Frequently Asked Questions About CSK
How much does CSK cost?
The cost of ConnectSmart® varies from restaurant to restaurant and depends on the functionality and equipment you’ll need to implement the solution. We’d love to discuss your needs and give you an estimate. Contact us using the button below.
Will CSK have all of the features I need?
It’s very likely. CSK drives the back of house operations for everything from a one-station weekend food truck to a 20-station multi-level kitchen in a $25 million full service restaurant—and everything in between. There’s a good chance that CSK will already have all of the features your operation requires. We work with restaurants all over the world to create new features for CSK, which are released throughout the year in minor updates, and major releases are available annually.
What should I expect my ROI to be? How long will it take to recoup my investment?
There are a number of ways you can expect to achieve your return on investment with CSK. The ROI will vary for each customer and depends on your operation. Here are a number of ways existing CSK customers have found their ROI:
- Reduced spending on printer maintenance. A typical “paper” kitchen can have 4 or more printers, but many CSK customers have chosen to go completely paperless in the kitchen, which eliminates the high yearly cost associated with printers and consumables like ribbons, ink, cartridges, and paper. Other full service operations choose to retain a single printer for runner chits, which still drastically reduces printer costs.
- Reduced labor costs. CSK can help reduce labor costs in a number of ways. Most full service paper kitchens have an “Expo” or “wheel man” position that is responsible for managing incoming tickets, sorting and hanging tickets on the rail, and calling food orders to the back side of the line. This position can often be either eliminated or repurposed to another area, since the CSK system effectively and efficiently manages these duties. Additionally, various features within the software allow users to easily combine or duplicate kitchen displays, so you can quickly and easily accommodate a needed reduction in staffing, or changing volume levels in the kitchen.
- Reduced ticket times. CSK customers have universally reported reduced ticket times, which easily leads to lower turn times and increased throughput, especially during peak periods.
- Attention to special instructions. Special instructions that can often be overlooked in a paper kitchen are easily called attention to with CSK. This leads to higher guest satisfaction, quicker service, and fewer mistakes, which means an increase in return visits, fewer food comps, and higher check averages.
- Data-driven decisions. CSK can collect data that paper kitchens don’t have the ability to collect unless it’s through painstaking manual work. With CSK, you have access to real-time configurable metrics, allowing operators to react accordingly on the fly. The same data is archived and available in a number of formats including the CSK portal. This archived data lets the users do things like identify trends and bottlenecks, track labor inefficiencies, and reward operators based on kitchen performance.
- Better kitchen flow. With CSK handling the flow of food in and out of the kitchen, communication is easier, and the kitchen is quieter and less stressful. Operators report increased customer satisfaction for those seated near an open kitchen, better staff retention, and decreased employee turnover.
Will CSK work with my POS?
QSR and its products are integrated with over 65 point of sale solutions, so it’s very likely that it does. Contact us for a list of integration options.
I’ve seen kitchen display systems in fast food restaurants, but my restaurant has table service. Will CSK work for me?
Yes! Kitchen displays were initially developed for quick service restaurants, but QSR Automations pioneered the use of kitchen display for full service restaurants in the 1990s and it’s been growing ever since. CSK is currently utilized in 20 of the top 25 casual dining chains, along with thousands of other independent operators around the world.
I have a kitchen on more than one floor, how can CSK work in my restaurant?
ConnectSmart Kitchen’s customizations include the ability to load balance across multiple stations or floors if needed. Add zones to improve the expediting process in large kitchens AND control when those settings are in use with activity levels. Users can take advantage of CSK’s highly flexible routing options, such as terminal, destination, or table-based routing, to send orders to distinct locations based on their point of origin (or intended destination) within the restaurant.
What type of data is available through CSK Enterprise?
With CSK Enterprise, you can gather 100+ data points including speed of service and kitchen order statuses, all of which help you to make smarter business decisions.
Can I see my DineTime guest management metrics in the kitchen?
Yes, to make it easier for managers working in the kitchen to see what is going on in the front-of-house, you can display DineTime metrics on your kitchen displays; giving you visibility into items such as wait time and open menu counts.
We are a fine dining restaurant with highly trained chefs in key positions, how can CSK benefit me?
If your restaurant is using hand written tickets or receipts to manage orders, replacing them with CSK stations removes the expense of the receipt printers and tape, removes the possibility of tickets disappearing and still allows individual stations to only see the items they need to prepare, when they need prepared based on cook times. CSK also has an integrated TeamAssist recipe viewer. Anytime there are new kitchen team members they have easy access to every preparation step and the final plating requirements so your guests never know it wasn’t the head chef who put their meal together. Consistent product every time!
My restaurant specializes in unique customizations to menu items, how can CSK improve efficiencies?
ConnectSmart Kitchen has multiple configurations that can benefit this type of business. CSK can route based on child items and display those custom items on the specific stations. CSK also integrates with label printers which allow restaurants to print a guests’ name, the menu item with its customizations along with item indexing, item 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and so on.
What types of equipment do I need?
CSK needs a QSR controller device, a standard monitor, and a bump bar to function correctly. A touch screen display can also take the place of a monitor and a bump bar. While CSK is licensed for QSR hardware devices, there are suitable third party devices that may be used—although they may require additional licensing.
Please note that each station will need this equipment to run CSK, and while a typical quick service restaurant may only require 4 to 5 stations, a full service operation could require anywhere between 4 to 20 stations. We can help you determine the number of stations your operation will need when you contact us.
How difficult is it to set up or configure?
Our hardware is simple and easy to set up, configure, and maintain via our ControlPoint application. ControlPoint was designed to manage our kitchen display and guest management hardware, giving you a single tool to control all hardware within your restaurant, including third-party systems like point of sale terminals. QSR provides in-store and enterprise-level configuration tools to simplify the software configuration and deployment. Our product specialists and support teams can help you find the best combinations to fit your restaurant’s needs, and from there you can easily manage all information from the QSR Enterprise Portal.
What happens to my information if my system goes down?
We built a number of fault tolerance options into the ConnectSmart Kitchen hardware and software. The server application can be run on two different personal computers on the same network, providing instant real-time recovery without any user intervention.
In addition, the system provides a proprietary file level database backup of all displayed information. This way, in case of an event like a power outage, all screens are fully recovered automatically once your system is recovered. Station level redundancy is also available so that individual stations will automatically fail over to a designated backup station or printer.
Do I have to make changes every time I add a menu item?
Probably not. CSK automatically receives routing information, production times, menu items, and other data it needs from integrated POS software, so it rarely needs to be manually updated when new items are added.
CSK & Off-Premise Dining
Can CSK integrate with my delivery/online ordering partner?
Why is it valuable that CSK integrates with my delivery/online ordering partner?
With the CSK Enterprise integration, you can take advantage of such features as real-time kitchen order status updates, capacity management, and future orders; (hold and fire capability.) As a bonus, if you utilize the DineTime Platform as your front-of-house guest management solution, takeout can become a separate tab where you can manage your orders similar to managing a wait for dine in customers.
What is capacity management and why is it an important feature within CSK?
Capacity management allows you to successfully implement an off-premise dining strategy. When a restaurant is taking orders from within their restaurant, from their website and from third party online/delivery providers, the kitchen needs to be able to throttle orders based on the max capacity. With this function, you can provide all of your offsite orders with real time order quotes and not affect the orders that are coming in from your front-of-house.
Can I implement an order tracker with CSK?
Yes, with all of the valuable data that you can pull from CSK, you can implement an order tracker. Order trackers are typically part of your digital ordering partner’s tool kit. If you have questions about which partners we integrate with call (855) 980-7328, ext. 1 or email us at Sales@QSRAutomations.com.
I would like to implement curbside carryout, what can CSK do for me?
CSK can be configured to capture and display or print vehicle information from the POS or an online ordering partner. This can make delivering the order to the guest easier. If you use the DineTime Platform as your guest management solution, a custom tab can be added to capture carryout orders. The custom tab, along with full check detail, will display the guests vehicle information and the status of each item within the order. When every item is complete, the order will move to the top of the custom tab so a host stand team member can help deliver orders to guests.
What tools do you have for a fast casual restaurant with a heavy carry out business?
We have Order Ready Stations! ConnectSmart Kitchen can display a customer facing view with order numbers, guest names, the status of their order or all of the above. This is handy for pick up stations in the lobby or for guests in the dining room to visually know their order is ready at the counter.