Simply put, API (Application Program Interface) is the software that allows applications to perform specific functions required for the whole system to operate. Open API, as opposed to private API, is publicly available for developers to access and create innovative applications that enhance the core product.
For example, when you open your Lyft App – Lyft’s open API platform integrates with technologies like Google Maps for navigation and Twilio for rider text alerts, among many others, to create a seamless end-to-end user experience. On the flip side, Lyft’s open API platform allows for third-party developers to integrate Lyft into their solutions. With the introduction of autonomous cars, car manufacturers and self-driving software companies are leveraging the Lyft platform and open API to integrate Lyft into fleets of self-driving vehicles.
As technology becomes more ingrained in how business is run – it’s imperative that business owners understand how technology can streamline operations, cut overhead costs, and drive sales. And restaurants are complex; from back of house processes to front of house customer engagement technologies, syncing the entire experience can be a challenge. And according to Hospitality Technology magazine, their 2014 Restaurant Technology Study found that "foodservice operators cite integration as a major business driver influencing their next POS upgrade."
That’s where APIs come into play.
Implementing an open API system is a key part of a customer retention strategy. APIs enable a personalized, seamless experience for the customers and allow for them to interact with your business in a new and unique way. By integrating customer relationship management (CRM) applications into your existing Point of Sale platform, your POS becomes more than just a place where a sale is made, instead it’s a comprehensive customer management platform.
Each integrated service can link together the customer journey: from capturing customer information and creating meaningful customer segments to deploying email marketing and mobile loyalty programs.
With an open API Point of Sale platform, you can bridge the gap between your front of house and back of house. The connective technology allows you to streamline your services from accounting and eCommerce to CRM, workforce management, and reporting.
This connectivity helps make sure that your guest experience and your back of house management are working together as opposed to slowing or hurting the quality of service. APIs are key to sharing data between different applications and aggregating data, meaning you can see your sales data in real-time, and push instantaneous menu changes or purchasing orders to optimize your FOH and BOH efficiency.
Restaurants need a flexible solution that can enable an incredibly dynamic business. Whether it’s a small adjustment to your item prices or you are franchising your business – it’s important that your technology is as nimble as you are.
Open API implies that your POS can host an unlimited amount of integrations, which saves you the time needed to find stand-alone innovative apps, hours needed to restructure your entire technology architecture, or nights on call with IT support.
Whether it be enabling mobile reservations, employing email marketing, or letting customers pay with ApplePay, these actions are possible thanks to APIs. APIs are the connective force between these totally disparate system and are critical for restaurants’ success.