How Can I grow my restaurant email database?
Updated: Mar 9
Knowing your guests is quite important in this industry as it allows restaurant owners to quantify and analyze data over a period of time. This enables restaurant owners to then collect more data and make better strategic decisions which in turn will increase the restaurant's revenue and profitability. The first step to this however is growing your restaurant's email database and Food Algorithm has compiled the best ways to do it below.
Whether it is a paid or free reservation system (yes they do have free ones) does not matter, what matters is that the reservation system allows you to collect guest information systematically as well as being very convenient for guests who may not want to risk the chance of waiting in line. Note that groups of over 6 guests typically reserve so if you like larger groups, this serves two purposes. Two important factors to keep in mind here, 1 - make sure to put the email as a mandatory field in the reservation widget and 2 - make sure that your staff take guests emails when taking reservations over the phone or in person.
Lead generators are a great tool to help you grow secondary profit centers (see blog post here) but they are also amazing at collecting data. Just make sure that the email field is mandatory and you will be able to collect the data of anyone making inquiries for your large groups, catering, corporate and sponsorship requests.
Wi-Fi Portals are devices and software that allows your guests to use your internet in exchange for their data. It is a win/win solution for both parties. There are different suppliers for this and the services go from simple data collection to full analytical reports, automated emails, review prompts and much more. Cost on these varies depending on which supplier you choose however Food Algorithm recommends Zenreach as it is the most complete service. Food Algorithm is also an official partner of Zenreach and as such offers Food Algorithm clients exclusive pricing not available anywhere else.
Whether using written flyer forms or digital forms with tablets, guest surveys are an integral part of collecting not only guest data but guest feedback. It is a very cost effective way of getting to know your guests as well as the impression your restaurant, staff and food quality is putting out there. The return on this minimal investment will surpass your expectations. Just be sure to train your team to make this part of their duties with their tables.
Contesting is an effective incentive to provide guests and potential guests with in order to obtain their data. The cost of a free meal, appetizer or dessert in exchange for hundreds of new emails is more than worth the return. We suggest running the contests either through social media or as a landing page popup on the restaurant website.
Newsletter Sign Up
This is a must for any website and can also be added to the restaurant's Facebook profile. It is free and great way to collect data even from people that have yet to visit your restaurant.
Business Card Bowl
This is a bit old school but it works nonetheless. You can also provide an incentive by doing a contest from the guests who leave their cards. Just make sure you have someone that can enter the data collected - we find that many people forget that step and that is just a waste.
This is also a tool that is utilized to grow your secondary profit centers and like lead generators, it can be used to collect data. Just make sure that the email field is mandatory and you will be collecting emails from anyone making online orders with your restaurant.
*Note for all data collected manually. We have clients that had over 10,000 unique data but was not being utilized as it was in business cards or on comment cards that had never been entered in the database. The best solution to enter all the information on the database is to schedule your hostess or another capable staff member to come in 1 hour before their shift and leave 1 hour after the end of shift. Have them use the extra 2 hours per day to enter the data, it is the best cost effective measure to do it. Once you are caught up, you can make this exercise a weekly thing.