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From Painful to Practical: RTN Serves Up RFP Best Practices


The Restaurant Technology Network (RTN) recently published its Buyer’s Guide and RFP Best Practices: POS, currently available to RTN members as a cornerstone benefit of membership. The output is a result of over a year of collaboration with restaurants and suppliers in a virtual workgroup, whereby participants provided experience and expertise to produce a best practices document, complete with tips and checklists, to guide the industry forward. 

The RTN Buyer’s Guide  and RFP Best Practices helps buyers and sellers accelerate the procurement process by:

  • Identifing what constitutes a quick decision vs. full-fledged RFP process
  • Ensuring clear objectives for buyers and suppliers
  • Creating a framework to prioritize requirements
  • Increasing buy-in from stakeholders and executive teams
  • Defining clear communications with vendors
  • Simplifying the selection and proof of concept test process
  • Reducing complexity wherever possible

Most CIOs agree that RFP processes are cumbersome, time consuming, and complex, even for the most sophisticated buyers and suppliers. In fact, according to Joe Tenczar, co-founder of Restaurant CIOs, member of RTN’s Board of Governors and key contributor to the Buyer’s Guide, RFPs tend to be a CIO’s least favorite obligation. Tenczar revealed it can take dozens of RFPs before someone is totally comfortable with the process, and when RFPs are outsourced (which they commonly are), consultants may charge tens of thousands of dollars for the project.

“The intent of this guide was to present a framework for technology procurement, including questions to ask that may save you literally hundreds of hours and countless dollars,” commented Tenczar. “Since this document was co-authored by several technology solution providers, it provides value to both purchasers and sellers. It will likely save both sides a ton of extraneous effort.” 

Chris Heard, CEO and co-founder of Olive and also a key contributor to the Buyer’s Guide, agrees. “Understanding what your business truly needs and finding the right solution for it is a mammoth task that few get consistently right,” he told us. “The Buyer’s Guide helps to navigate some of the common pitfalls of the process, ensuring buyers are making strategic, data-driven decisions, as opposed to emotional ones.” 

Another key contributor, Niko Papademetriou, VP of major accounts and business development at Qu, believes the Buyer’s Guide solves two major pain points: ‘Where and how do I begin?’ and ‘What did I miss?’ Papademetriou told us his main  takeaway is the strategy around including, empowering and most importantly serving the needs of various stakeholders within your organization.

The bottom line? “The RFP process should be simple and streamlined for non-mission critical applications,” noted Tenczar. “While individual organizations prioritize certain systems, most companies would benefit from a normalized, clearly-defined plan, adaptable to specific needs.”  

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