How A Direct Mail Strategy Helps You Tell Your Restaurant’s Story

It’s a common facet in almost any household – a drawer or magnetic clip on the refrigerator, full of takeout menus. For some customers, these menus are the go-to option on those nights when they just can’t bring themselves to cook. For others, these are a reminder that a special meal prepared by a local restaurant can be just the thing to break up a busy week.

Whatever the reason, the main source of these treasured takeout menus is – you guessed it! – direct mail. Customers receive these handy little menus and other mailers directly in their mailbox, and then stash them away for a later evening.

But stocking up customers’ menu drawers isn’t the only advantage to a direct mail strategy for your restaurant. These assets can also help you tell your restaurant’s story, bringing a more personal and humanized element to your brand for your local audience.

Give Them A Taste With A Menu Mailer

The first asset that we recommend for our restaurant customers is the classic Menu Mailer. This product allows you to showcase the most important part of your business – your menu. And this Menu Mailer is always completely customized to reflect the logos, branding and images of your business. Visual menu mailers don’t just give customers an idea of the types of cuisine you serve and the services you provide (carry out, delivery, catering, etc.) – menus are also the perfect first asset for a direct mail campaign. Give your customers the complete picture of what you can offer them, alongside photos of your food that will feel so real, they’ll almost be able to taste your dishes.

Showcase Your Value With A Postcard

Once you’ve shown customers what you can do in your kitchen through a menu mailer, tell your story in terms of value through a postcard that includes a great offer, or discounted deal. Think about it this way: A menu will entice your customers and get their taste buds ready to try what you’re offering. Following this up with a postcard that offers a special value is what will get them through the door.

But don’t just take our word for it: According to the Food Institute, people visit restaurants much more often when they have a coupon in hand, and about 77% of all diners said they’ve used coupons at restaurants in the recent past. Overall, people with coupons dine out an average of two to three more times per month, compared to non-coupon users. And what about telling your restaurant’s story? Offering a special discount or value through a direct mail postcard that includes a discount or deal shows that you not only care about your customers’ tummies – you care about their wallets, as well.

Support The WIIFM Factor

One of the most important, but often most overlooked, elements of direct mail is the WIIFM factor, or “What’s In It For Me?” You’ll likely tempt a good portion of your target audience to give your restaurant a try with a menu mailer followed up by a coupon. But some potential diners may still be skeptical, and may need a little more of your story first. This is where the WIIFM factor comes in. Direct mail allows you to let your customers know exactly what’s in it for them through your direct mail messaging. Highlighting the benefits you can offer in addition to enticing their taste buds is an ideal strategy, but it’s important to put yourself in your customers’ shoes here. Instead of “we have the best pizza in a tri-state area,” try something like “Our unique flavors and fresh ingredients are something you can’t find anywhere else.” Your food is a rare commodity, and direct mail helps you showcase that.

Make Special Announcements And Target Your Audience

One of the best things about direct mail is that there are so many different products and programs to choose from, ensuring you can find the perfect asset at the ideal price for your direct mail campaign.

While things like menus and postcards are absolute classics, consider telling your story in other ways, through products and messaging like:

  • Postcard magnets that include a seasonal element. These are perfect for including a team schedule or other seasonal theme. Best of all, customers will keep these up for weeks, or months at a time – so your business is never far from your customers’ thoughts (and your phone number is right there on their fridge.)
  • Get their attention with plastic postcards: These are heavier and more sturdy than the traditional postcard, and will stand out from the rest of recipients’ mail. You can even include a pop-out key tag for a company loyalty program.  
  • Interactive products like scratch-off postcards. These assets are fantastic because they don’t just give your customers something to look at, they also give them something to do. Customers can scratch off a latex sticker to reveal an exclusive discount, or exciting gift. Best of all, assets like this make an impression, and help your restaurant to truly stand out.

You can also consider strategies like making an announcement with a postcard – say, for instance, you just joined a delivery app in addition to your regular carry-out options. Your customers will want to know!

Cater To Your Customers With Direct Mail

These tips are only the beginning – connect with us at Mail Shark today to learn more about how you can tell your story through direct mail. We’re happy to send you a portfolio of samples so you can see and feel our products for yourself.