Restaurant API and Menu API: A Free Guide

With the widespread availability of third-party apps, online ordering services, and menu management systems, restaurants can easily access management tools that increase operational efficiency, ensure customer satisfaction and help raise their bottom line. However, with so many different systems at play, it can be difficult to keep track and ensure all technologies are working together. The solution can be found in a restaurant API, or Application Programming Interface, which is a software that creates a connection between two applications. There are APIs for a wide variety of industries and uses, but in the hospitality industry APIs are primarily used to connect your POS system directly to your third-party apps. 

What is an API?

An API allows applications to communicate data between each other. Think of it as a sort of protocol to get one piece of software to communicate with another. When you look something up on a mobile app, that app sends data to a server, which retrieves the data you’ve requested, and then translates that data back to you in a readable way. Every step between these actions involves an API.

Let’s say someone looks up your restaurant on Google Maps. The information displayed, including where your restaurant is located on the map, Yelp and Google reviews, and your online menu, came through a restaurant’s API. In fact, an API can connect that online menu straight to your POS, making transactions easy for your customers and efficient for you.

How much do APIs cost?

Many APIs are public, meaning that they’re free to use. They might have some security restrictions such as a limited number of times it can be accessed, but are otherwise completely open. Google and Yelp are a couple of well-known examples of open APIs.

However, restaurant APIs are much more specialized and can cost anywhere from $35 to $149 a month, per location. Fortunately, platforms like Sixdots offer plans to offset some or all of the technology cost by partnering with beverage alcohol suppliers on programming. 

What is a restaurant API?

A restaurant API is one that allows you to connect to any restaurant-related database or application and interact with that information. This could mean accessing data like: 

  • Online menus. With a restaurant API, you can update all your menus instantly whenever there’s a change. You can make sure you always have consistency with what’s listed online and what’s served in house.
  • Nutritional information. Integrating this with your menu means customers can search by ingredients without having to confirm with staff. That saves time and money and shows customers that they can eat off your menu safely.
  • Restaurant locations. Connecting your business to location data doesn’t just mean that people can find you. It also means they’ll see your restaurant when browsing nearby attractions, business hours, or even photos of your dining space.

In short, any part of the restaurant industry that involves digital data probably has an API you can use. 

Menu APIS

Menu APIs are a subset of restaurant APIs that specifically deal with menu displaying and management

For example, certain menu APIs enable you to turn your digitized menu into API-readable data for use on apps and websites. Other APIs provide automatic inventory updating so your menu and POS are accurate with your supplies. Having this information handled by APIs can make it easier to integrate with touchless technology like QR code-based menus.

As a restaurant owner, you’ll want an API that can establish real-time communications between guests, staff, POS systems, and third-party apps. Sixdots does exactly this by providing an API that can update digital menus, inject delivery orders directly into a point of sale system, and eliminate unnecessary labor, which allows staff to focus on service and avoid manual input from tablets. Best of all, it’s designed to grow with new and emerging restaurant technology so that you’re always connected. 

FAQs

What is an API? 

An API is an Application Programming Interface, which is a software that connects different applications so that they can access and share data between each other. 

What is an example of an API?

Any application on your phone that uses data uses APIs. If someone looks up your restaurant on Google Maps, the information that shows where on the map you’re located, what your Yelp reviews are like, and what’s on your online menu all come through APIs. 

What are APIs used for?

APIs have many uses in the restaurant industry. For example, integrating with third-party delivery apps, online reviews, or point of sale systems.

What is a restaurant API?

A restaurant API is a way of connecting to restaurant-related data or applications for business or guest use.

What is a menu API? 

A menu API is a gateway to data to be used specifically in menus, such as item photos, inventory, or nutrition information.

Are API’s free? 

Open (or public) APIs are free, although they may have a limited number of times they can be accessed over a period of time. However, restaurant APIs are much more specialized and can cost anywhere from $35 to $149 a month, per location.

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