Dream Dinners Cooks Up Tasty Emails


Dream Dinners is the originator of the meal assembly kitchen franchise concept. They recognize that the modern family has a lot on its plate. To help bring families together around the dinner table, Dream Dinners provides an innovative way to prepare and serve delicious meals at home.


The Washington-based company was growing at a fast pace and realized they needed a way to reach out to customers to inform them of new menu items, special offers, and cooking tips. Dream Dinners franchise owners initially started using their own email system and downloading lists from a central database. However, pulling data from one source and trying to send bulk emails via Outlook led to too many bounced emails and not enough return. Both the corporate office and the franchise owners of Dream Dinners needed a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution to build the company brand and reach out to customers, encouraging them to book a session.


After researching various Email Service Providers, the corporate office of Dream Dinners chose VerticalResponse to handle their email marketing needs. They were immediately impressed by the list segmentation and list management capabilities and easy-to-use email creation service. VerticalResponse was an easy choice because it saves Dream Dinners time, which helps families save time.


Dream Dinners NLSince starting with VerticalResponse in 2005, Dream Dinners has been able to grow its email list and maintain loyalty among their current customers. The corporate office uses VerticalResponse to send monthly email newsletters to remind customers to place orders, offer special promotions and feature new menu items. Since the order process is entirely web-based, it is essential that Dream Dinners provide professional-looking and timely online communication with their customers.

Additionally, individual stores are able to use VerticalRepsonse to reach out to local customers. Dream Dinners encourages franchise owners to use VerticalRepsonse because they think it provides excellent value for money. Franchise owners are provided with three branded templates, including a
newsletter, advertisement and letterhead to inform customers of a grand opening or special event. Dream Dinners is able to provide a personalized look to the VerticalResponse templates with its own brand identity and colors on both the local and national level.


With VerticalResponse, Dream Dinners is able to manage its entire database and send professional- looking emails on a monthly basis. Management of the email database is invaluable to Dream Dinners because neither the corporate office nor the franchises have the bandwidth to take on this task. VerticalResponse allows Dream Dinners to organize all of its customers and contact them about local events and corporate news. In addition, the tracking and reporting capabilities that come with the VerticalResponse suite of products have revealed an impressive ROI. Ruthann Tobiason, Web Content and Communications Manager shared, “one month our return rate was around 12,000%. We have consistently generated $125,000 – 300,000 in revenue per monthly newsletter since we started in spring.”In February 2008, Dream Dinners launched a campaign focused on spending more time with the family, which was sent to 246,000 contacts. The open rate was over 23% with a click rate of almost 11% and a .4% conversion rate, generating over $175,000 in revenue. In April, they launched a Customer Appreciation campaign, which was sent to 225,000 guests, gathering a .64% conversion rate.

Additionally, Dream Dinners was among the first VerticalResponse customers to utilize the online survey function. Dream Dinners used the VerticalResponse online survey tool for their August “Best of the Best” menu and received an overwhelming response. They were able to segment their list to target repeat customers and the survey captured a 25% response rate. They hoped for 1,000 responses and received over 4,000.

VerticalResponse has helped spice up Dream Dinners’ marketing plan. Tobiason stated, “You shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to use VerticalResponse. It is a piece of the web marketing puzzle and without VerticalResponse, the puzzle doesn’t work. I have met many people who do not think they are in a position to take advantage of an email marketing tool, but as I continue to talk about VerticalResponse, the lights go on and they realize they can benefit from it too.”

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