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03/11/2021

RTN Corner: RTN Introduces Menu Synchronization Standard

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
Anna Wolfe  profile picture

Restaurant Technology Network (RTN) introduced its new Menu Synchronization Standard on March 9.

RTN’s Menu Sync Standard comes hot on the heels of RTN’s Open API Framework and its groundbreaking 8 key principles “that are the foundation on which we are building all these standards,” said Angela Diffly, co-founder of RTN on the March 9 webinar. “The menu synchronization standard is one of many standards that RTN is putting out.”

The Menu Sync Workgroup was formed in October 2020 and held 50+ meetings totaling 1,200+ volunteer hours. As many as 90 technology experts from restaurants and technology companies  collaborated to create the standard.

Our goal is that the industry starts to adopt, standard by standard by standard, so that we all can start focusing on innovative new technology development that each company is so good at independently,” said Diffly.

Menu Sync Matters

The RTN Menu Sync Standard is a time-saver, allowing restaurant brands to roll out menu updates to third-party platforms faster and more accurately. George Hutto, Senior BI Developer, Mod Pizza, said, "We are trying to keep that menu standard across a variety of applications -- between our stores, menu boards, kiosks, loyalty apps, online ordering and all the rest.  Each needs a different integration. If I can simplify that and do it as a 'one stop, press one button and all is good,’ my life gets a lot easier and my company can react more quickly.”

For Susan Lucas, CIO of Cooper’s Hawk, it's all about standardization across all channels.  She also shared a relatable moment from two weeks ago: there were three pictures different from the regular menu picture, and the wrong one got loaded. The menu sync standard will minimize maintenance and time-wasting errors like these.

There's an added bonus when dealing with third-party delivery services. All services have a different integration. “Sometimes their menus may not include all the elements I need for analysis,” Hutto explained. “So if I can be sure I have the same structure going to them, whether or not they use everything, I can still get everything back in a way that's digestible.”

A standard, single integration helps restaurants stand up new channels quickly, which is especially important these days as restaurants are adding delivery services and other new complementary technologies. 

“What we sought to deliver with this standard was to have a single integration,” said Christopher Sebes with Results Thru Strategy. “If everybody buys into the standard, there is no integration, just a seamless exchange of data and much less work to bring on a new channel.”.

Christy Trinkler, senior director of marketing for Trabon, deals with menu management on a daily basis and helped create the standard. "Our hope is that because the Menu Sync standardizes a common language to be used across the industry, the speed to integration will be quicker,” Trinkler said.

Quicker integrations benefit the industry as a whole and empower restaurants to add new channels quickly. For restaurants “it makes it easier for brands of all sizes to take advantage of this,” adds Lucas.

RTN’s Open API Framework and the RTN Menu Synchronization Standard are available online, click here to explore.