What Is A Kitchen Display System?
In this day and age, keeping up with society’s constantly changing slang can feel like a bit of a chore. For restaurateurs who want to maintain a competitive edge, there is an additional need to stay on top of new foodservice-related tech terms and acronyms. If you’ve heard the term “KDS” floating around the industry and have found yourself at a bit of a loss, you’ve come to the right article! There is no need for the urban dictionary on this one: KDS is short for Kitchen Display System. These digital screens replace the need for receipt printers or handwritten orders (although some POS systems do still require a traditional thermal printer be used in conjunction with their KDS screens).
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What Is A Kitchen Display System?
It’s amazing just how fast technology can change and transform an entire industry. It was not that long ago that the thought of sending orders directly from terminals in the front of the house to thermal printers in the back of the house (BOH) would have been mind-blowing. This advancement has been a major improvement for many kitchens, especially when it comes to efficiency. Today, there is no longer a need for chefs and waitstaff to yell orders back and forth or for handwritten orders to be magnetically clipped to dirty revolving wheels. And while traditional kitchen printer systems are not going to be driven from the restaurant industry anytime soon, they are being enhanced and outshone by their much sleeker competition.
KDS screens are not a brand new concept. They were first utilized by franchises like McDonald’s and Taco Bell. (You know those beeping screens all the employees are always staring at while they throw together your greasy dinner? Yup, those are KDS screens.) While once this technology may have seemed unattainable for the masses, the advent of cloud-based Point of Sale and subsequent mass production of tablets and iPads have opened the KDS door for mom and pop operations around the world.
Kitchen Display Systems digitalize the order making process for those in the BOH. Instead of taking the form of paper tickets or verbal instructions, all orders are sent directly from the POS system to the digital screen in the kitchen.
There are many Kitchen Display Systems on the market today. Here are some basic features you would expect to see with a standard KDS:
- Meal Coursing/Coursing Manager: Group items in a course together to be prepared and sent out at the same time.
- Meal Pacing: The meal pacing feature allows the KDS to know the cook times of each item; it will alert the correct cook station when that particular item needs to be prepared.
- Cook Times: A KDS can manage cook times and helps ensure that food is sent out at the optimum temperature and freshness.
- Recipes/Ingredients: Staff can double check recipes, preparation procedures, and even manage quality control.
- Routing Capabilities: This feature sends each food item to the correct kitchen station.
Benefits Of A Kitchen Display System
- Environmentally Friendly
- Reduce paper and printer related waste
- Increased Efficiency
- Orders are sent immediately to the kitchen display screen
- Orders are sent from tablets or terminals and help reduce human error
- Mistakes made while taking orders can be quickly corrected in the POS system and will automatically update on the KDS screen
- KDS screens can be set up at each individual station
- When orders are completed in the kitchen, waitstaff receive notifications to come pick up orders and take them out to diners
- If a KDS has a grid option, kitchens can keep track of upcoming orders
- BOH Aesthetics
- Staff will appreciate the sleek modern look of a KDS system
- Reduce the clutter of paper tickets
- Order Tracking
- Track how long orders take to get out of the kitchen
- Many KDS systems offer color-coded ticket options for orders like the following:
- Late Orders
- Online Orders
- Voided Orders
- Paid Orders
- Reduce Cost
- Kitchen Display Systems may have a larger upfront cost but in the long run, they are more cost-effective than receipt printers
- Accuracy in orders can reduce food cost
- Insight Reporting
- Track how long it takes any given employee to complete orders
- Track average order fulfillment times
- Track the efficiency of shifts and staff
- Integrated Online Ordering
- Online orders automatically appear on the KDS screen and don’t require staff members to re-enter them into the POS system
- Some systems offer an option that requires a manager to approve all online or cash only orders before they are sent to the kitchen
Note: This non-exhaustive list of benefits may not apply to each and every POS system offering KDS features. Make sure you do your homework before signing any dotted lines.
Just last year, an industry report found that 73% of restaurants updated their technology in 2016. While a KDS system may not sound like a significant piece of technology, it has the ability to modernize your kitchen and raise your restaurant’s efficiency level. Many restaurateurs have already made the decision to upgrade their BOH operations.
With more and more cloud and tablet-based POS systems offering KDS, it is easier than ever for anyone to take advantage of these features. So what are you waiting for? I