Back in November, OpenTable partnered with Locu –  the menu dashboard for local merchants – to let restaurants publish and edit their menus in real-time. The Locu-powered menus are displayed on the restaurants’ profile pages on OpenTable and are automatically optimized for restaurants’ own websites.

Now, TripAdvisor and Citysearch are the latest online companies to tap Locu to bring real-time menus, deals, wine lists and more, to their Web and mobile users. With the likes of TripAdvisor now incorporating menus from Locu, this helps join the dots between would-be diners and the restaurants they are actively researching on the site.

The power of APIs

Locu CEO Rene Reinsberg says they have seen “hundreds of publishers, developers and companies tap into its real-time repository of local business information,” since it made its API available last September. And with TripAdvisor and Citysearch on board, this can only grow.

“Menus are currency for our customers; getting them in front of their patrons is critical,” says Reinsberg. “These partnerships make it simple to go from dish to distribution. In addition to our existing services, Locu customers now have a complete, easy-to-use menu publishing tool and the ability to move to real-time menu updates, syncing online and offline.”

Locu’s main raison d’être is to reduce the cost and remove the hassle of of menu and price list updates, while helping local merchants build business through staying connected to existing and potential customers. Locu’s API gives developers access to a real-time repository of local business data, which comes directly from merchants using Locu’s dashboard at Locu.com, and its platform that digitizes and structures real-world content.

While Locu’s basic service is free to restaurants, there are additional features, services and support available for a monthly subscription. More than 10,000 local merchants have signed up for the service in the last three months alone.

Locu was founded by MIT graduates and is backed by General Catalyst Capital Partners, Lowercase, Lightbank, SV Angel and angel investors, and has offices in San Francisco and Cambridge, MA.