A perfect duo does in fact exist — at least in the food service industry. No matter your restaurant concept, equipping your back-of-house (BOH) with a kitchen display system (KDS) is a huge factor in improving the efficiency and quality of your restaurant operations.
A far cry from basic paper ticketing systems, a KDS integrates directly with the point of sale, capturing order information in real time and displaying it digitally for kitchen staff to execute. The digital process is simply a better optimized and highly efficient way to manage and increase workflow within your restaurant.
Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits restaurateurs see when they implement a touchscreen display system into their operations. We’ll focus on the time and costs saved, increased performance visibility, and simplified communications. These are value points you’re not going to want to pass up on.
Going green and saving $$
At about $50 per case, printer paper costs add up quickly, especially considering restaurants average one to two cases of paper per week depending on the number of printers in use. There are some obvious benefits to going digital and eliminating the need for paper tickets. Not only will you remove your dependency on paper rolls, you’ll also make a positive impact on the environment, all while lessening the burden on your wallet. Knocking out paper tickets will significantly lower your operational costs per year.
Although replacing your printer altogether may be a bit more difficult for table service restaurants, implementing a KDS and having it work in tandem with a printer is still beneficial from an efficiency standpoint.
“You factor in the cost of a kitchen display and it’s a no-brainer as far as saving the money,” says Jay Gillespie, Revel’s senior product owner. In addition to being intimately familiar with Revel’s product offerings, Gillespie can speak to his years of experience in restaurant management. He knows well the challenges and costs associated with kitchen operations.
Improving Kitchen Efficiency
With a KDS, you have full visibility of your orders from placement to fulfillment. Color coding tickets and food items optimizes the turn time for each order. Colors indicate how long an order has been out, alerting your staff instantly when an item needs immediate attention. Utilizing this in conjunction with the prep times feature on your KDS can seriously up your BOH game. As an added bonus, analytics from your KDS will show you exactly how much time to allot for cooking on your various menu items.
“See food, make food, sell food” is the motto Gillespie describes for a highly efficient kitchen. “Your kitchen staff and the people behind the line should be focusing on simple things: seeing it, making it, and getting it out of the window.”
For example, seeing 60 chicken wings on a screen is going to be easier to digest and faster to execute than referencing 6 separate tickets for 10 wing orders. Let’s say you also have a side of fries for each order. A KDS allows you to set notifications 10 minutes after your wings go up, saving your line cooks from having to time that out themselves.
Laura Ewing, director of franchise operations at Bahama Bucks, describes the strains and difficulties she experienced prior to acquiring a KDS. “With the KDS, Revel has allowed us to remove the paper trail. The receipts would get dropped or get wet, leading to lost orders and overall disorganization, and service suffered as a result.”
Forgotten or late orders are inevitable when running a restaurant. But adopting a system that can notably cut down on human errors means better quality food and customer satisfaction.
Gleaning Data Insights
With your KDS, you’ll be able to access an array of metrics and reports, giving you a tremendous amount of insight into your kitchen operations. You can access data points for the speed of your kitchen, such as order fulfillment time by day, hour, or staff. These data points illuminate the areas of operation that need further improvement. They also offer insights on how to better streamline workflow processes.
Leverage these insights to improve how you plan for your waitlist or reservations, to pinpoint which staff members may need additional training, or to identify the hours during which you need to staff more employees.
With full integration into your operations, a KDS knocks out the need for additional manual effort. If your restaurant utilizes online ordering, gone are the days of re-ringing every incoming order into your point of sale (POS) system. Catering and delivery orders set for a specific time can be configured to show on the displays 30 minutes before they need to be sent out. This reduces unnecessary clutter and confusion for your cooks. Likewise, if you operate a large restaurant with different stations, you can route your orders to the appropriate location (i.e salad bar, grill, to-go, etc.) cutting down on time between food preparation and delivery.