We are seeing more and more digital tools appear in restaurants: delivery apps, kiosks, click and collect websites, ordering by QR code, payment apps, etc.
Among them, the Kitchen Display System (or KDS), is an increasingly common tool in fast food kitchens. It’s a system that comes from the United States and the fast food world. It is not known to the general public because it is invisible to your customers. And yet it is of paramount importance because it greatly improves the productivity of your employees in the kitchen! We are going to see what a KDS is used for and why it has become the essential tool for kitchens today.
Table of Contents
What is a Kitchen Display System?
A KDS is a system that displays and manages the preparation of restaurant orders on screens.
To put it simply, the KDS replaces the paper ticket system. The orders appear on touch screens that are installed in the kitchen, at the counter and possibly in the dining room. There may be several screens in the kitchen, one per workstation, for example. Orders automatically appear on the screens as they are received. Orders can include the following information, for example:
- The list of items to prepare, and their status (ready or in progress)
- Type of order (takeout, delivery, eat in)
- The expected time of the order with a timer
- The overall status of the order (new, in preparation, ready, etc)
What are the benefits of a Kitchen Display System?
Using a Kitchen Display System in the kitchen will bring you 3 benefits that you will love.
Let’s take the case of a customer who orders on Uber Eats. As soon as they finalizes their order, presto! It appears immediately on a touch screen in the kitchen. The production will be done in absolute calm. The person in the kitchen will be able to anticipate their preparations and the volume of orders to prepare.
With the heat, paper tickets in the kitchen can tend to fade. Paper is also a greater risk of error or loss. By using a KDS, you will no longer be able to make mistakes in the production of your orders and you will no longer need to organize your paper tickets in the kitchen. Therefore, it is a huge stress relief!
A time saver
Do your customers want to get their order as quickly as possible? You must optimize the smallest task that is too time-consuming to save a few seconds of time for each command. Using a Kitchen Display System will really simplify the time management of your teams, because you will be able to automate tasks.
What is the feature of a KDS?
All KDS are not necessarily equal, because they do not all have the same level of functionality. It is therefore very important to be able to test them to see what best meets your needs.
Here is a list of 10 features that you can find in a Kitchen Display System.
- Centralization of orders from various sales channels you use
- A KDS can be used on several screens connected together (kitchen and counter for example, to make them communicate)
- Automatically sorting the different types of order (takeout, delivery, eat in) and sorting by workstation (cold, pizzas, desserts, etc.)
- Automatically prioritize commands
- Automatic calculation of the number of items to prepare for better efficiency
- Priority management and display of delays
- A KDS informs customers and deliverers of the order status
- Calculation and display of sales and preparation statistics
- A KDS must be configurable and flexible
- A KDS must have a clear display of the contents of the commands
It’s up to you to see what you think is necessary for your business and to question the KDS editors. Also take advantage of the free trial period if there is one, so you know if the KDS is right for you.
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What types of restaurants need a Kitchen Display System?
A Kitchen Display System is not only made for huge fast food chains like McDonalds! Your restaurant will probably benefit from it too. 😉
The Kitchen Display System is particularly suitable for all fast food restaurants, and all restaurants that offer food for delivery and take-out.
A dark kitchen is a delivery-only restaurant.
For example, the KDS is ideal for a dark kitchen that has several brands and needs to organize its production by brand.
It can also be used for a hangar that rents kitchens from dark kitchens, and that needs a runner who collects all the orders from all the kitchens, to bring them to the delivery person.
It is also a high-performance tool for food courts, where each kitchen automatically sees its orders arrive on a touch screen, as soon as the customer places an order via a terminal or directly on their mobile phone.
Caterers & event catering
This type of restoration needs to perfectly manage its production in large volumes. A KDS can help him get organized.
How to find the right Kitchen Display System for your kitchen?
Your POS software may have a KDS
Some KDS are integrated directly into POS softwares.
All the orders coming from the POS are successfully retrieved by the KDS.
How does a Kitchen Display System work?
In the same way that there are several possible functionalities in a KDS, there are also several ways to use it. Some KDS only display orders, for example, while others go further in use by offering screens for the counter or delivery people.
Here is an example of ideal operation for your KDS:
- The order is first collected from its arrival channel (Click&Collect site, delivery platforms, POS, etc.)
- Then, the order appears on the Kitchen screen, with the different items that compose it and all the necessary information, with a sound notification
- The cook indicates on the screen that he is starting to prepare an item, which allows other cooks to be informed
- When all items in the order are ready, the order is marked as ready
- Finally, the counter picks it up, possibly adds drinks and desserts, then marks it as served or shipped
How to install a Kitchen Display System in your kitchen?
When choosing to equip your establishment with a Kitchen Display System, you also need to think about the hardware part. Again, check with the KDS editor. Does he provide the material or not? Any recommendations? Basically there are two ways to install a KDS:
With specific equipment
Some KDS only work on specific hardware, usually provided by the editor.
You don’t have to worry about the hardware choice.
The installation can be cumbersome, and the equipment expensive and difficult to renew.
With the hardware of your choice
There are KDS in the form of an online application (in SaaS mode). This is the case of TicknCook for example.
You choose the material you prefer, light as a tablet or a screen. There is something for every budget! It is also very easy to install. Discover the most suitable equipment for TicknCook.
You need to have a fairly good internet connection so that the online KDS can receive orders without any waiting time.
All you have to do is try! 😉 Because the best way to know if a solution perfectly matches your needs is to test it. To do this, take a demo appointment with different editors, you can compare the features, ask your questions and finally test. Obviously, this requires a great deal of involvement, it is a major change in the organization of your kitchen. Don’t neglect the time you will spend finding the right solution and testing. If you are not at all technical and you are not interested, then you can call on a consultant, for example, who will be responsible for setting up the KDS in your restaurant.