What is a KDS? A Guide to Kitchen Display Systems
Restaurants are constantly updating technology to keep up with consumer demand. Think about it: wi-fi, table kiosks, online ordering—all of these features help attract more diners and drive the guest experience. A kitchen display system (KDS) might be in the background, but it’s a piece of technology that does more than placate guests; it will change the way your restaurant performs.
What is a Kitchen Display System?
A kitchen display system is a digital order viewer that replaces your paper tickets and kitchen printers. But that might be put too simply, because it also does so much more! Kitchen video controls the way food is routed, the way recipes are prepared, and monitors all of the data in the kitchen.
Benefits of a Kitchen Display System
A good kitchen display system improves efficiencies in the kitchen by managing:
A KDS allows you to send a group of items (table service, drinks, desserts, etc.) all at once. Coursing manager will manage everything for you. You can set up rules as to when your KDS system will display items in a meal, based on when they’re supposed to get run to the table. You can base it on timing, item id, etc. This ensures each item is delivered when it should be, with every item freshly prepared.
Delayed Routing and Meal Pacing
Makes sure all your items are ready at the same time. For example, if a two-top orders a grilled salmon fillet with a cook time of 12 minutes and well-done steak with a cook time of 20 minutes, the items will need to go on the grill at different times to ensure that they are hot when they reach the diners. You can delay items with shorter cook times to make sure everything is fresh to go to the customer.
A KDS will make sure that food is fresh and the right temperature when it arrives to the customer. Cook times will be managed to make sure food items with shorter and longer cook times are balanced.
A recipe viewer function will help you manage your recipes and procedures from one central location. You can quickly search for recipes and secure storage for your peace of mind. A recipe viewer will reduce the cost of training, call attention to nutrition and allergy information, and reduce paper waste from kitchen printers. Recipe viewers also manage quality control since the software usually includes images of what the end product should look like before they get ran to diners.
Basic Routing to Specific Stations
The KDS will route food to the appropriate kitchen station: grill, pantry, fryer, etc. Routing makes sure that food items are moved in the right direction.
A great kitchen display system does all of the above and:
- Adds even more customizations to support complex menus
- Uses routing modifiers or child items to separate views
- Manages priorities uniquely by station
- Load balances large kitchens
- Supports Bin levels of configured items
- Decreases waste
- Improves product efficiencies
- Provides up-to-the second communication with servers on item statuses
Features of a Kitchen Display System
Above, we’ve listed the benefits of a kitchen display system. Getting into the details, let’s look at how a KDS does it by starting with view types. A kitchen display system has several views to fit the needs of the restaurants that use it. You can use order views, item views, prep views, and order ready views for different situations.
This allow you to see the upcoming orders in a fixed or flex grid. Quick service and fast casual restaurants may use grid views, while table service restaurants may use order views at the end of the prep line or in the server area where orders come together for delivery to the guest.
You will be able to view the individual items in a line item or flex item option with item views. This view might be used in a table service restaurant where items are coming in rapidly and efficiently routing items to specific preparation stations is key.
This view type is used in a sit-down establishment to support table service plating times.
This view type is customer-facing and shows diners where their orders are in the kitchen, whether they’re complete or in progress.
What a Kitchen Display System Can do for Your Restaurant
As you can see, a kitchen display systems do more than just reduce the need for paper in a restaurant (although that’s a great benefit as well!). Every restaurant is unique, which is why a KDS is created to adapt to different restaurant needs. A KDS is often thought of as a solution for a larger restaurant, but it can be implemented in any size of establishment with measurable benefits. Whether you’re looking to decrease ticket times, increase customer satisfaction, or promote efficiencies in the kitchen, a KDS may be the right solution for you.
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About the Author
Shari McCauley is the Product Training Specialist at QSR Automations, where she focuses on educating employees and customers on the benefits and uses of QSR technology. You can reach Shari at firstname.lastname@example.org.