The kitchen is the heart of every foodservice operation. Technology helps solidify the kitchen’s link to quality and service. Kitchen display systems have evolved rapidly in the digital era, becoming a key piece of foodservice facilities’ communication strategy. Simply put, a KDS, as it’s commonly called, is a digital screen that displays orders, replacing paper tickets and printers. But a KDS is designed with diverse capabilities to broadly impact a foodservice setting. Here are a few benefits of using one.
In today’s foodservice world—both commercial and noncommercial—technology is changing the way managers and staff approach the business and broaden their appeal to customers. Paper tickets are replaced with vibrant colors on a screen, easy-to-follow designs, clear text and high-definition images of needed dishes. Foodservice operators can pick and choose features they need, including recipe viewers, online ordering integrations and trackers. The latest displays organize orders for smooth preparation and speed up the meal-making process by using images to quickly convey items required for each order.
A kitchen display system lays out orders in an easy-to-read fashion, not in someone’s handwriting that might be indecipherable. Some foodservice locations, such as those at colleges and in healthcare settings, as well as some quick-service restaurants, have deployed multiple kiosks in their lobbies, in concert with traditional registers, to provide more access points for placing orders and keeping lines from swelling at the counter. Inputting orders electronically reduces errors, as orders are relayed directly from machines to the kitchen display system. There’s no middle person who may incorrectly interpret certain items, meaning fewer dishes are made incorrectly and less food is discarded.
Increased operations efficiency
A typical restaurant generates 25,000 pounds of waste of more each year, according to research by ChefHero. All of the collective waste in American restaurants amounts to about $162 billion in unrealized or lost revenue, the study found. Those numbers are likely similar among noncommercial foodservice operations, too. Ordering devices and display systems often tie into larger point-of-sale systems that provide real time and historical data on sales and projections, enabling managers to better manage inventory. By breaking down the numbers, they can track sales of certain dishes to meet demand and minimize waste. Operators and managers also can move food prepared in advance that may be lingering too long and at risk of going to waste by promoting such items through front-of-house ads, discounts and deal pairings.
Boosted employee morale
Restaurants and noncommercial foodservice locations invest a lot of resources on employee trainings to make sure they are prepared to succeed in a high-production area. However, because of the often-hectic pace of the industry and the need to get workers online quickly, training sometimes suffers. That leaves those workers leaning on others for help or looking to other means for making certain dishes properly. Kitchen display systems take some of the pressure off employees who otherwise might have to guess at handwritten orders, remember numerous meals and items on the menu and potentially make errors. Displays can help close such gaps by displaying pictures of customer-requested food, even enabling workers to tap images on the screen for additional detail such as dish contents and preparation and presentation instructions.
Enhanced customer satisfaction
Front-of-house and drive-through technology such as kiosks and mobile apps can enable customers to communicate orders directly to the kitchen and pay on demand. At quick-service eateries, units allow diners sitting at tables to place their orders through the device, which connects wirelessly to the restaurant’s main point-of-sale system and kitchen displays, sending their request directly to cooks. They don’t even have to wait for a server, who may be tied up with other tables or duties. Decreased wait times increase the consumer experience and help keep those diners coming back. The same situation can be applied in noncommercial settings; diners won’t have to deal with cashiers to place their orders.
With the overwhelming majority of orders now being electronic transactions, kitchen display systems help foodservice operations transform digitally and become more environmentally friendly. Paper waste related to orders is virtually eliminated. Kitchen display systems also eliminate the worry of missing meals and ticket backups by keeping everything simplified and in one place. That leads to chefs and cooks being able to spend more time perfecting the meals. With all the activity taking place in a foodservice facility, especially at peak periods, kitchens are ripe for problems to surface. It’s easy for back-of-house staff to get backed up without mechanisms to help the operation run smoothly. The ability of a restaurant to offer quick service and accurate orders is critical for delivering better quality and services to customers.