How To Find The Best Kitchen Display System For Your Restaurant
If you think kitchen display systems are only for large restaurants or franchises, think again. Every size and type of restaurant, from fine dining to family style, can benefit from a kitchen display system, or KDS for short.
Once you discover the amazing benefits of using a kitchen display system, you’ll wonder how you ever operated without one. KDS are far superior to the old school paper ticketing system in terms of cost, convenience, and efficiency.
But not all kitchen display systems are created equal. Some are overpowered (and overpriced) with features that you don’t need and will never use. Other KDS are simply not capable enough to handle your restaurant’s basic needs.
In this guide, we’ll help you find the best kitchen display system for your restaurant. First, we’ll highlight the benefits of KDS and then we’ll discuss what to look for in this type of system. Finally, we’ll give you our top pick for the best restaurant kitchen display system.
Let’s get started.
What is a Kitchen Display System?
To ensure that we’re on the same page, let’s go over the basic components of a kitchen display system.
A kitchen display system is a digital order screen. It is connected to your point of sale (POS) system.
Your KDS replaces the paper ticket system of yesteryear where orders were taken manually and then relayed verbally or via paper tickets. Instead, with a KDS, an order is entered digitally and then displayed to the back of the house on a screen. In addition to displaying order information immediately, a KDS can also sort orders based on status.
The kitchen display system is one of the most important tools in every restaurant. If you use one in your restaurant, it is guaranteed to improve workflow, communication, and efficiency for the reasons we’ll discuss in greater detail below.
Overall, your kitchen display system will digitize your restaurant and make it easy for you to meet customer demand.
The Benefits of Using a Kitchen Display System
Not sure if a kitchen display system is the right choice for your restaurant? Let’s discuss the benefits of kitchen display systems.
Quicker Order Times
With a kitchen display system, an order ticket pops up as soon as the order is entered. Your kitchen staff doesn’t need to wait for someone to manually write the order by hand and then deliver a paper ticket to the kitchen. This transaction may take two minutes or less, but every second counts in the kitchen.
So, instead of waiting for a ticket to be prepared and delivered before starting an order, your kitchen staff get notified immediately when an order comes in. This saves time and ensures that your customer is taken care of right away.
Having a kitchen display system is crucial in a busy restaurant. If you ever experience long lines or waiting in your restaurant, you need a KDS to speed up the order process.
Fewer Missing Orders
Sometimes, orders get lost. This is one of the biggest negatives of paper tickets. In a busy environment, paper tickets get lost in transit or they fall on the floor and under a prep station, hidden from view. This happens all the time. But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with when it does happen. And this excuse won’t satisfy your unhappy customer who’s been waiting a long time for their meal to get ready.
However, if you use a kitchen display system, you won’t have missing paper tickets. Instead, all orders are kept and displayed digitally.
Improved Order Accuracy
Have you ever encountered a written order that was practically illegible? Sure, you can coach the wait staff on how to write better orders, but it’s infinitely easier and more efficient to switch to a digital system. This way, no one needs to decode text. Everything is displayed in a uniform way.
And illegible text isn’t the only cause for concern. Sometimes paper tickets get damaged due to tears, liquid spills, or excessive heat from an open flame. All of these accidents can lead to illegible paper tickets that force your kitchen staff to guess what the order was. And what happens if they guess wrong?
A KDS is always easy to read, which leads to more accurate orders.
A kitchen display system automatically increases efficiency in your kitchen and throughout your entire restaurant. Here are just a few ways how:
Order changes are visible immediately – Customers change their orders all the time. You can notify the kitchen of changes as soon as the customer notifies you. Getting immediate notification can prevent you from wasting time and ingredients.
Send orders to different stations – If you have more than one KDS in your kitchen, you can route orders to different stations accordingly. For example, salads can go to one station while entrees can go somewhere else. And both lines can be working on these items simultaneously.
Reduces steps – In scenario one, your staff enters an order on your POS system, prints it out, and then walks it back to the kitchen. In scenario two, the staff simply enters the order in the POS. Then, automatically, the order ticket is generated and displayed to the back staff. A kitchen display system cuts out two steps. By using a KDS, you create a more productive kitchen without hiring more people.
With a kitchen display system, you can keep an eye out on what orders are on track and what orders may be falling behind. With this knowledge, you can transfer orders to a different station so that they can be prepared within an acceptable time period. This can increase your customer satisfaction and improve the workflow in your kitchen.
Better Kitchen WorkflowsSystem
Speaking of workflows, a KDS can also improve the workflow in your entire restaurant. For example, instead of pestering the kitchen staff, your servers can see for themselves the status of an order digitally. This empowers your servers as they interact with customers before, during, and after an order is delivered.
Faster Food Delivery
As mentioned above, your kitchen display system isn’t just for kitchen staff. It also helps your wait staff know the status of an order and when it’s ready for pick up. Additionally, you can use your KDS as a manager to track orders and see how long it takes for your staff to fulfill a ticket. If you notice consistent delays, you can address any bottlenecks in your workflow to improve kitchen efficiency and customer service.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
No one wants to wait too long for their order to be prepared and delivered. These days, customers are easily frustrated when an order takes too long. And frustrated customers are never loyal.
Getting an order wrong is another problem that leads to customer dissatisfaction.
Ideally, an order should be taken quickly and correctly. This is why you need a POS system that can record orders accurately. But you also need a KDS. A kitchen display system prevents errors in relaying an order.
A point of sale system and a kitchen display system work together to ensure that your customers’ orders are taken and displayed both quickly and accurately. This is especially important if your restaurant has customized orders, as is often the case with a pizzeria. You definitely want to ensure that every order is accurately processed or else you may end up wasting ingredients due to refunds or reorders.
And anytime you get an order wrong, you’ll ding your customer’s trust, which can cause the customer to eventually decide never to return.
But with a KDS, you’ll improve your chances of winning them over.
Better Employee Satisfaction
Your customers aren’t the only ones who’ll benefit from a kitchen display system. Your employees will also love the innovation of a KDS system. Your kitchen display system will improve workflow for both your back of the house and your front of the house employees. It will also minimize frustration. Your employees won’t need to ask each other about the status of an order when they can simply look up and see it for themselves.
Greater Inventory Management
Do you find yourself constantly running out of an in-demand item? That may be corrected with your kitchen display system.
In addition to showing order tickets and status, your kitchen display system can also alert you automatically when an ingredient is getting low. Your kitchen staff can update the system manually, too. This notification can help you plan ahead so that you can buy before getting into a bind. And also before missing out on an order because you don’t have the necessary ingredients in stock.
Better Insight Into Staff Performance
Your kitchen display system can generate reports to give you insight into what’s happening in your kitchen. Find out how well your staff is performing week by week or shift by shift. You can use your kitchen display system’s report feature to find out how quickly an order is processed after being received or if you’re using too much of one ingredient. This feature highlights coaching opportunities for your kitchen staff. It also helps you become a better manager of your resources.
By analyzing reports, you’ll see which staff members are more efficient in terms of time and ingredients used. This is crucial knowledge you can use when making promotion decisions for the future.
Instant Communication Between Front of the House and Back of the House
As soon as you place an order, your kitchen staff can see the order. That’s a huge step forward in communication between your front staff and your back staff. In addition to placing an order, you can use the connection between the POS system and the KDS to make immediate changes or other updates. Also, the kitchen display system can immediately alert wait staff when an order is ready for pick up.
Improve Online Efficiency
A kitchen display system makes it easier for you to efficiently process online orders.
Not only can you take orders online through your point of sale system, but those online orders can be automatically routed to the kitchen immediately. Of course, if you prefer, you can also have a manager approve online orders first, but if you’re busy and don’t want to take that extra step, you don’t have to.
Connecting a POS to a KDS will dramatically speed up prep and delivery time.
Better for the Environment
Going paperless will reduce waste which is good for both the environment and the business.
Paper tickets may be small but, if you take a large amount of orders, those paper tickets can add up. Every year, thousands of trees are cut down just due to restaurant printing systems alone. You can do your part to save the environment by digitizing your kitchen with a KDS.
Cheaper Than Paper Ticketing
Going paperless is also good for your budget.
While a kitchen display system does require an initial financial investment, you will save more in the long run by retiring your paper ticket system. You won’t need to buy paper, maintain a printer, or invest in ongoing ink purchases.
Last, but not least, a kitchen display system will improve the overall look of your kitchen. Paper tickets create a cluttered and messy environment, but a kitchen display looks neat and orderly. Plus, a KDS will fit into any kitchen design.
What to Look for in a Kitchen Display System
Now that we’ve highlighted the top reasons why you need a KDS in your restaurant, let’s discuss what to look for in this system:
1. Ease of Use
Choose a kitchen display system that is easy for your kitchen staff to use from day one. Ideally, go with a company that provides a demo and instructions on how to use the KDS system so that you can be successful.
Price is always a consideration. When choosing a kitchen display system, don’t opt for the cheapest product on the market, but make sure that the system has all of the features that you need.
3. The Ability to Accept Online Orders
Your KDS should communicate directly with your POS system and be able to process online orders right away.
4. Reporting Capabilities
Choose a KDS that offers reports that show what’s happening in your kitchen on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis.
5. The Ability to Customize
Your KDS should be customizable to meet the unique needs of your restaurant and your staff.
6. The Option to Sort Orders
Look for a KDS that allows you to organize orders based on time, status, and type.
7. Real Time Communication
Your kitchen display system should allow for immediate order changes so that your kitchen staff can be notified as soon as possible.
8. Check Order Status
Choose a KDS that allows you to color code your orders based on status (new, cooking, finished, delayed, etc.). Color-coding makes it easier for you and your staff to check orders.
Looking for a POS system that offers all of those benefits and more?
Ready to upgrade your kitchen? Get rid of paper tickets and kitchen printers and embrace the benefits of the Truffle KDS.
With Truffle POS kitchen display system, you can access all of the above features and more. The Truffle KDS will streamline your entire kitchen workflow. For example, the Truffle KDS will allow you to see a detailed view of every order, track cook times, and send out order alerts based on anticipated prep and cook time.
And instead of cobbling together multiple systems, Truffle KDS seamlessly integrates into the Truffle POS ecosystem.
Want to see how Truffle KDS can save you time and money while reducing human errors? Click here to book your free, 30-minute demo.