Individual Restaurants increases engagement through email.

The Highlights:


inbox placement rate


Open rate

The challenge:

Low engagement due to poor email deliverability.

Individual Restaurants wanted to increase engagement with their customers through email, but analysis revealed that the company was achieving low inbox placement rates, with only 10%-20% of emails reaching subscribers’ inboxes.

The company subsequently received complaints from guests saying they were failing to receive offers, which only worsened as their database grew. Furthermore, Individual Restaurants was unable to conduct in-depth analysis as their test mailboxes were not regularly used, which meant any results were inaccurate.

Individual Restaurants knew they needed to increase their inbox placement and engagement rates.

Email is the company’s biggest communication channel. The program is an in-built email system that services Club Individual—their loyalty lifecycle scheme which includes over 1.2 million members—and their core database of non-members. The mission of the marketing team was to drive incremental revenue by keeping guests informed on what’s happening within their restaurants via weekly updates and “What’s On” guides.

“Email is the most important channel for the company, so it’s crucial they are reaching our subscribers’ inboxes. Indeed, 50% of our sales are swiped on a loyalty card, therefore even the smallest push in communication and promotions to our loyalty lifecycle members can impact the company’s revenue. A prime example of this was in January, a time of year many of Individual Restaurants’ competitors are struggling, when we offered 50% return in points when dining. Following email campaigns promoting this offer, we saw weekly sales equal to those in December. Email deliverability in this case was crucial.”

Adam Purslow – IT Director, Individual Restaurants

The solution:

Sender Certification, list hygiene optimisation, and a re-engagement plan.

The process started by implementing a database cleanse exercise with Individual Restaurants to ensure their emails were reaching subscribers’ inboxes. This included a list hygiene optimisation program that evaluated the company’s list hygiene, assessed data collection and onboarding, and generated a re-engagement best practice and throttling plan.

The company also went through a rigorous audit as part of Validity’s Sender Certification program. The program provides benefits at major mailbox providers (MBPs) and filtering companies to improve the likelihood that emails are reaching subscribers’ inboxes. Once a brand’s IP address is certified, its emails are acknowledged as safe and reputable, leading to reduced filtering and better inbox placement.

The team at Individual Restaurants was also able to see, campaign by campaign, how users responded to certain emails. By having insight into their IP address status and inbox placement rates, Individual Restaurants was able to quickly improve and tailor their email strategy to improve subscriber engagement. The company was also invited to have regular meetings and calls with the Professional Services team to flag anything that could be done differently to further improve results.

“The great thing about our program now is that email deliverability is so high, which has led to record engagement levels and gives us peace of mind that our members are getting early access to promotions, offers, and invitations, which is what they signed up for. We are subsequently seeing increased revenue, improved financial performance, and much happier customers, which helps to ensure we stay at the top of our game within the hospitality sector.”

Adam Purslow – IT Director, Individual Restaurants

The results:

Increased inbox placement and highly engaged subscribers.

Individual Restaurants moved from 10%-20% inbox placement with a 5% open rate to a consistent level of 90%-100% inbox placement and a 15%-50% open rate. Complaints about a lack of communication declined and the company began to experience more positive responses to promotional offers.

In fact, the company’s “50% back” email campaign where customers are offered 50% off their next meal saw an uplift of 20% in both activations and usage, which equated to an additional £200,000 in revenue.

Individual Restaurants is one of the UK’s leading restaurant companies and is responsible for a collection of restaurants including Piccolino, The Restaurant Bar & Grill, Bank Restaurant & Bar, and Gino D’Acampo’s My Restaurants. The company is committed to serving seasonally inspired cooking and providing great service in superbly designed restaurants whilst priding themselves on their food, service, and people.