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RTN Recognizes Five Industry Champions at MURTEC 2024

Honoring the community’s members driving standardization, shaping the future for the restaurant industry.
RTN Industry Champions at MURTEC 2024

"As we embark upon the five-year mark, we’ve released a total of seven industry-defining technology standards, as well as a solid body of work defining best practices and technology guidance. None of which could have been accomplished without stellar key contributions from the industry’s most brilliant technology talent championing this work," said Angela Diffly, Co-Founder of RTN.

Workgroups are the keystone of RTN – where restaurant operators, technology vendors and consultants work side-by-side to identify and solve key industry challenges. At MURTEC 2024, RTN held its inaugural Industry Champion Awards ceremony, where it honored five members of the community who have been consistent key contributors to several of its technical guidance and industry standards. The following five have been recognized as RTN Industry Champions:

·       Steven M. Elinson,  Director, AWS for Services Sector, AWS

·       Robert Peterson,  Area Vice President, New Business North America, Oracle Food and Beverage

·       Courtney Radke, VP, Innovation, SageNet

·       Christopher Sebes, Restaurant Technology Strategist and Partner, Results Thru Strategy

·       Tim Tang, Director, Enterprise Solutions of Hughes Network Systems

"This work matters to the entire industry and thank you to them for leading the charge towards standardization and for shaping the future of restaurant technology," said Diffly.

Check out the slideshow below featuring the five Industry Champions.

RTN’s Restaurant Technology Industry Standards

In the five years since its launch, RTN has introduced the following technology standards, all of which can be accessed here: RTN Technical Documentation

  • RTN Open API Framework

  • RTN Restaurant Technology Capabilities Framework

  • RTN Restaurant Menu Synchronization Specification

  • RTN Customer Record Data Standard

  • RTN Transactional Data Standard

  • RTN Restaurant Technology KPIs

  • RTN Payback Comparison Tool

Working Together to Solve Industry Pain Points

Oracle’s Peterson is a long-standing advocate for RTN, Board Member and key contributor to all seven of RTN’s industry standards. "At MURTEC 2019, I attended the inaugural RTN meeting. I remember the room was filled with what seemed like every MURTEC attendee. We workshopped issues in our industry and overwhelmingly ‘integrations’ was the greatest pain point [mentioned]," Peterson said.

“I continue to participate mainly to honor my dad but also because it’s the right thing to do. My dad was very involved in his profession at the local and state level. He was a commercial and residential architect and gave so much of his time to grow his profession. When he passed, so many colleagues, students and residents of his home reached out to me to share their appreciation for his dedication. My dad was an awesome parent, leader and person. When he passed in 2020, I found my calling at RTN and I plan to dedicate my time, treasures and talents to making our industry a better place for all – because it’s the right thing to do and it would make my dad proud.”

AWS’s Elinson is also an RTN Board Member and leading force behind RTN’s industry standards. “I find that I am both personally and professionally connected to RTN’s mission, vision and values. I have joined, shared, and thrived with the community over the last five years,” he said. “At the heart of my involvement is the desire to champion solutions that can enhance the customer experience and increase operating efficiency for everyone involved or related to the restaurant industry, regardless of size or location.”

“It has been very hard historically for operators to integrate their disparate solutions, and as a former technology vendor I am one of those that made it harder,” said Christopher Sebes, Restaurant Technology Strategist and Partner, Results Thru Strategy.  “It is past time to let operators select the best solution without having to spend endless time and money to get the systems they want to talk to each other."   His favorite RTN workgroup to date --  Transactional Standards.  “A close second is the Customer Data Standards because it’s really an extension to the transactional data workgroup,” he added. 

Standards In Action: Real-World Use Case

At MURTEC 2024, attendees got to see the real-world impact of RTN’s standards. Fire and Vine Hospitality CEO Chad Mackay took the main stage with Zerrick Pearson, CIO of Five Guys and an RTN Board Member, to share how he successfully adopted RTN’s Customer Record Data Standard - and what it means for his restaurant. 

Mackay urged the industry to adopt the standards, in what he considers to be a best practice. “Let's be unique with our hospitality. Not with our data structures,” he said. “People have put a tremendous amount of work (into the standards). They’re ready for you to adopt.”

"Data is the new oil of the 21st century,” commented Five Guy’s Pearson. “We want faster, better access to data and the stories it can tell. It's a no-brainer for businesses to embrace RTN’s standards.. Let's get to work!"

[To learn more about this real-world case study, check out our coverage of this session here.]

Peterson also highly enjoyed the Transactional Data Standard workgroup. ”We spent the most time on it, and there is still work to be done. There is so much detail to uncover and document. It’s a very intricate puzzle and the main thoroughfare of all restaurant data. Every element of restaurant data spends part of its journey within the Transactional Data Standard Pipe,” he said.

For SageNet’s Radke, also an RTN Board Member, his favorite workgroup is a toss-up between Restaurant Cybersecurity Operations Best Practices or the Restaurant Technology Capabilities Framework. “From my intimate involvement with each, the time and dedication that went into putting them together and getting to share it with the community at MURTEC, it has been amazing seeing a community come together and doing things that haven't been done before. Making information easy to consume, easy to implement and operationalize is something that the industry has been missing, and I am extremely proud of what this group has accomplished." Radke said.

Hughes’ Tang has been a leading voice inside RTN since Hughes became a member in 2021. He points to the Restaurant Technology KPIs as his favorite. "With rising operating costs and labor shortages, restaurants must operate with greater precision. Restaurants routinely struggle with extracting favorable business results from their data. RTN’s Restaurant Technology KPIs provide a common dictionary for business and technical executives to discuss technology initiatives to improve profitability, elevate the customer/employee experience, and operationalize restaurant data," he said.

Looking Ahead

As restaurants continue to embrace technology, RTN’s work and workgroups will continue.  Sebes is planning to continue the Data Standards work when that workgroup reconvenes, and he also enjoys RTN’s AI Share Group.

Elinson also plans to contribute to the Data Standards evergreen group, and also the Restaurant Technology Capabilities Framework, Phase 2 workgroup.

Tang is currently involved with the AI Share Group, Restaurant Technology Capabilities Framework, Phase 2 and Winning the Customer.

"Our meetings are thought-provoking learning experiences for businesses of all sizes," Tang said.

Radke is also involved in several of the current workgroups. “It's probably easier to list the ones I am not involved with,” he joked. “I have loved the back-and-forth conversations on the AI Share Group, and jumping back into the Restaurant Tech Capabilities, Phase 2 has been interesting as well.”

“What amazes me most is both the long-standing members who continue to contribute their time and expertise to these workgroups, but also the injection of new people, new ideas, and new perspectives that will continue to ensure we are adding value to the restaurant community," Radke said.

Reflecting on the contributions of the RTN Industry Champions, “We thank them for leading the charge towards standardization and for shaping the future of restaurant technology. We could not be more proud of the leadership and talent these five Industry Champions have dedicated to our mission," said Diffly.


Get Involved in RTN

Learn more about RTN’s current workgroups here

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