Smashin Crab 2023 Email Marketing Case Study - Embark Marketing
Restaurant Marketing, Food and Beverage Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Marketing for Restaurants, Web Design, Web Development,
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Smashin Crab 2023 Email Marketing Case Study

About Smashin Crab in San Antonio, TX

Smashin Crab, a local Cajun Creole seafood restaurant opened its first location in August 2017 in Leon Valley. Shortly followed by its expansion of two other locations in developing areas, Stone Oak & Alamo Ranch, Smashin Crab was determined to take San Antonio, TX by storm. Specializing in seafood boils, fried seafood baskets & “get your hands dirty” style dishes, Smashin Crab is known for serving fresh seafood with its secret Creole seasoning. For more information about Smashin Crab, please view their website and social media links provided below. 

Smashin Crab – Alamo Ranch
11975 Alamo Ranch Pkwy, Suite 110
San Antonio, TX 78253

Smashin Crab – Leon Valley
8910 Bandera Rd, Suite 305
San Antonio, TX 78250

Smashin Crab – Stone Oak
700 East Sonterra, Suite 1117
San Antonio, TX 78258
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok

In January 2023, Smashin Crab engaged Embark Marketing to help in increasing overall brand awareness and sales volume. Based on our initial analysis, we proposed the brand engage in full service marketing to include social media management, reputation management, meta advertising management, email marketing, public relations & website maintenance. For the purpose of this case study, we will be looking at Smashin Crab’s email marketing strategy, implementation & results for the first six months of service from February 2023 – July 2023. 

Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy 

In an effort to stay connected with Smashin Crab’s existing guests and drive more online ordering, and in-store sales, Embark Marketing recommended the implementation of an email marketing strategy.

Upon evaluation, we noticed that the restaurant was utilizing the third party email marketing program MailChimp to collect emails via their website. We also noticed the restaurant was utilizing Toast Point of Sale, which has the ability to track the customer journey as they visit the restaurant, collecting information such as their email address, frequency of visits, spending habits, among many other things. Once granted permission to access the client’s MailChimp & Toast POS system, we were able to get a better scope of their existing email database. Upon researching each system more in depth, we found that the restaurant had collected nearly 40,000 emails over the last 12 years of operation between the three locations.

Based on this data, we recommended alleviating the MailChimp program & transitioning fully to managing the email marketing through Toast POS. We recommended this because of the implementation of two email marketing capabilities through Toast POS, which has the unique ability to track the customer journey & sales attributions for each email campaign.

The first tactic we recommended was sending a unique monthly email blast at the beginning of each month to keep guests informed about menu features, special events & offers available at the restaurants. We proposed implementing this tactic immediately beginning in February 2023.

The second tactic was the use of the automated marketing features available within the Toast POS system, which are automated emails sent based on specific campaigns & triggers. It was recommended that we implement this tactic within the first 6 months of service.

We cover both of these tactics in more detail in the implementation section of this case study.


Monthly Restaurant Email Blast

The first step in implementing a monthly email marketing campaign within the Toast POS system, was to design an email marketing template that was reflective of the Smashin Crab brand. We took the restaurant’s branding guide and incorporated design elements from their color pallet, as well as their iconic “Crab Smash” icon.

Once the template was built & approved by the client, we developed communication goals for each monthly newsletter. These were pillars in which we wanted each email blast to be built upon. These included an informational approach that presented upcoming restaurant news in a cohesive, easily readable & fun way. Additionally, we wanted the layout of the email blast to be visually appealing in an effort to grab the attention of guests scrolling through.

Each block of information included a bold main subject line followed by an eye-catching visual image. Then a call to action button was placed at the end of each block to direct guests to take an action such as order online, or view the menu. These were placed with the intention of tracking sales of each guest who received the email blast.

From January 2023 to June 2023, we sent one email blast per month within the first week of each month. Each email included monthly campaign info, promotional offers (if available) and special event details. Results of the overall six month email marketing campaign can be found in the results section of this case study.

Restaurant Email Automations Using Toast POS

While Toast POS offers several email automation options for restaurants to utilize, we recommended the implementation of four specific automations. Each with a different strategy & goal.

For each of the four email marketing automations, we took a similar design approach, making each template slightly different from the monthly email campaigns, but still reflective of the Smashin Crab branding.

For the contents of each email automation, we utilized one block that included a visual element, followed by a condensed copy section that provided a short burst of information, and finally a call to action button.

The following four email automations were implemented at the beginning of May 2023:

Automation 1 = Welcome New Guests 

  • This email automation goal is to send a welcoming email to new guests who have signed up for the email club. As soon as the guest joins the email list, Toast triggers this email blast to be sent immediately.

Automation 2 = High Spenders

  • This email automation goal is to send an email to high spending guests who have spent on average $100 per visit. As soon as the guests spends over $100 at the restaurant, in the next 24 hours it triggers for the email to be sent.

Automation 3 = Thank Repeat Guests 

  • This email automation goal is to send an email to a guest who has frequented and ordered at the restaurant at least 5 times (so far). As soon as the guest has visited the restaurant over 5 times the email is triggered for the email to be sent in the next 24 hours. 

Automation 4 = Remind Guests to Visit Again 

  • This email automation goal is to send an email to guests who have not stopped by the restaurant in the last 30 days. As soon as the guest has yet to visit the establishment in over 30 days, it triggers the email to be sent.


Monthly Email Blast Results  

February 2023 

The first month we implemented the monthly email blasts, we noticed that each location had a separate online ordering URL, therefore, we developed a unique email campaign for each location that led directly to that store’s online ordering system via Toast POS. In total the three email blasts sent on February 10, 2023 generated $22,288 in sales. It was recommended that the restaurant implement a button on their website where we could drive all online ordering traffic to, but guests could clearly pick their specific location to order from, helping to condense the number of emails created per month. The client agreed & began working to develop this website button.

March 2023 

The second month we mimicked the same strategy as February since the online ordering button on the website was not yet available. A unique email campaign for each location that led directly to that store’s online ordering system via Toast POS. Additionally, we found another audience called “General” that had previously been hidden within the system. Therefore we duplicated the email & sent a forth email just to this audience with a generalized online ordering button. March’s email marketing campaign was sent on March 10, 2023 and resulted in $45,035 in sales.

April 2023 

In April, the online ordering button on the website was completed, which can be viewed online via their website here. Since this was completed, we were able to condense the email blast to one general audience, which helped to reduce the amount of emails sent, and give us a better overview of sales impact. In April, the monthly email campaign was sent on April 7, 2023 and generated $38,761 in sales. 

During the month of April, the Smashin Crab decided to do a special campaign for National Crawfish Day. The restaurant offered a stellar deal of 5 lbs of crawfish for only $35, which was well-below market price. Due to the nature of this offer, we recommended a special email blast just about this campaign targeted to the general audience. This supplemental email blast was sent on April 13, 2023 and resulted in $63,398 in sales.

Therefore in total, April’s two email marketing campaigns generated a subtotal of $102,159 in sales.

May 2023 

In May we developed a general monthly email blast campaign that was sent on May 4, 2023, which resulted in $21,413 in sales. However, Smashin Crab had another attractive offer available in May, which was a limited time special of All You Can Eat Crawfish running from May 11th to May 30th. Based on the success of the April’s supplemental email blast campaign, we felt this attractive offer may be well received as a second monthly email blast. This email campaign was sent on May 11, 2023, and produced $38,881 in sales, bringing the grand total of sales generated in May 2023 via email marketing to $60,294.

June 2023 

In June, we utilized the monthly email marketing blast to focus on Smashin Crab’s first ever Twist & Pinch Crawfish Festival where guests were able to purchase tickets for All You Can Eat Crawfish, Bayou Bread, & Crawfish Etouffee. This email blast sent on June 1, 2023 generated $20,942 in sales.

July 2023

In July, the main focus was to promote Smashin Crab’s crab special for Snow & Queen Crab, their new Happy Hour menu & the introduction of their monthly featured cocktail. This email blast sent on July 5, 2023 generated $33,281 in sales.

Automation Email Blast Results

In June 2023, Smashin Crab had seen enough proven results from the monthly email marketing campaigns to move forward with the implementation of the four recommended email automations within Toast POS. Below we’ve included a screenshot of the analytical sales data each automation has generated 30 days since its implementation. While currently the total sales volume generated between the four emails is $29,187 we expect this sales number to continually grow as new and existing customers are engaged.

Automation 1 = Welcome New Guests 

The Welcome New Guests email automation campaign that began June 1, 2023 generated $1,490 in less than one month.

Automation 2 = High Spenders

The High Spenders email automation campaign that began June 14, 2023 generated $13,615 in less than one month.

Automation 3 = Thank Repeat Guests 

The Thank Repeat guests email automation campaign that began June 16, 2023 generated $777 in less than one month.

Automation 4 = Remind Guests to Visit Again 

The Remind Guest to Visit Again email automation campaign that began June 14, 2023 generated $13,305 in less than one month.


Based on the first six months of email marketing data available to us via Smashin Crab’s Toast POS system, we have determined that the implementation of an email marketing strategy for the brand was successful in both tactics. The first tactic, which implemented a monthly email marketing campaign generated a total of $284,087 in trackable sales within the first 6 months. The second tactic of implementing four email automation campaigns, resulted in $29,187 in trackable revenue within the first 30 days.

Overall, this email marketing case study highlights two crucial takeaways for businesses seeking to harness the power of email campaigns effectively. Firstly, tracking the customer journey emerges as a vital aspect for success. By gaining insights into customer interactions with email communications, businesses can fine-tune their marketing strategies, tailor content, and deliver more personalized experiences, ultimately leading to higher engagement and conversions.

Secondly, the study emphasizes that monthly emails can be a potent tool for communicating special campaigns and directing customer focus. By leveraging the trackable source of a POS system, businesses can automate customer rewards and engage existing clientele more efficiently. The seamless integration of email marketing with automation facilitates a deeper connection with customers, boosts brand loyalty, and results in increased sales both in-store and online. Employing these key takeaways will undoubtedly empower businesses to drive impactful email marketing campaigns and achieve tangible growth in the competitive marketplace.