"Welcome" painted in black script on butcher paper
Email Marketing

Restaurant Email Marketing #2: The Welcome Email

Welcome to Part 2 of my Email Marketing series!

Missed Part 1? Click here to begin at the beginning. 

So the list building has begun. 


You’ve taken a step, even if it was just to sign up for a free MailChimp or Klaviyo account and install a simple opt-in form on your website.

I’m proud of you. 

The next task on the ol’ to-do list is to create a welcome email. The welcome email is an automated message that your email platform will blast out to anyone who signs up for your list. It will be the customer’s first interaction with your email marketing efforts, so we need to get it right!

Why do I need a welcome email?

When your subscribers hand over their email list, that’s when they’re the most primed to hear from you. They just signed up, so they’re expecting you to pop up in their inboxes. That’s why welcome emails have the highest open rate of ALL email marketing — 86% higher than your standard promotional messages. 

With that kind of open rate, we’d be bonkers not to take advantage of it. 

Welcome emails can also increase long-term engagement by as much as 33%. That’s because we’re going to delight your customers so much in that welcome email that they’ll get a little dopamine hit every time they see your name pop up in their inbox. 

What should I include in my welcome email?

First, an important note: while we refer to a “Welcome Email,” it could actually be a welcome email series, depending on how much content you want to provide in that initial automation. 

You don’t want your first email to your subscribers to be a novel. So if you have several points to hit — like delivering a lead magnet, a restaurant introduction, coupon, etc. — you may want to split it into a few emails, each sent out a day or two apart. 

So what should you include?

There is no one-size-fits-all welcome email template, no matter what the internet tells you. But here are some things that I’ve found valuable: 

Ask them to whitelist 

Whitelisting is simply adding an email address to your contacts list to keep it out of spam folders.

It can be as simple as saying, “Please add us to your address book so you’ll never miss an email!” 

Not everyone will do it. But even if only a few do, it can still improve your open rate in the long term.

Crush that subject line

We do a deep dive into subject lines in this blog post: The Easy Guide to Email Subject Lines. But for now, here’s what you need to know.

Your subject line has one job — to get the recipient to open the email. That’s it. 

That means it has to attract some attention. 

I am not giving you permission to write a click-bait title, or to make a promise your email doesn’t deliver. That’s a one-way ticket to Unsubscribe City, and it’s lonely there.

Funny is good. Clever is good, as long as it makes sense. Emojis can be good, too! 

But…it also has to be short. Like, real short. 

A long subject line will get cut off, which means all your clever word-smithing will be for naught.

Ignore your computer’s inbox — think about your mobile phone’s inbox instead. Nearly half of all emails (46%) are opened on your phone. So that’s what we have to optimize for. 

How many characters can you see on that tiny screen? Probably fewer than 40. So make that the max number of characters in your subject lines.

Give readers an idea what they can expect from you

This doesn’t have to be long. In fact, it shouldn’t be. 

But I’d suggest letting them know approximately how often they can expect to hear from you, along with the types of emails you’ll be sending. 

Something like this: 

Welcome to the Krusty Krab Kommunity! 
This is where we share weekly restaurant news, menu updates, and discount coupons with our most loyal fans.
As a thank you for joining us, here’s your 10% discount, valid through August 30th. 
See you soon!

This is pretty generic — it should be written with your brand and your customers in mind. But that’s the idea.

Include a CTA

This may be a “welcome email,” but it’s still a marketing email. So let’s ask the reader to take an action, shall we?

Your CTA (Call to Action) will vary depending on your goals. 

If you’re really trying to beef up your social media following for the upcoming wedding season, maybe your CTA asks readers to follow you on Instagram. 

If you want to promote to go orders, your CTA could send readers to your online ordering platform. 

Pick one. Just one. A single CTA can increase sales by 1,617%, according to marketing experts at WordStream. But less is more here, and extra CTAs will just muddle your message.

Add a picture or two

But don’t overload it. A bunch of big pictures will make your email slow to load, which could hurt future open rates. 

Pick one or two, but use the BEST pictures you’ve got. 

This isn’t a welcome email, but is that picture a winner or what?

Olive Garden email with long string of spaghetti

Ask for social media follows

This could easily be its own email in your welcome series. Social media is a great place for building connections, so it’s valuable to have your email subscribers follow you on more than one platform.

If you’re looking for Instagram followers, you may want to include more imagery here to entice them to click over to your feed. 

Send and tweak! 

Once you have your first welcome email set up, you’re done! 


Your email service will provide analytics like open rate and click thru rate (CTR). If those numbers are looking a little sad, your emails need some tweaking. 

A lackluster open rate means it’s time to work on that subject line. If your click thru rate isn’t where you’d like, maybe you need to move your CTA button further up the page, or update the copy. Little changes here and there can lead to big improvements in the metrics that matter.

So that’s that! Stay tuned for next week’s installment on email marketing where we talk about more email marketing content ideas! 

And if you’re curious about my welcome email…well, you know what to do. 

Header photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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