Timing - Information - Organization - KDS is for the kitchen what POS is for the front-of-house.
KDS is an ordering and information system for increasing kitchen efficiency, productivity and food quality. KDS screens replace some or all of the printers in the kitchen and bring some "smarts" to the kitchen ordering process, managing the order from start to finish with timers, highlights and other tools to maximize kitchen efficiency. A kitchen would typically have one or more expediter screens (sometimes a second one is used for to go orders) and multiple prep stations. Orders are timed so that items with different prep times can be synchronized to be completed by the stations at the same time, increasing product quality and decreasing ticket times. A survey of food quality at a major chain that installed Kitchen Display System found that complaints about food went down 70% after the system was installed.
This shows our 19" expediter screen showing how many orders it can display on one screen. This picture and the one below it show the full resolution of actual screen displays to show that they are able to display enough information for a busy kitchen to function. It's also important to realize that because of the timer function, some items that the kitchen staff would normally see on paper tickets are not displayed yet since there are longer prep time items on that check to prepare first. There's a lot going on in this picture, scroll down to the examples to find out what all the green dots, dashed borders, and everything else means.
* Click image for high-resolution version *
The Expediter screen shows whole orders and the status of individual items and suborders shown at individual prep stations.
- Colors highlight tickets age to bring attention to the oldest orders.
- Green dots next to items indicate items that are completed at the prep station.
- Timers are shown for every order.
- Complete orders show the dashed highlight to let the expediter know that all prep stations have completed their part.
- Order recall for last order, or any order that shift allow the kitchen to pull orders back up. No more lost tickets!
* Click image for high resolution version *
List mode for Prep Stations is used at prep stations such as a grill. It shows a work list for the prep station in order of age, so the station will always cook in the right order.
- Item timings coordinate preparation of items so the order will be complete at the same time - well done steaks will come out timed with fried shrimp for example.
- Course timings allow multiple courses to be sent at once, with the second and later courses displaying only once the first course is complete.
- Kitchen Zones allow the order to be assembled in an area marked with the zone label so the expiditer can find all the items.
- Production Items (in orange at top of prep screen) show a real-time summary of how many production-type items are down, and how many are coming (on items the prep station doesn't see yet, such as a quick fried shrimp for example).
Our preferred KDS Expediter Station is a 19" LCD Touchscreen with RDC Client. The larger screen and resolution allows more checks to be viewed at once on the screen which we feel is essential to success in a busy restaurant. Smaller stores or lower volume sites might choose the Workstation 5 as the expediter screen to save space.
KDS prep stations can be installed on several different hardware platforms. We currently install two solutions for prep stations, one with a bumpbar (a miniature keyboard used to control the station) and the Workstation 5 touchscreen model. Both platforms offer the same features and mainly differ in that one uses a bumpbar and the other a touchscreen.
The RDC (Remote Display Controller - the tiny box at the top of the picture with wires coming from it) + 17" LCD Monitor + Bump Bar is a great economical solution for the kitchen. The rugged RDC and our Adjustable Mount makes for a bullet-proof kitchen installation. The adjustable mount can be wall or counter mounted and is very flexible, with tilt, pivot, and extension adjustments.
The Workstation 5 15" Color Touchscreen with Adjustable Mount provides the cleanest installation and touchscreen operation at prep stations. It requires only one power connection and a network cable and can be fully covered in your annual maintenance contract. It is ruggedized and water resistant on it's face to best withstand the kitchen environment. Optionally POS Operations can be run on the WS5 to allow all the normal functions of the Front-of-House from the kitchen.
Media files can be programmed for individual items or the user can browse from a list of available files. This is very useful for recording plate presentations for training and consistency of your products
The Runner Chit is printed on All Expo Done or All Prep Done so the runners can deliver the items. This could be the only piece of paper in your kitchen!
All day summary shows totals of items at the KDS monitor. All day is accessed through a button on the screen at any time.
Here is an example of a ticket step-by-step as it displays in the kitchen, showing many of the features of the Kitchen Display System.
The order is rung up on the POS. Our order has two courses, Apps and Entrees, that are rung up at the same time. The Apps prompt for First or As Entree, and the user's selection determines which course the item belongs to. The order will be sent in courses to the kitchen automatically as we'll see below.
The first course displays on the Expo screen and Apps are shown in blue.
Each item has a status indicator to the left of it:
à The Arrow indicates the item has not been sent to the kitchen prep yet, it's held up by the Timing feature.
- The Dash Indicates the item has been sent to the Prep Station but is not complete yet.
The Crab Cake has the longest prep time so it is sent first, and the other items are held up so they will finish cooking together.
Production Items are shown in the orange bar at the top of the screen. These are items that you cook all day that don't require modifiers, Fries being the classic example that challenges the kitchen, having a short shelf life and wanting each guest to get hot fries every time. Production Items are timed so that they finish cooking with the menu item they belong to, so if a steak takes 10 minutes, and fries take 3, the fries will be started after the steak has cooked 7 minutes, so they get done together.
Each Production Item has two counts, an 'Up' count and a 'Down' count. The Up count shows how many of this Production Item are coming for items that haven't been displayed yet. The Production Item moves to the Down count when it should be dropped, or started cooking. For Coco Shrimp, the Up count has been set to one to let the kitchen know to be ready for one Coco Shrimp that they don't see yet; this doesn't mean cook it, it means bread an order of shrimp and be ready to cook it.
At 2 minutes, two more items show up on the Prep screen and the Expo screen shows the dash indicating that the items are being prepared. Note the Mex Eggrolls are the only item with an arrow still next to it to let the Expediter know it hasn't been sent yet. Notice how this cuts down on what the kitchen has to look at, they just cook what they see and the system handles all the timing.
The Coco Shrimp has displayed, and has moved to the down count to let the kitchen know to start cooking it.
Finally the whole first course is in the kitchen.
After a few minutes, the kitchen has finished most of the Appetizer order and the green dot status indicators show they just need one item to sell this ticket. The Expediter calls to the kitchen that the Crab Cakes will sell this ticket. KDS dramatically cuts down on the communication necessary for the kitchen to function, allowing the staff to focus on quality and specific issues like this one.
The ticket has turned grey due to it's age to bring attention to it. The color is configurable and there are two aging highlights, grey and yellow are used in this example.
Here we see Automatic Coursing in action. The Appetizer ticket is complete, so the KDS automatically displays the Entree ticket for Table 14. The system can also show the Entree ticket if the App ticket is taking so long, this is configurable by course.
The Well-done Filet is the longest prep time item, so it is shown first. Again, the ticket will be timed so that all the items finish cooking together.
After 3 minutes, the next item, the Filet Med Rare is sent to the kitchen. Notice that the Meat Temp Modifier adjusts the prep time so that the steaks will get done together.
The App ticket has turned yellow, again to bring attention to it. KDS is all about focusing on items and tickets that should be the primary focus of the kitchen to improve customer experience.
The Fries count now shows two Fries Up, again, don't cook yet but put two orders in a basket and hang it over the fryer so you can drop them when the system moves the Fries to the Down Count.
At 4.5 minutes, the next item arrives.
And finally the whole entree order is displayed. Note that the Thai Wraps were rung up with the As Entree Modifier, and so they automatically display with the Entree Course.
Here the ticket has aged a bit more, and the Fries count is updated to show that the two orders of Fries should be dropped so they will be ready when the steaks are. Each Production Item has a preparation time that causes it to move from the 'Up' count to the 'Down' count to help the kitchen cook them at the right time so they are selling hot fries with every order.
The order is nearly complete, and the Fries counter shows just the one Fry order for the Filet Well Done.
The whole order is now complete and the system draws a dashed border around it to let the Expediter know it is complete.