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08/24/2021

ICYMI: Restaurant Technology Network Shares Benefits of Open APIs at Restaurant Tech Conference

RTN members explained the benefits of RTN’s Open API Framework and what APIs are coming next at The Spoon's Restaurant Tech Summit.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Restaurant Technology Network (RTN) took The Spoon’s Restaurant Tech Summit by storm on August 17.

The session, Recipe For Interoperability: Building Towards Open APIs in Restaurant Tech, was led by RTN co-founder Angela Diffly and featured RTN members Susan Lucas, CIO of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, Christopher Sebes from Results Through Strategy, and Robert Peterson with Oracle Food & Beverage.

RTN’s Open API 8 Key Principles

 

1.    Self-Service Sign-Up for API partners

An easily accessible, straightforward process to initiate the integration project, which may include automated product API access. This may include API publishers or subscribers.

2.    Public-Facing Documentation

Thorough, easily accessible public information about how to access, consume, and receive support for the API.

3.    Standardized Terms & SLAs

Easily understood terms, requirements and expectations across all levels of support and agreements.

4.    Testing / Sandbox Environments

Appropriate and easily accessible testing suites utilizing commonly available tools.

5. Extensibility, Enhancements, Flexibility & Updates

The API must be actively supported with an appropriate roadmap (including end-of-life announcements).

6. Pricing & Business Model Transparency

Pricing and business models are easily understood and predictable.

7, Validation and Certification

Business partners must be able to audit & verify connectivity and appropriate usage.

8. Re-Use of Best Practice Data

The API should use standardized data models across functions, where possible.

A webinar explaining the 8 Key Principles is available on demand here.

“Having this open API that's completely free of cost for the restaurant operator and the vendor means the operator is better off because they don’t have to build a specific connection between system A and system B,” Sebes explained.

The Open API standards go beyond communications between systems, they also address “how we’re going to do business,” explained Peterson.

Peterson and Lucas both pointed to two of the 8 key principles: the need for Public-Facing Documentation and Standardized Terms & SLAs. 

[The Open API Framework and the Menu Synchronization Standard are available online here.]

 

“It can be really difficult to understand what's out there and what's available, but if there's published information, I can look and see if this is going to work with what I have today,” explained Lucas. “This saves time on everybody's side.”

Now more than ever, restaurants need innovative tech solutions that can be up and running quickly.

“We always have to say innovation versus integration,” added Diffly. “You want to be able to plug and play faster … We want to pick the most innovative solutions. Our restaurant industry can't really innovate fast enough if we're mired in integration.”

Working Side by Side: Restaurants & Tech Vendors

“This is not about exposing functionality that may be proprietary to you. It's about exchanging configuration information,” explained Sebes.” And it's about being able to exchange transactional data so that if you want to communicate with a security system or a reporting system or a kitchen system, we can define what a transaction looks like. And you can send that data with complete confidence that the person on the other end who's listening is going to know what to do with that information, because they’ve adopted our API.”

RTN Workgroups, which are where tech vendors and restaurants work together to solve common industry problems, continue to address pain points. Customer Data API and Transactional Data API standards are both in the works.  

“And as always, we encourage anyone to come join,” said Peterson. Restaurant brands, tech vendors and consultants can all join RTN workgroups. “The more we bring to the table, the more knowledge we bring, um, it's, it's fantastic. And that's important. We need that.”

[Sign up now for the Transaction Data Standardization workgroup. The next meeting is August 31 at 2 pm Central]