To have a successful restaurant, both the back and front of the house should run like a well-oiled machine. The two teams from these areas should constantly be coordinating and working efficiently, even during the busiest time of service.
Keeping the back of the house working efficiently, however, is one of the most difficult challenges restaurant owners and managers have to overcome. With orders continuously pouring in and numerous prep and cooking tasks to take care of, your kitchen team can become quickly overwhelmed.
Moreover, cooking is not the only activity taking place at the back of the house. Additional prep work and plating happen here. Dishes, glasses, cutlery, pots, and pans have to be washed here as well.
Since the back of the house is often the busiest area inside the restaurant, when things start to fall apart here, the rest of the restaurant usually follows suit. And this can cause numerous problems that could result in loss of sales and profits and even negatively affect the restaurant’s reputation.
Maintaining order in the back of the house is, therefore, critical if you want your restaurant to have a successful service during operating hours. Aside from hiring the best employees, investing in a first-rate kitchen management system will enable you to experience this every single time.
A Kitchen Display System or KDS is a display monitor that is set up in the cooking area or back of the house. It is integrated with a POS program and, as such, displays the orders that have been placed in the POS.
This type of technology acts as a mediator between the waiting staff who takes the order and the chef or culinary team that prepares the order.
Once you have a KDS, as a restaurant owner, you will experience these benefits:
1. Reduced delays in order preparation
Once an order is entered into the POS, it automatically appears on the monitor in the kitchen. This means that servers won’t have to write a kitchen order ticket or wait for one to be printed out and give it to the chef.
The KDS reduces the time gap between order placement and preparation. As a result, customers won’t have to wait too long to receive and eat their food.
Moreover, since your servers won’t have to spend time creating and delivering tickets to the back of house, they will be able to focus on providing the diners better service.
2. Lower instances of missing orders
Since a kitchen is always busy and sometimes, even messy, handwritten and printed order tickets can get easily misplaced or lost.
Additionally, manually written slips can sometimes be hard to read or understand.
These issues can lead to some diners not receiving their orders or getting the wrong dishes. Worse, the failure of the chef or cook to correctly read and follow the additional instructions may cause a customer to experience or develop a health problem caused by food restriction or allergy.
Since all orders will appear on a monitor or handheld device, no ticket will be missed. The chef or cook will also have an easier time reading and heeding special instructions, such as not adding nuts or milk to the dish.
3. Streamlined prep and cooking process
Chefs and cooks, even the most seasoned ones, will be more efficient in the kitchen if they receive simple, straightforward orders. For instance, they will have an easier time understanding and following the instructions to cook 12 pieces of scallops instead of four orders of this entree.
With a KDS, the screen lays out all orders clearly. Because of this, your cooking staff will know exactly what to prepare and how many. As a result, your team will be more efficient. Food waste will be reduced as well.
Additionally, if you choose a KDS program that has an “all-day” display feature, you will enable your chef or cook to know exactly how many appetizers, main dishes, and desserts they have to prepare throughout service.
This will help them avoid rushing and making costly mistakes during the busy times of the day.
4. Reduced waste
Since the KDS reduces the instances of serving wrong orders, your restaurant will minimize and avoid food wastage. This will help you cut costs and make your establishment more eco-friendly.
Moreover, investing in a KDS means your restaurant will cut down on the use of paper for taking orders. This will enable you to lower costs on consumables.
More importantly, you will reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint.
5. Better coordination between front and back of house
Lastly, with a KDS, servers won’t need to keep asking the kitchen staff if a customer’s order is ready to be served. This is often a source of annoyance to chefs and cooks who do not want to be disturbed while they are creating their culinary masterpieces.
Using the KDS, the chef or cook will simply change the status of a ticket to “ready to be served” once the dish is prepared. The server will then be notified of this update and serve the order to the diner.
The system also helps ensure that diners get their order as soon as it is ready. As a result, the dishes are not delivered cold, which will leave the customers fully satisfied.
A kitchen display system will help your restaurant reduce waste and save money. It will also enable you to have a more organized, efficient dining establishment that will delight all your diners.
All these will lead to higher income and profit and the continuous success of your restaurant.
Ahmad Alzaini is the co-founder and CEO of Foodics, a fast-growing food tech startup. A businessman by nature, Alzaini is an app aficionado, developing businesses in Saudi Arabia within several industries.