Are you struggling to come with up with restaurant marketing strategies that work? Do you want to know how to get first-time guests to come back to your restaurant for a second, third or fourth visit? In this case study, we’ll share how one restaurant used a single optin to gain over 1,000 leads in less than four months. We’ll also share some advanced marketing strategies to turn those leads into repeat customers.

Meet Guido’s of St. Louis

Guido’s is an authentic Spanish and Italian restaurant located in the heart of St. Louis, MO. Insite Advice is a marketing company who works with Guido’s on the their restaurant marketing strategies. Alex Wolk from Insite Advice talked with us about how they’re bringing potential diners into the restaurant using OptinMonster.

Restaurant Marketing Strategies Using OptinMonster

Alex saw OptinMonster as a simple way to help give Guido’s existing restaurant marketing strategies a boost.

OptinMonster’s array of settings and optin styles allows us to vary our campaigns to fit the needs and preferences of our clients.

For Guido’s, the team decided to offer a free appetizer in exchange for an email address.

They did this using a lightbox optin, targeted to appear on any page of the website after the visitor had been on the page for at least five seconds.

restaurant marketing strategies: offer a free appetizer

They also used a MonsterLink in the header to ensure the offer is present throughout the site at all times. When clicked, the MonsterLink triggers the lightbox optin shown above .

Restaurant marketing strategies using a Monsterlink

Doesn’t that ravioli look delicious?! We can totally understand why this optin converts 16.74% of visitors. On some pages, it converts as high as 51%. This optin alone has added over 1,000 leads to Guido’s email marketing list in just under four months.

This optin enabled us to prove value to our clients in regards to growing, maintaining and utilizing an email list.

With thousands of subscribers on their list, Guido’s can easily fill their restaurant seats using email marketing.

Restaurant email marketing is a cost-effective way to promote your business: every dollar you spend on email marketing brings you $38 in return. According to an ebook from Gourmet Marketing, 70% of customers want restaurant coupons and are prepared to use them, so sending promotional emails is an easy way to grow your business.

Already using email marketing to promote your restaurant? If you’re looking for a clever marketing trick to get customers to return again and again to your restaurant, keep reading…

Facebook Offline Events to Retarget First-Time Restaurant Visitors

Using OptinMonster to encourage a first-time visit can be as simple as adding a simple popup like this to your website.

But what do you do AFTER they’ve visited to get them to come back again and again?

According to Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue, an expert in restaurant marketing strategies, if a guest has a great experience on their first visit, they’re 40% more likely to return for a second visit. If they have a great second experience, they’re 42% more likely to return for a third visit. And, if they have a great third visit, they’re over 70% more likely to return for a fourth visit. Your goal should be to get the visitor to return at least three times.

How can you do that? Use Facebook’s Offline Events to show targeted ads to visitors who redeemed the offer for a free appetizer.

Never heard of Facebook Offline Events? This great guide from Social Media Examiner about Facebook Offline Events will get you up to speed.

Facebook’s Offline Events allow you to upload a list of email addresses for leads who registered or converted offline. Facebook ads can be targeted to Facebook users whose accounts match those email addresses.

Restaurant Marketing Strategies: Facebook Offline Events

Here’s a breakdown of how this could work with your restaurant marketing strategies.

1. Show an optin on your website for a free appetizer, just like Guido’s did.

2. Once the subscriber converts, send them a welcome email containing your coupon, but be sure to use a merge tag to include the email address they subscribed with in the email itself. Every major email marketing platform allows you to add that information to your email templates. Here’s an example of how to use merge tags in MailChimp.

The subscriber will need to print this coupon and bring it with them to receive their free appetizer. If they forget the paper, but have the email on their phone, no worries! The server can simply write their email address on their food ticket to pass along. You wouldn’t want to punish a guest for not having the printed copy with them!

3. At the end of the evening, pass the redeemed coupons to the marketing director.

4. The marketing director does two things. First, they add each email address to a segment or group in the restaurant’s email list just for first time visitors. Then, they add the same email address to a Facebook Offline event audience that will be used to create a retargeting ad.

The ad can offer something like a free entree with the purchase of another entree. Remember, the goal here is to get them to a third visit.

facebook ad example for restaurant marketing strategy

5. The Facebook ad leads back to a unique landing page on the website that is only displayed to visitors who came to the site via the Facebook ad. If you don’t have the option to build unique landing pages just for this campaign, use a lightbox optin targeted to appears on any page of your site, but only for visitors who came via this Facebook ad. Do this using our query parameter rules. They’re great for targeting optins to PPC campaigns.

6. The visitor shares their email address and the second coupon is sent to their email address. Again, the confirmation email sent includes the coupon and their email address. When the visitor presents the paper coupon in the restaurant, the whole process starts over again.

Your marketing team can continue this process until the visitor has returned to the restaurant at least three times, at which point the customer is like 70% more likely to become a loyal, repeat customer.


Guido’s added thousands of leads to their email list using OptinMonster by offering a free appetizer to first-time guests.

  • Guido’s converted 16.74% of visitors to their site.
  • Guido’s added over 1,000 visitors to their list in under four months.
  • Guido’s converted over 50% of visitors on targeted pages of their website.


Restaurant email marketing can help you make sure your visitors return at least that many times. When planning your restaurant marketing strategies, plan one that brings diners back at least three times.  Once they’ve done that, they’re yours for life!

Our success utilizing the growth of an email list for one restaurant client has helped us land several other clients in that niche. We were able to double the size of one client’s original email list in less than a year, adding more than 4,000 contacts. For another client, we were able to sell more than $40,000 worth of product utilizing a loyalty program with their email list.
Alex Wolk, Insite Advice