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Should Your Restaurant Get a Kitchen Display System?

Richard  Lansdale
by Richard Lansdale September 27, 2016
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Increasing the speed of your restaurant’s operations benefits everyone. Not only do your guests receive their food more quickly, but this also allows restaurants to maximize their table turnover and significantly boost their revenue. One way of achieving this efficiency is by implementing a kitchen display system (KDS) into your kitchen operations.  

This technology isn’t just for the larger restaurants, either. More mom and pop restaurants are implementing kitchen display systems and reaping the benefits as well. Others hold back because they worry over the potential headaches and downtime caused by installation of a KDS.  However, many managers will find that installing and adapting to a KDS isn’t a hassle, and that this technology is a worthy investment for their business. 

What Is a Kitchen Display System?

A kitchen display system is digital technology that makes communication between the wait staff and the kitchen staff much easier. They do this by eliminating the need for handwritten or printed tickets that commonly result in inaccuracies and displaying these orders on an easy-to-read digital screen instead.  

While there are many types of kitchen display systems, a typical KDS will include software, at least one monitor to display orders, a bump bar, and a controller. When an order is taken and entered into the point-of-sale (POS) system, the kitchen staff can immediately see these orders rather than wait for the arrival of a hastily scribbled ticket or one that needs to be printed out.

The Benefits of a Kitchen Display System

There are many advantages to using a KDS that make it a worthwhile investment to any restaurant—big or small. In fact, it can be hard to imagine life without one once you get a KDS up and running effectively. Here are just a few of the benefits that a KDS can provide:

Easier Order Management

Getting the wrong order is not only a waste of food and money, but it also negatively impacts a customer’s perception of your restaurant. With handwritten tickets, this mistake is more likely to occur because they are easy to lose and sometimes difficult to decipher. A kitchen display system streamlines the process so that, even during peak times, you can keep track of orders.

Better for the Environment

One of the latest restaurant trends is implementing environmental sustainability into your restaurant’s practices. With a KDS, you can eliminate the use of printed orders and save money that would have otherwise been spent on kitchen printer maintenance and supplies.

Improved Customer Service

A KDS allows you to improve your customer service in a few different ways. Kitchen display systems speed up the entire ordering process so that diners get their food more quickly. Some systems even display orders by the time it will take to prepare each item so that the orders come out at the same time. Kitchen display systems can help increase your restaurant’s consistency, and customers will greatly appreciate the consistent customer service.  

Data Collection

Kitchen display systems also come with the benefit of being able to easily collect data for restaurant owners. The KDS can keep track of the most popular items being ordered and even send out alerts when kitchen supplies begin to run low, and utilize your kitchen equipment in the most efficient way possible. When your restaurant is particularly hectic, this can be extremely helpful for keeping things running smoothly.

Which KDS Is Right for Your Restaurant?

There are many different kitchen display systems on the market to meet the needs of different types of restaurants. However, there are some things that restaurant owners will want to keep in mind before choosing a KDS for their restaurant:

Does the KDS integrate seamlessly into my point-of-sale?  Your KDS needs to integrate into your POS easily so that you can access information in real-time and see the status of your customer’s orders as they travel from the POS to your kitchen staff.

How reliable is this KDS?  Will the KDS hardware be able to withstand the conditions of the kitchen? Many kitchen display systems are manufactured to hold up against heat, but it is critical that you check the durability of the KDS before you make a purchase. Having a dependable KDS will help boost your revenue, while an unreliable KDS will hurt it.

Does the KDS offer technical support?  Many KDS systems are easy to integrate into your restaurant, but there is still the matter of future maintenance. When things go wrong, your restaurant can’t allow excess downtime to occur. Ask about the technical support that is available when you need help with your KDS.

Does the KDS offer everything I need for the size of my restaurant?  The price range for kitchen display systems range considerably depending on the size and needs of each restaurant.  For example, larger restaurants may have separate prep areas that will require a KDS in each area, which will cost more than a single KDS configuration. Others may wish to be set up with an iPad-based kitchen display rather than a KDS with a traditional KDS controller. No matter what your restaurant’s needs, make sure that your KDS can meet them.

Improve Your Operations with a KDS

Kitchen display systems aren’t just for big restaurants anymore. There are many KDS solutions out there that can help both table service and quick service restaurants improve their efficiency in the kitchen. Being able to deliver faster service with more accuracy can boost your revenue by continually satisfying your customers, making it a worthy investment in any restaurant.

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