The restaurant industry remains a competitive marketplace. With that being said it is now more important than ever that restaurant managers, owners and operators take advantage of the new tools that technology has made available. In this post we will cover the 5 tools you need to get ahead in the restaurant industry.

1) MailChimp

E-mail marketing is a great way to reach out to your hungry diners with new information or just to remain prevalent in their minds. MailChimp offers a free e-mail newsletter service to send up to 12,000 e-mails per month. You could send an e-newsletter with weekly specials or just reach out occasionally to remind your customers about what you do. Additionally, MailChimp has many built-in valuable features to help you connect with your subscribers like never before. Some useful features include “Subscriber Profiles” which provides you with some basic insight about your subscribers + a built-in “Analytics” area where you can view reports on how well your emailed performed in terms of open rates & clicks.

2) Square

Credit card processing can even be done at the table or even right at the time of delivery! Square is a mobile credit card processing tool that can be used from virtually any smartphone & is compatible with most Apple and Android devices. The swiper or ‘Square’ itself is plugged into the device’s headphone jack and credit cards can be charged via a free application. The processing fee is just 2.75% per charge which is pretty comparable to other credit card processors. However- Square provides you with more versatility and the ability to scan cards wherever; at a consumers home on a delivery or at the restaurant table.

3) Social Media

Social media is another tool that restaurant owners and managers should really take advantage of. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are all free and all serve as great opportunities to connect with your consumers. Restaurants can use Facebook to advertise new specials or use Instagram to post photos of them. Social media is a widely used marketing outlet that competitive restaurants take advantage of.

4) FourSquare

FourSquare [] is a location based application that can guide users to your restaurant based on their current location, previous restaurant visits and the visits of their friends. Your restaurant may already have a FourSquare listing but it’s a good idea to check the accuracy of it and provide any additional information as you see fit.

5) An Online Menu

Very often the first place consumers look when considering a new restaurant is online at the website, and in search of an online menu. An online menu added to your website is a great tool to have and can help you gain traffic.

Wrap Up

In order to remain competitive in the restaurant industry it’s important to take advantage of the tools available. The resources listed above can gain you more new consumers and more visits from current consumers with very little cost.