The Restaurant Industry at Work: RTN Members Speak Up


At MURTEC 2020, the Restaurant Technology Network (RTN)  will celebrate its first-year anniversary by announcing milestone achievements and hosting MURTEC’s first-ever Start-Up Alley, as well as leading educational and networking sessions at the event.

Since RTN’s launch, the community has grown exponentially, with 100+ members, 13 Board of Governors members and 12 Vendor Advisory Council members. RTN has also launched four virtual think-tank workgroups into the market, including Buyer’s Guide & Standard RFPs, Third-Party Delivery, Open API Initiative and Security Best Practices. “We’re really excited about our growth, especially with restaurants, which make up the majority of our membership,” said Angela Diffly, RTN co-founder. “Even more critical, these restaurant members are embracing RTN best practices, technical guidance and industry standards - which means we’re affecting real, tangible change.”



What Restaurants Are Saying

Check out what restaurant members are saying about RTN’s growth and overall progress since inception:

  • “RTN has created a collaborative platform that helps restaurant technology executives succeed in the digitally disruptive age in which we live,” commented Wade Allen, SVP, CDO/CIO of Brinker International  and RTN Board member. “The cooperative output created by the RTN workgroups will dramatically simplify and improve not only our business, but the restaurant business as a whole.”
  • “You can’t beat the power of collaboration – with over 60 restaurant groups and 40+ technology partners, the Restaurant Technology Network is setting the standard for the industry across every major technology-driven dimension. The question is not, ‘Why should I join?’ but ’How can you afford not to?’” commented Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience Officer at TGI Friday’s and RTN Board member.
  • "We're looking forward to contributing to RTN, and embracing the standards and technical guidance the workgroups produce,” commented Gagan Sinha, senior director, IT retail store systems at Dunkin' Brands and RTN Board member. “It's exciting to be part of a community that's shaping technology for future generations of restaurants."
  • “RTN is not just another restaurant technology group,” commented Chris Andrews, CIO of Smoothie King and RTN Board member. “Influential leaders from some top brands and vendors are working to standardize our industry and make a lasting impact on our vertical. If you aren’t involved, what are you waiting for?”

RTN Workgroup Progress

Since RTN workgroups launched in spring 2019, they’ve averaged 24 members per session, with an all-time high of 97 members in one session, and workgroup participants have contributed a total of 4,500 volunteer hours from March - December 2019. The following workgroup updates showcase the progress of each: 

Buyer’s Guide & Standard RFPs

  • Created standardized definitions
  • Identified integration business requirements
  • Defining  RFP 101 Best Practices


Third-Party Delivery

  • Identified business requirements, partners, systems & scope of integrations required
  • Listed key data for system communications
  • Developing  Industry Standard for Menu Sync


Open API Initiative

  • Developed key tenants for industry-wide open API framework
  • Built data dictionary
  • Developing Best Practices for Open APIs


Security Best Practices

  • Identified key data restaurants should catalog, track & control 
  • Tapped CCPA Expert Speaker for Q&A


RTN Workgroup Leaders Speak Out

Some may question how the workgroups really work, and how tasks  get done on virtual calls where several voices, often competitive in nature, are represented. It’s largely due to a strong lead and active participation towards finding consensus around things that can move us forward faster (rather than sharing “secret sauce”). Patrick Dunphy, CIO of HTNG and embedded RTN workgroup facilitator, executes the workgroups and keeps everyone on course, guided by a workgroup-generated charter. Volunteers are assigned to micro-tasks, and the work is then presented by each group during the following session. Once the charter, cadence and flow are established, workgroup participants grow accustomed to the format. Volunteers come in and out of the workgroups at will, which allows everyone to participate, contribute and collaborate as schedules permit and as much or as little as they feel is appropriate given their level of expertise and familiarity with the topic. 

Here’s what the workgroup leaders are saying about the process:

  • "The restaurant industry has been inundated with demand for new technology adoption,” said Mike Wior, CEO, Omnivore and leading voice in RTN’s Open API Initiative workgroup. “Restaurants everywhere are struggling to facilitate and maintain these changes due to a lack of standardization and access to open APIs. The volunteers at RTN are doing the incredibly difficult but necessary work to directly address these issues, and for the first time put restaurants in a position to flourish in an exciting and constantly evolving digital future."
  • “I am so pleased that RTN is taking a leadership role in bringing all the players together, and helping to create an API that will benefit customers, restaurant operators, and vendors equally," commented Christopher Sebes, restaurant technology strategist at Results Thru Strategy and leading voice in RTN's workgroups. "This is the first of many improvements that RTN will spearhead, and I am proud to be a member.”
  • "It is exciting to participate in the formation of these long overdue industry standards.  This is the work that matters, supporting our industry and working with peers to create something bigger than ourselves,” commented Paul Burchard, VP, enterprise sales at Chowly and leading voice in RTN’s Open API Initiative workgroup.
  • “Data clarity and accessibility are vital factors for improving the guest experience around third-party delivery,” said Joshua Nord, VP, software development at QSR Automations and leading voice in RTN’s Third-Party Delivery workgroup.  “It’s so rewarding to be part of a diverse group working to build specifications and tools that vendors and restaurant operators can use to leverage data and integrations, to improve their position in the market.” 
  • “RTN and the API initiative group have brought together brands and critical vendors to help establish a set of standards to improve integration opportunities. It’s exciting to have the support of the vendors to keep technology a strength in restaurants at a time of uncertainty and disruption. This is a great example of together we win,” commented Marina O’Rourke, Restaurant Technology Executive and leading voice in RTN’s Open API Initiative workgroup. 
  • "The RTN workgroups have offered me the opportunity to work collaboratively with top restaurant operators and technology vendors,” offered Joe Tenczar, co-founder of Restaurant CIOs and leading voice in RTN’s Buyer’s Guide & RFP workgroup. “Together we're able to share ideas and viewpoints that can shape the future of the restaurant industry.  There is so much contribution from both sides by people I truly respect. The workgroups' collaborative and guided thought processes are already producing amazing results."
  • "Kudos to RTN for creating a neutral environment where brand partner and solution providers are making great progress in removing the long overdue roadblock of siloed data. I'm delighted to be involved with developing the industry's first Open API standard to drive tech sophistication among guests, brand partners and solution providers," commented Robert Peterson, VP of sales for Qu and leading voice in RTN's Open API Initiative workgroup.

Restaurants & RTN Membership: Join Today

We want joining RTN to be a no-brainer for restaurants of all sizes. This is a place where restaurants can have a collective voice that’s stronger than any one alone. All we ask is your time, participation and expertise in the community. In exchange, you and your entire organization will have access to the workgroups and workgroup content as it is published. Restaurants seamless sign-up form:

Suppliers & RTN Membership: Join Today

There are various levels of membership for our supplier community, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Start-Up. To learn more, fill out a form on our website, or simply contact your account sales representative for Hospitality Technology.


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