So… the GDPR is now in full effect. And, let’s be honest, the world hasn’t fallen over, has it?

Things have changed though – considerably. Most notably, the way in which you attract people to your restaurant’s mailing list will now be under closer scrutiny than ever before.

With that in mind, you might be concerned that the ability to continue building your list (particularly if you’ve seen a drop off since the ‘re-subscribe, please’ effort) will be in some way hampered.

The good news is this is far from the case. In fact, with the GDPR in place, we’re playing on a far more ethical playground, which means if you tow the line, you’ll encourage new subscribers to join simply because of your explicit desire to protect their personal data.

Here’s a few ways you can boost your restaurant’s subscriber numbers now we’re in GDPR country:

Build an event calendar and link your email marketing campaigns

Chances are, you’ll have an events calendar already in place. If not, it’s time to start building one from now until the end of the year.

Once you know what you’ve got coming up (typically, linked to public holidays, local events or new menu launches), you can link your email marketing campaigns to those events by scheduling invites ahead of time.

The more excitement you can drum up, the more likely you are to have your emails shared and new subscribers gained.

If you haven’t, start blogging – today

Have you started a blog for your restaurant website yet? No? Get cracking!

It might feel like a fruitless endeavour at first, but if you can publish a blog every week (your thoughts about the latest menu addition, or a review of a recent events night – that kind of thing), and add the ability for people to subscribe to your mailing list, traction will start to increase and you’ll stand a great chance of seeing a pick-up in subscriber numbers.

Come up with a forwarding incentive

Why should people forward your emails onto their friends and family?

Devise an incentive for spreading the word, and try and come up with something that won’t cost you too much, but which is of high value to your customers. A free starter or complimentary glass of champagne on arrival are great examples.

Send out free recipes

Ok, so you probably don’t want to be giving out your most important culinary secrets, but if you occasionally email out a recipe directly from your chef, you should find that email subscribers will be more inclined to forward your message to their contacts.

Remember – forwards often result in new subscribers, so the more stuff you can give away that adds value to dining with your restaurant, the better.

Encourage single diners

People do want to eat out alone. Be they business people, single people or those who simply want to get away from the family home for an evening of peace, single diners could be the key to raising your newsletter subscribers.

If you make it clear both on your website and via social media that you value single reservations, people might be more inclined to sign-up to hear about the offers you have available when dining alone.

Reduce those sign-up forms even further!

As part of your GDPR preparations, you may well have reviewed your sign-up forms, but we think you can probably go further.

Take another look at how much information you’re asking for. If it feels like too much, it probably is.

If your email marketing strategy is simply to get offers and restaurant news in front of potential customers, you probably only need their email address.

Wrapping up

All is not lost in GDPR land; your restaurant can still build a list of highly engaged subscribers, if it leans on the tips above.