potentially cost even LESS per piece)

• 3 mile radius # new movers per month ............. 100
• Uniquely designed postcard w/time sensitive, 
  can't-pass-it-up offer & call to action .......... $1 each including postage
• New customers redeeming offer per month .......... 12
• Cost of obtaining new customer ................... $8.33
  ------------------- Let's take this a step further : -------------------
• Average spend per ticket with offer discount...... $30
• Profit per ticket on this offer alone ............ $21.67
Average annual spending per new customer returning x12 = $2,160.

$2,060 seems like a pretty nice return on a $100 investment, right?

As the owner or manager of a restaurant, your best chances to engage new movers are as soon as they have relocated. Statistically, 80% of new residents will redeem coupons from restaurants or merchants in their new neighborhood. Restaurant direct mail marketing helps you target these individuals and families to offer them your best deals the moment they arrive in your neighborhood.

With new residents moving into the neighborhood, restaurants will experience immediate results with direct mail. Deals with limited-time offers or discounts will get people through your doors instantly. New residents are always eager to explore their new surroundings, and you want your restaurant to be known from the start of their new residence.

Customer Retention and Maintenance

Restaurant direct mail is a great way to get and keep a ‘top-of-mind’ awareness with your repeat customers. By keeping your branding consistent and continually changing your mail offers – like sending coupons for discounts, weekly promotions, local events, and keeping customers informed of menu changes, your restaurant will become a familiar brand. As an advantage to sending tangible offers, you will notice immediately if customers are redeeming certain coupons more than others – You will see where your customers are mostly concentrated geographically – You will benefit from the ability to hone your mailings and maximize business from this tracking, and keep your marketing campaign on a consistent schedule for continual repeat direct mail postacard sample

Targeted Mail vs. Digital Offers Means Less Competition in Your Market

Having a good local search ranking is one of the best feelings ever, but it’s good to keep your targeted offers off-line. Direct mail marketing will minimize the chances that your direct competitors will see your offer details. Of course, there will still be competition in the form of actual restaurants, but this ‘secret’ provides a big advantage.

Importance of Mailing Persistently and Consistently

It WILL take more than just mailing out a one-time postcard offer to really get customers frequenting your restaurant. You will have to work to create a long-term direct mail marketing strategy involving your restaurant mailers which will put you in the position to engage repeat customers. Your first mailing should always include some kind of incentive such as a discount or coupon for free appetizers or drinks, and be sure to follow up on your subsequent mailings with a different but valuable offer each time.

Keep Your Restaurant’s Website Current

Bear in mind that many people who receive your restaurant’s postcard or mailer will visit your website before they visit your restaurant or place an order, so be sure to include menu information and how customers can find you, both digitally and on the map. Additionally, always include great-quality images of your best dishes with your menu and contact information, and be sure to provide online ordering if you have the capability, and a clear phone number in the same view as your menu if you offer pick-up or delivery services.
And keep it current.

Restaurant Direct Mail Tips and Tricks:

Magnets showing your restaurant branding are useful.

One of the best ideas for restaurant direct mail is to add a magnet. This is a useful gift that many people will appreciate and stick right up on their refrigerator or file cabinet. This keeps your name in their mind and your logo in plain view.

Unique graphic design will set your mailers apart.

Your mailer design is important. This is one of the details on restaurant direct mail that many people overlook. Take advantage of your direct mail company’s design service to help create materials that are unique so that your mail does not blend in with all of the other mailpieces that the recipient may receive.

Target, Target, Target.

Evaluate any specific groups and populations in your area and then work with your list manager to target these groups with your direct mail campaign. Are there many students in your area? senior citizens? millennials? Parents? Look at the targeted groups and hone your message to resonate with them.

restaurant direct mail image sample food

Give your customers a dining deal they won’t want to pass up.

Offer your recipients a great deal. Few consumers can turn down a sweet deal. If your mailing includes an offer they can’t refuse, your response rates will be much higher as a result. A higher response rate means more interest and bigger profits for your shop.

Offer deep discounts on new menu items.

If you have new items on your menu that you want to try out on the public, include great photos of these menu items in your graphic design, along with a worthwhile discount to come in and try out your restaurant to see what they think of your new menu items.

Bring back your past customers – frequently.

Offering an exceptional experience at your restaurant will always remain the number one thing you can do to keep patrons returning, so always be sure to include current and past customers with your direct mail list. Entice them with a special coupon for returning guests. Whenever possible, collect contact information for your diners to build your mailing list, because there is a good chance they will return if they have that reminder in-hand to spark their memory of a great dining experience.

Size matters.

The restaurant business is a highly competitive marketplace. Your restaurant direct mail is likely to be one of several delivered to your area. To make your piece stand out, go large.

An alternative to just LARGE is to make your piece an unusual shape with the use of die cutting. If you get a custom die made, you will pay more initially, but think about it – A mailer in the shape of your logo – or a burger – will stand out, so who gets the attention? YOUR restaurant. If your specialty is pizza think about a slice shape. Bar? Drink shape. The possibilities are endless.

Showcase your food with enticing photographs.

Few things, besides the word itself, shout ‘delicious!’ more than a good quality photo of a mouthwatering menu item. If possible, use a professional food photographer for your mailers. It will be worth every penny.

Restaurants are huge business and the billion-dollar revenue statistics prove it. Whether you are a gigantic chain of restaurants or a mom and pop business you can significantly improve your bottom line with restaurant direct mail.

We hope you’ve gained some insight on why restaurant direct mail works for establishments of all sizes, from Mom&Pop shops to Nationwide chains. If you are interested in learning more, or setting up a direct mail campaign of your own, please give us a call. We’re happy to help grow your dining room sales.



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In Memory of Mark Keefe


July 18, 1959 - March 15, 2018

Friend, mentor and leader whose legacy will be remembered. Time will never erase the work you have accomplished here or the positive impact you have had on our lives.


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