What is a Kitchen Display System (KDS)?

If you’re running a restaurant, incorporating the right technology can significantly help you improve the way you operate. As the restaurant industry embraces a move to online food ordering and digital payments, operators are facing the challenge of juggling customer orders from various channels effectively. For this reason, kitchen display systems (KDS) are growing in popularity as a flexible tool to support more efficient performance.

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What is a kitchen display system (KDS)?

A kitchen display system, also known as a KDS, is a digital screen that replaces printed or handwritten orders in commercial kitchens. They integrate with a POS system to optimise the way a kitchen operates by streamlining communication, controlling the way food is routed, and providing a real-time view of all kitchen information.

What are the features of a kitchen display system?

Quality kitchen display systems can be customised to suit your restaurant’s needs. From tailoring ticket layouts and colour-coding priority or overdue orders, solutions like Square KDS will allow you to ensure your customers receive their order on time, every time.

  • Course manager: Group items like drinks or desserts and send them from the kitchen together to multiple tables, saving your servers several trips.
  • Meal pacing: Ensure all meals within an order are ready at the same time by starting with preparing items with longer cook times and delaying items with shorter cook times.
  • Routing to preparation stations: Route food to a specific prep station such as the grill, fryer or salad station.
  • Recipe viewer: Kitchen staff can search for recipes and procedure and presentation guides to ensure consistent food presentation.

What are the benefits of a KDS?

Kitchen display systems can help restaurants of all sizes to operate more efficiently. Benefits include:

  • More accurate orders: Commercial kitchens can be chaotic, particularly if the restaurant is managing orders from multiple channels. Handwritten or printed tickets can easily be misplaced or may become illegible if they’re splashed with food or drink. A KDS accurately captures all orders placed – regardless of the sales channel – and delivers them to the kitchen instantly. Solutions like Square KDS with Square for Restaurants allow you to customise the way tickets are displayed on screen to suit your restaurant’s needs.
  • Detailed analytics: With all orders flowing through a KDS, a restaurant manager has a complete picture of that venue’s performance. Data captured can provide insight into the time it takes the kitchen to fulfil each ticket, and how this varies by the time of day and day of the week. This information can be used to optimise rostering and support targeted training.
  • Integrated ordering: Leading KDS enable orders from your website or third-party delivery partners such as Uber and Deliveroo to be routed directly to the display in your kitchen, with no need for staff to manually re-enter orders into your POS system.
  • Faster service: A KDS allows kitchen staff to begin preparing orders the minute they’re placed, with no need to wait for servers to send back individual tickets. With real-time oversight of all orders, the kitchen can prioritise their work efforts to ensure orders are prepared on time. Square KDS even lets you to set up colour-coded alerts that show kitchen staff if they’re running behind.
  • Less waste: Kitchen display systems reduce paper waste by eliminating paper tickets. They also contribute to less food waste by removing miscommunication between servers and your kitchen – such as when a customer’s dietary requirements or request for “dressing on the side” are not understood and reflected in the meal that’s prepared.

What is Square KDS?

Square KDS is an iPad app which supports kitchens to receive, manage, and fulfil orders from any channel, including point of sale, online store or delivery partners like Uber and Deliveroo. By consolidating all orders your restaurant receives, it allows you to see everything on one screen, supporting you to operate more efficiently.

Square KDS is included with Square for Restaurants Plus – sign up now to try the beta and help shape the future of our kitchen display system.

A kitchen display system can streamline communication, ordering, inventory management and delivery. By eliminating the inaccuracies and inefficiencies inherent in running a restaurant, they can boost your venue’s customer satisfaction levels and your overall performance.