The moment that UK restaurants have been waiting for is finally here.

Patrons no longer have to braze the drizzly British weather to enjoy a pint or Sunday roast. Instead, they can flock indoors for girl’s brunches, light lunches, and romantic dinners.

In fact, the UK restaurant sector is expected to grow by 32.1% to reach £11.7bn in 2021.

And with 52% of consumers claiming they are likely to dine out before June, it’s clear there is no shortage of eager customers.

But despite the excitement and positive outlook. Now is not the time for restaurants to get complacent.

Over lockdown, many restaurants became experts in communicating with their customer base. It was an essential part of keeping many businesses afloat. And whilst circumstances have changed, this trend needs to continue to keep customers engaged and build a solid future for restaurants all over the country.

In this blog post, we will explain how email can help restaurants do exactly that. And welcome back their diners with a fantastic customer experience.

Keep customers up to date with timely messages

Over lockdown, restaurants became the leaders in keeping their customers up to date.

Many were pivoting their business models, offering takeaway, and even ‘finish at home’ fine dining boxes.

But now is not the time to stop.

Times are still uncertain, so it is vital that restaurants continue keeping their customers in the loop. Is the restaurant open indoors? What are the opening times? Is there a sheltered outdoor area? Do customers have to order with an app?

Entering a restaurant in 2021 can feel like a new and sometimes daunting experience for diners. The rules have changed, and it’s restaurants’ responsibility to ensure customers know what to do, and make the dining process as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Reduce costly no shows with booking reminders

Part of this smooth process is keeping customers up to date with their bookings.

The days of turning up to a restaurant and instantly securing a table are long gone for many businesses. Instead, they are relying on booking systems to help manage the rules and regulations around dining post-lockdown.

For some diners, these systems can be unfamiliar. But restaurants can help reassure them by sending out notifications pre-and post-booking.

This can include a confirmation, a reminder, and a feedback email after they have dined.

And this isn’t only beneficial for the customer. But for the restaurant too.

British restaurants are losing out on £16bn annually due to no-shows. That’s an expense restaurants really don’t need in 2021. By regularly reminding diners of their booking, and giving them clear opportunities to cancel or reschedule, restaurants can work to reduce those frustrating no-shows.

Fill tables during key seasonal dates

With consumers being cooped up inside for months on end, they are ready to get out and celebrate.

Events and holidays are fantastic ways to drive footfall to a restaurant. Whether it is a specific event being held by a particular establishment. Or a national celebration such as Valentine’s or Mother’s Day.

Whether a restaurant is making a big splash for these dates or not, they can leverage email to use events and holidays for promotional purposes.

And if the restaurant is part of a chain, they can use dynamic content alongside geotargeting to identify where their recipient lives, and personalise their emails with promotions that are closest to them.

This could include promoting a special menu, discount code, or free glass of wine, for instance.

Create a loyal customer base who keep booking

VIP customers are important to restaurants.

They are loyal, they regularly spend, and they provide an excellent source of word-of-mouth recommendations.

But competition within the restaurant industry can be fierce. So it’s essential that restaurants keep their VIP customers happy.

Particularly as 74% of diners state that customer service is the main influence for deciding where to eat.

Email opens up a direct channel to achieve this. And the options are vast.

Restaurants can offer a discount code on the recipient’s birthday. Pre-launch their new menu. Or offer early bookings for events and busy periods.

Understand your customer better with data collection

Much of the above wouldn’t be possible without the correct data.

So if a brand doesn’t have significant data on their customers, they can simply ask for it.

If a customer is engaged with a restaurant, or if there’s something in it for them such as a discount code or freebie, they are usually happy to offer more data.

This could be in the form of a survey or questionnaire. And could include useful information such as birthday, dining preferences, and general feedback on their experience.

Not only will this give the restaurant more information to tailor their communications. It will provide them with essential insight to make the improvements and changes that customers want to see.

Asking for feedback also shows the customer that the restaurant cares about their opinion. And gives them the opportunity to input in changes that can also benefit them.

Win, win.

Are you a restaurant looking to improve the customer experience?

Then we are here to help you welcome your diners back.

At Pure360, we offer an all-in-one AI marketing platform and a Customer Success Team whose sole mission is to get you better results.

So get in touch today to find out how we can support you.