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lead magnets for restaurants

Attracting new customers to your restaurant involves more than just mouth-watering menus and enticing ambiance.

Digital marketing, particularly the use of lead magnets, also known as a freebie, is a powerful tool to draw in potential customers.

For restaurant owners new to this strategy, understanding and effectively utilizing lead magnets for restaurants can be a game-changer.

And it all starts with collecting a customers email address.

The Importance Of Collecting Customer Email Addresses

Collecting email addresses from customers should be a top priority for any restaurant.

Why? Email marketing offers a direct line of communication to your customers, far more personal and targeted than general social media posts.

Yes, social media can work, but your competing against cat videos, family photos, and politics…with email it’s just you and your customer.

It allows you to build lasting relationships with your customers, keeping your restaurant at the forefront of their minds. With email addresses, you can send personalized offers, updates about new menu items, and exclusive invitations, all of which foster customer loyalty and repeat business.

And email marketing is cost-effective and provides measurable results, allowing you to understand better what resonates with your audience. In essence, having a robust email list is like having a VIP list of guests who are just a click away from dining at your restaurant again. It’s an invaluable asset in building a loyal customer base and driving consistent business growth.

But how do you get customer’s email addresses? That is where a lead magnet comes in.

What Is A Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet (your free offer) is essentially an incentive offered to potential customers in exchange for their contact information, such as an email address. The goal is to create a database of potential customers whom you can engage with through targeted marketing efforts.

Let’s talk about some lead magnets that work great for restaurants to build an email list.

5 Effective Lead Magnets for Restaurants

1. Exclusive Discount Codes

Why It Works:

Everyone loves a good deal. Offering exclusive discount codes as a lead magnet can entice potential customers to try your restaurant. Free guac? Sign me up!

Getting Started:

Set up a simple sign-up form on your website or social media platforms where customers can enter their email addresses to receive the discount code.

Tips for Success:

Ensure the discount is substantial enough to be attractive. Promote this offer across all your digital platforms to maximize reach.

Want to see this in action? Sign up for some of the big chains email offers and see how they do it. Without copying verbatim how can you mirror their efforts for your restaurant?

Software to use:

Canva to design graphics

Smart Funnel to collect email addresses

Kartra or Constant Contact to email discount code

2. WiFi Access In Exchange For Email

Why It Works:

Offering WiFi access in exchange for an email address is a smart move in today’s connected world. It’s a service that adds value to the customer’s experience while they dine at your restaurant, and in return, you gain a valuable contact for your email list.

Getting Started:

Set up a WiFi network that requires customers to sign in using their email address. This can be done through a landing page that appears when they connect to your WiFi network. Ensure the process is straightforward and user-friendly.

Tips for Success:

To ensure customers are comfortable with this exchange, clearly communicate the benefits they’ll receive by signing up, such as updates on special offers and events. It’s also crucial to assure them that their email will be used responsibly and in accordance with data protection laws. This approach not only provides a necessary service but also builds trust with your customers.

Tools to use:

Beam box for WiFi for password service

3. Birthday Club

Why It Works:

A birthday club offers a personalized experience, making customers feel special on their big day.

Getting Started:

Create a sign-up form for customers to join the birthday club and receive a special offer, like a free dessert or meal discount, on their birthday.

Tips for Success:

Send a reminder email a few days before their birthday to increase the likelihood of them visiting your restaurant to redeem their offer.

Software to use:

Canva to design graphics for sign-up

Smart Funnel to collect email addresses

Kartra or Constant Contact to email birthday club information

4. Exclusive Event Invitations

Why It Works:

Offering access to exclusive events can create a sense of belonging and exclusivity.

Getting Started:

Organize events like wine tastings, cooking classes, or themed dinners. Use these events as lead magnets by requiring an email sign-up for attendance.

Tips for Success:

Ensure the events are well-planned and offer a unique experience that aligns with your restaurant’s brand.

Software to use:

Canva to design graphics for event

Smart Funnel to sign up for events

Kartra or Constant Contact to email event details

5. Loyalty Program Enrollment

Why It Works:

A loyalty program encourages repeat visits and can turn a first-time customer into a regular.

Getting Started:

Develop a loyalty program where customers earn points for each visit or purchase. The sign-up process should collect their email addresses.

Tips for Success:

Make the rewards attractive and attainable. If you can, regularly update customers on their points and rewards to keep them engaged. Or even easier, send them email reminders about coming in and using their loyalty perks. You can make this easy, I promise.

Software to use:

Canva to design graphics for loyalty club

Smart Funnel to collect email addresses

Kartra or Constant Contact to email loyalty club info

Lead Magnets for Restaurants

Just remember, Lead Magnets are only ONE part of your restaurant’s marketing, and an important one at that, as it’s the gateway to your email marketing, what I like to call the glue to your digital marketing efforts.

To create your own Smart Marketing plan, take the Smart Marketing Quiz and see where your marketing is falling flat and exactly where you should focus to get the most bang for your buck. It’s free, easy, and eye-opening!


For restaurant owners venturing into digital marketing, lead magnets are a powerful strategy to build a customer base.

By offering value through these incentives, you not only gather contact information but also create opportunities for engagement and repeat business.

Remember, the key to a successful lead magnet is offering something that resonates with your target audience and reflects the essence of your restaurant.

Start experimenting with these ideas and watch your customer base grow!

Learn more about SMART MARKETING for Restaurants

Smart marketing for Restaurants

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

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hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

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Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + make more money. And I make it easy!

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

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