3 Reasons Why a Restaurant Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a MUST for Organization
Never lose an order, cook up a storm in the kitchen and keep customer reviews positive
Your Kitchen’s Service is Just as Important as the FoH
While restaurants are slowly beginning to open up again and beginning to receive increased foot-traffic, none of this will matter if your kitchen is in shambles. Let’s face it, as eager customers finally get to return to their favorite restaurants, bars and cafes, they’re going to be swamped with options, deals and promotions that all vie for their attention. This means that customers will be less-forgiving because of the number of choices they have out there, and since the F&B industry has been hit hard, you can bet competition is going to be fierce!
Having great staff is one thing, but not empowering them to shine with the tools they need will severely cut down your restaurant’s ability to succeed. Restaurants are often much more focused on the Front of House (FoH) aspect of the business, since this is where staff deal directly with customers. FoH staff usually get the best tech like POS systems, mPOS systems, Queue Ticket Kiosks and more. However, when it comes to your kitchen, not giving them the right tech to succeed could hurt your restaurant. Losing track of orders and making customers wait or receive incorrect items will lead to poor reviews and fewer customers in the future. The time to act is now so that your kitchen staff will shine and be able to turn up the heat!
With this in mind, let’s take a look at three ways that your kitchen can improve performance drastically with a KDS system.
1. Paper is a Liability
We’ve all seen that anxiety-inducing kitchen with orders hanging on by a thread from what looks like a little clothesline. If even one of those orders falls off or gets lost in the shuffle, you’re going to have some very ticked off customers. No one likes to be kept waiting, especially when they’re hungry.
Even worse, your kitchen could be crippled if your ticket printer runs out of ink or has some sort of malfunction where your staff cannot receive orders in a timely manner. Just imagine all those orders backing up with nothing your staff can do about it. That would truly be a disaster!
Having a KDS, on the other hand, means that orders taken from the Front of House are delivered directly to a screen in the kitchen. Not only is this a faster process, but the information pertinent to each order is easier to read and chefs can even have a good idea how long each order has been waiting for. This can help kitchen staff prioritize orders and keep things running smoothly.
There’s also the undeniable fact that a KDS is far better for the planet than printing out ticket after ticket on precious paper. If you’re not really concerned about the environmental side of things, the cost of paper and especially printer ink (how can that stuff be so expensive?!) should be enough to warrant the switch.
Finally, there’s also the fact that eliminating your paper trail will free up your staff to better serve customers. Instead of having to manually deliver tickets to the kitchen, staff can simply punch in the order on a POS or mPOS as they’re being taken, and that information will be sent directly to the kitchen. In some cases, this might even mean you can fit more tables in your restaurant since your wait staff don’t need extra space to run back and forth between the FoH and the kitchen.
2. Communication is Key
Be it communication between staff and customers or communication between FoH staff and kitchen staff, paper is inefficient and slow. Your restaurant obviously wants to deliver the best experience possible for customers, but this will be almost impossible if there is no upgrade to modern technology – especially for your kitchen staff.
For example, if a waiter takes an order from a customer and the customer mentions specific things they’re allergic to, don’t like or would like to customize, this can be written down on paper, but when it comes time to print a ticket, including all those modifiers is nearly impossible. Most tickets, when printed, have a limited amount of space for modifiers, and then too, usually only support included modifiers. This makes it tricky to get customer orders exactly right when communication between wait staff and kitchen staff is so limited.
On the other hand, using technology to take the order and then sending it directly to a KDS leaves much more room for modifiers. Your kitchen staff can get all the information they need to make the perfect meal for your customers and it won’t require constant physical back and forth between FoH staff and kitchen staff.
You should also consider that sometimes customers may change their mind about an order they placed previously. Whereas a ticket cannot be changed once it is printed, and the alteration to the order may have to be handled manually, with a KDS this simply isn’t the case. Instead, FoH staff can simply edit the order through their POS and the change will be reflected immediately on the KDS. It’s that simple!
3. Impeccable Timing
For kitchen staff, timing is everything. There’s nothing worse than keeping a customer waiting or delivering a dish that’s been sitting about and is cold and underwhelming. This means that there needs to be impeccable communication between the FoH and kitchen, but this is pretty tricky with paper tickets. Usually, waiters won’t be able to take an order directly to the kitchen as they’ll be required to help other customers and maybe even take more orders on the way. This means the kitchen might get sudden influxes of orders, which would ruin their ability to time dishes perfectly.
With a KDS, wait staff can directly punch in orders as they are received, so kitchen staff can get a head start and begin prepping important orders as soon as they are taken. Not only does this save a ton of time, but it also eliminates the inefficiency of having kitchen staff waiting idly for orders before receiving a huge stack of orders from wait staff who have been busy collecting orders from hungry customers.
Another time-saving benefit comes in the form of how KDS orders are received. Unlike kitchen tickets which usually have the full contents of an order on them, a KDS system will automatically split up orders and send relevant dishes to their corresponding kitchen stations. This means that the head chef doesn’t need to worry if the right orders have gotten to the right station as the technology takes care of all that stress. With less to fret over, your kitchen staff can focus on prepping the best food possible.
With perfect timing also comes the added benefit of faster table turnover. No restaurant wants the burden of having customers waiting about for their food, growing grumpy, and all the while missing out on the opportunity to earn more money by getting new customers through the door. With better timing from your kitchen, your customers can get their meals faster, leave happy and full while you get to enjoy serving even more customers since tables are not occupied for as long.
This can be especially poignant for lunch crowds as they often face sharp time constraints and need to get back to work.
Every Journey Starts With the Perfect Prep
Making sure your kitchen staff are equipped with a KDS can definitely help prep your restaurant for greater financial success. Running an operation with modern technology, better communication and greater efficiency will almost certainly yield great results. At worst, your kitchen staff will thank you for simplifying their lives, and at best, you could see your restaurant thrive thanks to the addition of one simple and inexpensive piece of tech.