The Menu – the latest insights on restaurant technology trends, customer successes, and best practices.

  • October 2, 2019

Kitchen Display Systems: How Do They Benefit Table-Service Restaurants?

Brian Puga
Principal F&B Solution Engineer, FBGBU

Back in 1991, 16-year-old me was slinging hot dogs in a major theme park in California. It was a small place with five windows. We did not have kitchen display systems; we didn’t even have printers in our kitchen. Everything was verbal. The grill cook made the hot dogs and would send them out to us with chili and mustard, and if there was an exception – say someone wanted a chili dog with no mustard – we called it out to him.

We did pretty good business, but just around the corner in the park stood our sister restaurant that sold hamburgers. It had about ten windows and printers in the kitchen, and we were jealous. Its technology enabled it to sell more hamburgers, which meant labor costs were lower, sales were higher, and its employees could work additional hours and make additional pay.

Fast forward to 2011. I was working for MICROS Systems as an account manager for a large, hot dog chain. It had 4-6 kitchen display screens at every prep station in each of its stores, which generated speed and efficiency that would have blown my 16-year-old mind. I could have never imagined selling as many hot dogs as it did.

Kitchen Display Systems aren’t just for quick-service restaurants

Many people expect to see KDS in quick-service restaurants, but just one year later, my team and I rolled out KDS to a high-end, fine-dining restaurant with a beautiful, open-exposition kitchen, and every prep station had a KDS screen. The most interesting point about that example? It wasn’t the first table-service restaurant in which we installed a KDS. We persuaded that restaurateur to go with KDS by pointing out every other table-service restaurant in its market that already had rolled out the system. Most importantly, we demonstrated the benefits KDS was reaping.

The point is, KDS is not something new. It has been around a long time. It’s tried and true. Isn’t it time you put it in play, too?

Top 6 Benefits of KDS for Table-Service Restaurants

  1. Cost savings: On average, businesses enjoy a 48% cost savings over 3 years, including hardware and operating costs (as compared to working with printers). They’re achieved due to less consumables (paper and ribbon) and eliminating replacement costs for failed printers. KDS is more of an investment up front, but printers are more expensive in the long run*.
  2. Automated timing: With KDS, hot food is delivered hot, and cold food is delivered cold. KDS sends menu items to different stations at different times, depending on each item’s preparation time, ensuring they’ll be ready at the same time and perfectly cooked when served to guests.
  3. Efficient order management: No matter how orders are received at point of sale (phone, self-service kiosk, online, mobile, cashier, table side, etc.), their flow to the kitchen can be properly timed, and they can be delivered appropriately (boxed or plated).
  4. Dynamic updating of orders: Changes to orders with a paper-based system mean they need to be hand written on the ticket or new orders need to be printed. KDS can change the formatting on an item and its replacement will be added to the check. The use of colors highlights such changes, clarifying orders and minimizing kitchen confusion.
  5. Post-order reporting of kitchen performance: KDS can provide service level reports on kitchen staff’s KPIs. Service level reports offer valuable information that can be used to improve operations.
  6. Enhanced guest experience: Kitchen displays simplify communication and processes, increasing efficiency, reducing errors, and enhancing food quality and speed of service – all of which help keep guests happy and coming back.

Although KDS was first embraced by quick-service restaurants, the systems have proven time and again they are well suited for the table-service environment. While KDS helps QSR improve profitability with increased throughput, it benefits table-service and fine-dining concepts by helping create the best possible experience for guests.

Learn more about the Oracle MICROS Restaurant Kitchen Display Systems or speak with an expert today.

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