Many of the problems restaurants encounter in their day-to-day operation can be traced to miscommunication between staff working in the kitchen and their counterparts working in the dining room. A great way to bridge this divide between the front of the house and the back of the house is by using a POS system that features kitchen displays.
These are among the most important benefits of using a restaurant POS with kitchen display:
- More and more diners have dietary restrictions that wait staff must communicate to the kitchen. Adding a kitchen display to the POS system reduces errors that result from miscommunication when placing these orders.
- Turning food orders around quickly is vital for fast food restaurants, but it can be just as important to ensuring a positive dining experience for all restaurant patrons. Kitchen displays allow meal preparation to start as soon as orders are placed.
- The importance of adapting quickly to unexpected changes is highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The speed and accuracy of kitchen displays linked to POS systems guarantee that staff is operating at peak performance.
Keeping the lines of communication open between servers and kitchen staff makes kitchen displays a key component of a restaurant’s POS network. Here’s how several of the top-rated kitchen display systems stack up.
Restaurant POS with Kitchen Displays
The foundational component of a restaurant kitchen display system is a digital screen that takes the place of handwritten or printed orders and is linked to the establishment’s POS system. Fit Small Business explains that in addition to minimizing errors, kitchen displays allow restaurants to monitor prep times for their dishes to help improve the kitchen’s performance. Here are five Kitchen Display Systems to consider:
1. ConnectSmart Kitchen Works with Dozens of POS Systems
The most versatile kitchen display is also one of the most expensive. QSR Automations’ ConnectSmart Kitchen links out of the box to more than 65 POS systems and can be customized to work with others, including those that use proprietary software.
These are among the product’s useful features:
- The system lets kitchens course and route items to various kitchen stations to cut prep time and deliver items to diners in a timely manner.
- The interface is easy to customize to match the size and type of restaurant the display is being used in. Interface options include recipe viewers, trackers, and online order integration.
- The data ConnectSmart Kitchen generates for reports includes speed of service, kitchen order status, and more than 100 other data types.
- The system’s analytics dashboard can be accessed from any system, and custom metrics can be set for each kitchen area.
2. MobileBytes Color-Codes Alerts to Spot Tardy Kitchen Orders
It’s one thing for a restaurant POS kitchen display to deliver orders to the kitchen as they are placed, but what happens to those tickets that spend too long in the kitchen waiting to be picked up and served? MobileBytes addresses this situation by providing color-coded ticket displays that change to yellow and red to let staff know they’re overdue to be served.
Among other notable capabilities of the MobileBytes kitchen display system are the following:
- Order changes are accommodated easily via immediate updates.
- Tickets can be viewed in one row or two, and font sizes are adjustable, among other interface options.
- Orders can be shown divided by course and by seat, and old orders can be recalled and restored with a swipe.
- Voided orders bear a watermark to prevent them from being filled inadvertently.
3. talech’s Integrated Kitchen Display Boosts Efficiency
Rather than having to mix and match restaurant POS components, talech takes an integrated approach to cloud-based restaurant POS that delivers all the features a restaurant will need in custom packages that are complete, efficient, and affordable. The hardware that can be bundled with the talech POS system includes the Epson TM-U220B kitchen printer that connects via Ethernet and uses standard 3-inch paper rolls.
The system offers crucial capabilities for restaurants of all types:
- Fire tickets by course, split checks by position, and dispatch tickets to multiple printers quickly and simply.
- Audit changes and track voided orders.
- Resend tickets and orders with just a few taps.
- Automatically apply preset rules to service charges.
- Use custom order types to track sales across all channels.
- Add modifiers and exclusions to menus, apply variations to create different price points, and designate discounts automatically for specific times.
- Alert diners to potential food allergies by adding descriptions and product images to POS displays.
- Seamlessly integrate with partners like ItsaCheckmate to provide online ordering and delivery tracking.
4. Fresh KDS Keeps Things Simple, but Lacks Customizations
For restaurants that need only basic features in their kitchen displays, Fresh KDS offers a tablet-based approach that works with two POS systems: Square and Clover. However, Fresh KDS has no ticket printing option, and it works only with tablets that customers must purchase themselves for up to $400 apiece. The system’s interface is simple and easy to use, but its analytics dashboard and reporting provide much less detail than competing restaurant POS systems with kitchen displays.
Strengths of the Fresh KDS kitchen displays include the following:
- Onscreen tickets change color from green to yellow to red as time passes from their creation.
- The interface is much simpler than competing kitchen displays, but it provides much less information about the details of orders.
- The system works with Square POS, Square for Restaurants, and Square Register, but it is incompatible with any other POS software except for Clover.
- Reporting features include most popular menu items, busiest days, an activity log, and average ticket time by day and week.
5. TouchBistro Kitchen Display Emphasizes Reservations, Table Management
The stand-out features of the TouchBistro restaurant POS system are its ability to manage reservations and to optimize table use. While the TouchBistro system lacks many of the reporting and analytics features of competing restaurant POS systems, its kitchen display system allows tickets to be customized by size, fonts, and colors, among other appearance settings.
These are among the other strengths of the TouchBistro kitchen display:
- The system works with any iPad running iOS 6 or later, and it includes an audio alert that notifies employees when new orders appear on the screen.
- In addition to color-coding tickets to indicate how long they have been open, the TouchBistro kitchen display tracks individual cook times to prevent items from lagging behind others in the same order.
- The kitchen displays integrate with the JUST EAT online ordering service.
- Although the system lacks recipe viewers and many of the analytics features found in competing products, it can be used in conjunction with kitchen impact printers.
In fast-paced restaurant environments, clear communication between all staff can be the difference between a house full of happy diners and one with more open tables than customers. A restaurant POS with kitchen display is one of the best ways to ensure kitchen staff and wait staff receive all the information they need in a timely manner. The result is a bustling dining room and a busy but smooth-running kitchen.
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