6 Benefits of Restaurant Kitchen Order Systems

By: Sam Kusinitz

6 Minute Read

Sep 10, 2019

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You don’t have to be a quick-service restaurant or have a huge kitchen to benefit from restaurant kitchen order systems (KDS), also called kitchen display systems.

In fact, restaurants of all shapes and sizes can gain value from the operational advantages that touchscreen kitchen display systems offer.

We’ve compiled the six most substantial benefits of using kitchen order systems in your restaurant. Specifically, we’ve detailed the ways a KDS can save your restaurant time and money while promoting communication and efficiency in your front and back of house.

Learn more about Restaurant Kitchen Display Systems (KDS)

1. Accurately Track Fulfillment Times

KDS screens will track the time it takes your kitchen staff to fulfill each ticket. 

If you have a POS system that offers kitchen reports (pictured below), you will be able to gain a tremendous amount of insight into which areas you should focus on to streamline processes and further improve kitchen operations.

Kitchen reports can show you a wide array of metrics, including average fulfillment time by day of the week and time of day. With this information, you can easily identify your most efficient kitchen staff members, those who may benefit from additional training, and rush hours that may require more hands on deck, thus allowing you to staff and train appropriately.

Morgan & York, an artisan wine and cheese shop and sandwich deli, realized the benefits of KDS after struggling with missing and unfulfilled tickets during busy shifts. Upon making the switch, the shop has seen significant improvements to service and fulfillment times, allowing more customers to be served and satisfied.

2. Simplify the Cooking Process

Most chefs would rather know they have to prepare 42 wings total than seven orders of six wings. Alleviating your chefs of this “mental math” gives them more time to prepare and cook food, while also avoiding costly errors. Some kitchen display systems have an "all day" display so rather than having to read between the lines, cooks know exactly how many patties need to be on the grill, how many orders of fries need to be in the fryers, and how many cheese pizzas should be in the oven.

If you’ve ever seen a Restaurant Wars episode of Top Chef, you know that paper tickets cause disorganization and are often the downfall of the entire operation. Paper tickets can lead to confusion for chefs, unlike with restaurant kitchen order systems where assignments and responsibilities are clearly laid out. With paper tickets, it's easy for two cooks to see an order of grilled chicken being prepped, and for each to think it's for the caesar salad they were working on. Your KDS can alleviate confusion and get guests the right order, faster.

3. Improve Your Kitchen Efficiency

Some kitchen display systems, like the one pictured below, allow tickets to be routed directly to specific kitchen screens and prep stations. This means appetizers and salads sent from the same ticket can automatically be sent to the respective line. You can even color-code tickets so they change colors when they are not fulfilled within a designated amount of time, keeping your turn time fast and your team accountable. One restaurant we spoke with claimed a kitchen display system doubled their sales, all thanks to kitchen efficiency.

I no longer have to worry about miscommunications between the front and back of house. I can watch the KDS to see orders going through and being fulfilled in real time.

Logan Hostettler

Owner, 1894 Lodge

This feature helps your kitchen staff easily keep track of the different tickets they need to address and prioritize accordingly. Additionally, you have the opportunity to increase the number of tickets each chef can fulfill in a given time period, and in turn, cut down on your restaurant's labor costs.

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4. Streamline FOH and BOH Workflows

If the kitchen display system is used in a full service environment and your POS vendor also offers handheld tablets, your servers can get instant notifications on their tablet's interface when tickets are marked as fulfilled on the KDS.

No handhelds? No problem. Some KDS options will send text messages to servers when food is in the window in a full-service restaurant, or to customers in a quick-service restaurant.

Instant alerts to servers or customers streamline operations and ensures that your guests receive their food as soon as it is ready, so dishes are never delivered cold.

Furthermore, some systems offer multi-language support, allowing you to customize items in different languages to ensure that all of your staff members are on the same page.

5. Reduced Waste

An auxiliary benefit of having restaurant kitchen order systems is that they help to reduce food waste in your restaurant. By eliminating paper tickets altogether, you cut back drastically on your paper roll costs. Brandon Hunt, the Co-Owner of Via 313, decided to switch to KDS for this very reason. "The cost of paper is insane. At almost $50-60 a case, we were going through about a case a week, so it was a no-brainer for us to use kitchen display screens in the kitchen and go paperless in the front of the house as well." 

This also has a huge positive impact on the environment. Toast estimates 6,300 trees were saved in 2018 thanks to restaurants using a KDS in the back of house.

Toast POS Year in Review

In addition to cutting down on wasted paper, by helping your restaurant operations be more focused and efficient, kitchen display systems can also help cut down on food waste as a result of miscommunication between the front and back of house.

6. Integrated Online Ordering Process

Orders from restaurant online ordering systems can be routed directly to kitchen display screens without requiring a staff member to manually re-enter the order into the POS system.

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If you prefer to have online orders approved before they are sent to the kitchen, some POS systems will allow you to set permissions so a manager must approve all online orders or cash-only orders before they are sent.

This way, online orders are now fully integrated into your operations and don’t require extra manual effort from your staff to be completed.

Free Resource: The Definitive Guide to Restaurant POS Systems + POS Comparison Tool

How Does a KDS Improve Your Operations?

Have you seen increased productivity, streamlined workflows, and better processes overall from your KDS?

Do you have any stories about how kitchen display systems have helped optimize the use of your restaurant point of sale and/or streamlined front of house and back of house operations? (Really, it's a "one-house" system now.)

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