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7+ Best Ways on How to Build a Restaurant Email List

How to Build a Restaurant Email List

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Restaurants, like many other industries, should leverage email lists to be able to increase customer loyalty and increase the amount of foot traffic!

An email list is great because you don’t have to rely on third party platforms or expensive advertising to bring people into your restaurant!

There are countless studies and research indicating that email marketing is the most affordable form of marketing!

Without further ado, let’s get into the best ways you can build an email list for your restaurant, according to our in-house experts that’s been in the business for many years!

How to Build a List for Restaurant Email Marketing (Ranked by Experts)

Utilize an Online Ordering System & Collect Guest Emails

An online ordering system doesn’t just help in reducing customer wait times and customer management, but can also be a great way to build your mailing list.

You can do this by having an opt-in option when your customers want to reserve a table, through a clickable link.

Online Delivery Platform for Restaurant Email List
Data before your customers sit down!

Take our platform, KlikNRoll, for example, which allows you to have an option for your customers to opt-in without much effort.

Many apps and platforms might not allow for customizability like this, but we’re able to do it because our platform is web-based and linked to your website!

Once they opt-in, you’ll be able to find your customer’s emails in our easy-to-use backend platform. Or better yet, you can have the option to import the list directly into your email marketing platform of choice!

You can also do this if you opt for having your own online delivery platform – through KlikNRoll. Platforms like DoorDash or UberEats don’t give you access to customer emails, but it’s different if you have your delivery platform!

If you’re interested, feel free to contact us using the button below to learn more – no strings attached!

Try Out Gamification Campaigns in Exchange for Email Addresses

Sample of Gamification for Restaurant Reviews
Encouraging customers to sign up for your email list through games!

Gamification campaigns are essentially using the elements of gaming to foster customer engagement with products or services – in this case, your restaurant.

To do this, you can opt for giveaways in the form of interactive games. For example, you can have a ‘spin-the-wheel’ sort of event in your restaurant where your customers can try to win a prize.

The attempt is already your lead magnet, as it tempts people to sign up with their email addresses.

On the digital front, you can try out giveaway campaigns whereby people can enter via their contact information like email address, name, and phone number.

Usually, giveaway campaigns will incur more initial investment, as the prizes have to be enticing enough for people to want to submit. However, you can mitigate the initial cost by fulfilling more marketing goals.

For example, you can also require participants to engage with your social media platforms, sign up for your loyalty program, or like certain posts for social proofing – on top of subscribing to your email list.

Keep in mind that certain platforms like Facebook (META) do not allow for promotions that require users to ‘follow’ your page or share the posts with their personal timelines.

Despite that, you can ask users to visit your page and give them a choice of whether they want to give your page a follow or not. You should also make it clear that your contest is in no way affiliated with the platform. Here’s a list of best practices you can follow!

Twitter (X), on the other hand, is a lot more liberal in their contest guidelines, which allows users to retweet, like, and even follow your account as a means to participate in your contests or giveaways!

Create a Lead Magnet or Discounts to Entice Your Restaurant’s Customers

The whole basis of collecting emails is to undoubtedly provide something of value in exchange for your customer’s contact information. However, here’s how you can do it practically by leveraging the ordering process.

The first way to do it is to brief members of your wait staff to tell customers that you have a campaign going on, where they can get a discount or maybe a free dessert if a member of the table opts to join your email list.

The other alternative is to nudge them to opt in with a voucher at the end of the meals when they’re about to pay. We like this method because it encourages repeat visits!

If you’re using a POS system or an online menu, include a field where people can type their email address in for a voucher or maybe a discount on the bill.

Have an Email Opt-In Option on Your Feedback Form

If you’re already giving out feedback forms, allowing your customers to opt in is another amazing way to collect potential emails.

Given that they’ve already dined in your restaurant, they’re more likely to be more receptive to giving you their email addresses.

Remember the basics, to get the most amount of signups, provide something of value in return, this can be in the form of a voucher that gets sent to their email right away, or maybe a discount code that they can use on your delivery platform.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, for paper forms, simply include a box where your customers can write their email address, or include a field if you’re using a digital form.

CSAT Customer Satisfaction Survey Form Template for Restaurants

If you aren’t already giving out feedback forms after every customer dine-in, feel free to use a sample that we’ve created above and make it your own!

Offering Free Wi-Fi Can Help Build Your Restaurant Email List

Email Collection Through Restaurant Wi-Fi
Giving free Wi-Fi has a very low CPA compared to other methods!

Giving out free Wi-Fi to your customers is also another fool-proof strategy. With the rise of flexible work arrangements, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely, regardless of the time of day.

As a result, you might be finding more and more people with their laptops out, especially during non-peak hours. To take advantage of this, why not offer free Wi-Fi and collect their emails for your list?

The easiest way to do this is to first include signs around your restaurant promoting your free Wi-Fi. As for the technical part, you can check out this guide on setting up a data collection page through your Wi-Fi network!

Collaborate With Food Bloggers & Influencers to Grow Your Restaurant’s Email List

Food Blogger Sample For Collecting Email Lists
You can think of food bloggers as people who run websites that talk about food!

Collaborating with food bloggers and influencers can be a great way to not only have more eyeballs on your restaurant but also collect emails as an objective.

First, let’s differentiate the difference between food bloggers and influencers.

Food bloggers usually run websites that talk and give reviews about food in certain places and restaurants. Influencers are typically social media stars in their own particular niche on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

As a restaurant, it’ll be better to target your users based on location – ideally in the same city. On platforms like TikTok, you can simply use the search function and type in “food influencer + [location]” and find relevant ones to collaborate with.

Food bloggers, on the other hand, will usually target keywords that people search on search engines on Google. This makes it easy as you can simply google “[Cuisine] or food in [location]” and click on the websites on the first page.

Usually, influencers and food bloggers are very flexible in their arrangements, and you can negotiate a deal to grow your email list.

We recommend tying this with the previous point about giveaways and contests, as these strategies go hand-in-hand! Here’s a guide by HireInfluencers that might be helpful.

Social Media Marketing for Email KPIs

Apart from influencer marketing and contests, you can also leverage social media marketing – particularly ads to grow your email list.

In the experience of our in-house performance marketing expert, Facebook, and Instagram ads are a great way to do so.

You can easily start by selecting your target demographics and interests – remember, you’d ideally want local people in your city that has the best likelihood to be loyal and returning customers.

Next, you’d want a nice-looking visual with your lead magnet on it. The key is to make sure your target audience can automatically understand what your ad is about in one glance.

A compelling voucher or promo code emailed to them is a tried-and-tested method to not only encourage opt-ins but also encourage them to visit your restaurant.

Advertise Your Email List in Your Menu & Receipts

QR Code to Opt-In Form on Menu to Collect Email List
A tried and tested way to get more sign ups!

A clever method to promote your email list is by featuring it on your menu and receipts, which is an underrated strategy. The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity – a one-time setup that keeps working for you.

Implementing this idea allows you to organically collect emails and reduce reliance on wait staff. The key is to incorporate a QR code into your physical menu and receipts, providing customers with an easy way to opt in.

Consider using tools like to track link clicks, enabling you to identify the most effective platforms for email collection. This tracking is invaluable for understanding where your audience engages most.

Tailor your incentives based on different points in the customer journey. For instance, offer a discount on the bill for those who scan the QR code on the menu.

On the receipt, entice customers with a voucher to encourage them to return for a future visit. This strategic approach ensures that your email collection efforts are not only seamless but also aligned with the needs and preferences of your customers!

Should You Buy an Email List for Your Restaurant?

In general, you should avoid buying or renting email lists, especially from sketchy suppliers. While you might be tempted to buy them, doing this defeats the whole point of an email list, where subscribers are on the warmer end, and more open to converting to your campaigns.

Rather than buying a list, you should ideally focus on building your own community of subscribers that will buy and convert. Quality leads not only convert better but also contribute to your branding.

No one likes unsolicited emails and your emails might be marked as spam by the recipient, which lowers your email score on most platforms.

The act of buying mailing lists itself is not illegal in most countries, but oftentimes it is illegal to send marketing material to people who didn’t opt-in.


All in all, there are a lot of ways to get more sign ups in your email lists and the options mentioned in this article is just the tip on the iceberg!

You can also try other methods like collecting them through catering an event or outsourcing to an agency, however those options will require more upfront investments – so bear that in mind!

If you’re interested in our state-of-the-art online reservation system or maybe your very own online delivery system, why not click the button to contact us for a free consultation?

Last Updated by December 28, 2023
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