Your kitchen staff is working hard, preparing orders for dozens of guests in the middle of your lunch rush. Despite best efforts, they miss an order and now tickets are piling up and your guests are hangry and checking their watches. Your front of house tries to keep everyone calm while your cooks are working double-time.
Sound familiar? If so, first of all: you’re not alone, these things happen. Second of all: your restaurant needs an improved order flow supported by a kitchen display system.
What is a kitchen display system?
A kitchen display system (KDS) is at its core a smart screen hoisted in your restaurant’s kitchen that tracks every order. Think of it as your kitchen project manager. Instead of relying on printed tickets, a KDS shows your restaurant’s current orders, including ticket times, modifications, and requests. Smaller kitchens work well with just one screen in a central location while larger kitchens benefit from two or three displays.
More than just a big screen, kitchen display systems help coordinate the efforts between your front of house, back of house, and back office. It keeps your restaurant staff happy and organized, streamlines operations, and collects data you can use to improve your restaurant’s bottom line.
What types of restaurants benefit from a KDS?
The short answer: just about every type of restaurant can benefit from a kitchen display system, from large restaurants with a huge menu to food trucks that need to stay nimble.
Kitchen display system for quick-service and fast-casual restaurants
In quick-service and fast-casual restaurants, guests expect to receive their food in under a few minutes. A kitchen display system makes it much easier to ensure everyone gets speedy, high quality service no matter if orders are placed in the middle of your rush or during that 3 o’clock dead zone. Since orders can be routed to specific stations, your team members always know what they need to be working on – and when.
Say you have an order for a fried chicken sandwich, fries, salad, and large cookie. The order is placed on your POS, then tickets are routed to your fryer and your salad station. Team members see the tickets pop up on the screen in front of their stations and get to work while your expo grabs a cookie. In just a few minutes, the order is completed and ready to be enjoyed.
A KDS system is especially beneficial for fast-casual restaurants that have a drive-through. Instead of juggling multiple orders flooding in at the same time, the KDS keeps everything organized and orderly so your staff just has to worry about checking off one item at a time.
Kitchen display system for coffee shops
People love their coffee and having a line out the door is a coffee shop owner’s dream – and might also be a little anxiety-inducing without efficient systems in place. Many coffee shops rely on a system of ringing up orders then labeling disposable cups with order details and customer name. Unsurprisingly, this creates an environment ripe for mistakes.
A coffee shop KDS improves this old-school process and increases your team’s efficiency. Orders are placed through your POS then routed to baristas who start brewing, foaming, and blending drinks. When orders are ready, baristas can label the cups while a text is automatically sent to guests letting them know to pick ‘em up at the counter.
Kitchen display system for food trucks
Restaurant food trucks are noisy and require military-like efficiency to reliably prepare accurate orders in such a confined space. With a food truck KDS, everyone will know exactly what orders are on deck and execute with laser beam accuracy – without shouting and confusion. Plus, with the Table Needs KDS, you can automatically text your guests when orders are ready instead of (more) shouting or having to physically track down a guest!
Why your restaurant needs to have a KDS
Sure, not having to worry about paper tickets getting lost, mangled, dripped on, torn, or otherwise destroyed is nice, but there are so many more benefits to having a restaurant KDS.
No more juggling multiple orders from multiple systems
Many restaurants offer multiple ways to place orders. Depending on the type of restaurant service you offer, you may have in-house orders, online orders, or QR code orders — all at the same time.
While the various ordering options provide your clientele with dine-in, delivery, and takeout options, they can make order preparation challenging for your kitchen staff. During busy periods, keeping track of orders when they’re flying in from different systems is especially difficult.
When you implement a kitchen display system, your staff won’t need to pay attention to multiple systems at once. All orders go directly to the screen, regardless of the order system used. No more juggling.
Tame kitchen chaos
Your restaurant kitchen probably gets a bit chaotic, especially during busy periods. Coordinating staff working on different orders or in separate stations can quickly overwhelm even the most organized kitchens.
With a kitchen display system, you won’t need to worry about staff confusion about current orders. Every order will route to the appropriate station or staff member with the correct modifications and notes, ensuring everyone knows what they need to be working on.
You’ll also benefit from the kitchen display system’s current order status detail. Each order will show whether it’s complete, in progress, or outstanding. You’ll also be able to easily track ticket times and easily alert your team when they’re keeping guests waiting too long.
Customers return to restaurants when they know the food is good and the service is great. Even better, they’ll tell friends, relatives, and strangers — allowing you to benefit from the best restaurant marketing in the world: word-of-mouth advertising.
With the efficiency of a kitchen display system, you’ll find your order turnaround is much quicker and more accurate.
You can also make menu adjustments based on the data your kitchen display system accumulates. For instance, you can monitor the time it takes to cook every item on your menu and remove items that are too complex to make during hectic periods.
Additionally, you may find ways to improve your cooking processes with the help of a KDS. For instance, if you can cut cooking time on a particular menu item by combining steps in a single station, you can make the necessary adjustments with your kitchen staff’s assistance.
Customers may get upset when they receive the wrong order or when they are missing something they requested. With a KDS, you’ll see improved order accuracy. Modification and special requests appear on the screen, ensuring your staff are all aware of their requests.
A kitchen display system can also improve the customer order retrieval process. Customers who order meals as takeout will receive a text message when their food’s ready with the Table Needs KDS. You won’t need to worry about your guests’ food getting cold on the counter — they’ll know immediately when it’s ready.
Streamline your order processes and improve kitchen organization with a KDS from Table Needs
While there are a ton of benefits, the two main reasons to use a KDS are to make restaurants more efficient and more profitable. Wondering what your perfect kitchen order flow should look like? We can help with that. Our experienced restaurant experts can work with you to develop and improve your restaurant’s systems to create more streamlined and more profitable processes.
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