Simply put, a kitchen display system, or often referred to as a “KDS,” is a digital replacement for paper tickets and kitchen receipt printers. Orders are sent directly from your restaurant’s point of sale (POS) to the kitchen display system and are placed in a queue, which is conveniently displayed on the screen for the kitchen staff. At minimum, this allows them to view what orders need to be fulfilled and how long it’s been since the order has been placed.
However, a kitchen display system does more than just replace a paper ticket with a screen. In a restaurant environment, kitchen display systems are incredibly useful at increasing efficiency and productivity in a number of ways:
First and foremost, a kitchen display system increases the speed of your operations. Rather than having a server handwrite orders and walk them back to the kitchen, or waiting for a printer to pump out tickets, a kitchen display system transmits orders as soon as they come in, so the correct prep station can begin working. Because multiple workers can view the display at the same time, there is no need for kitchen staff to wait for a ticket to be passed around before they can begin prep work.
In addition to increasing speed, a kitchen display system increases accuracy, which leads to better customer service and reduced waste. Any order modifiers are clearly displayed, so illegible handwritten orders are no longer a problem. Plus, you eliminate issues stemming from lost, misplaced, or hard-to-read tickets.
What is a kitchen display system doing to increase orders? Nothing, really. At least not on its own. But when you implement other channels, such as an online ordering solution, you can receive more orders than you could before.
The kitchen display system comes into play when figuring out how to handle these orders. Because it streamlines workflows helping to increase your kitchen staff’s bandwidth, it gives them more room on their “plate” to handle the influx. Increased speed means increased revenue. A kitchen display system helps expedite and prioritize orders, so your kitchen team can more efficiently prepare meals.
Kitchen receipt printers are an ongoing cost. These tend to require routine maintenance when printheads need replaced, and often, they can succumb to the frequent spills and high heat of kitchen environments. If the printers themselves are in working order, there is still the recurring cost of receipt paper and ink.
All of this results in costly waste. Combine that with food waste that can be created from order errors, and you are looking at a sizable price tag chipping away at your profits. A kitchen display system offers a better return because it not only cuts costs by reducing waste, but it can increase revenue by boosting productivity.
A kitchen display system is one of the easiest forms of restaurant technology to implement. Installation and setup can be completed in no time at all. If your kitchen display system is independent – meaning it can integrate with any point of sale and operating system – setting up the device will be effortless, and you won’t have to worry about any integration issues.
It’s important for restaurant owners to consistently explore new avenues for increasing productivity and streamlining workflow if they want to remain competitive. Restaurant technology has come a long way from its humble cash register beginnings. It continues to evolve, finding innovative ways to meet the challenges of the industry. One of the most prevalent challenges restaurant owners are facing is an unorganized, slow-moving kitchen operation.
So what is a kitchen display system? It’s much more than just a digital version of an order ticket. It’s an answer to the call for a more efficient kitchen — an essential tool that turns your kitchen staff into a coordinated, well-oiled, order-fulfilling machine.