KDS vs. Kitchen Printers: Which Solution Should You Choose?



Choosing a back of the house solution is a huge decision for restaurant operators. Should you go with a traditional or modern system? If you already have a traditional solution, is it time to modernize your restaurant? Transitioning to new restaurant technology requires a lot of thought and planning. Let’s discuss types of back of house solutions and the pros and cons of each.

What is a Kitchen Printer and KDS?

A kitchen printer is connected to the point-of-sale (POS) in a restaurant. When a server rings up a customer’s order, the POS records the transaction and a paper ticket is printed in the back of the house for the kitchen staff.

A Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a digital order viewer that replaces your paper tickets and kitchen printers. When an order is rang in through the POS, it would display on the KDS so that the back of house can begin the order.

Kitchen Printer and KDS: What to Expect

A kitchen printer is much more cost efficient than a kitchen display system, making it a more desirable option for many. It is also the traditional way that restaurants keep track of orders and what many restaurants owners feel most comfortable with.

Although kitchen printers are widely used by restaurants, they do have their issues. One of the first problems with kitchen printers is that it would require you to have someone in the expo position. This puts a larger burden on your staffing needs, potential training, and budget.

When it comes to inefficiencies with food preparation, kitchen printers present a few problems. Most importantly, tickets can be lost easily. This leads to longer cook times and frustrated guests, and can also weigh down how quickly you turn tables. In addition, printers can disrupt communication amongst back of house and front of house staff, especially if changes are made to an order.

A kitchen display system is a more modern approach to managing the back of house. It helps streamline your restaurant so that business runs seamlessly. A KDS will manage meal coursing, cook times, recipes, and basic routing to specific stations. This makes the expo position considerably more effective.

A KDS gives your back of house a head start on assembly, as it immediately populates on the screen rather than waiting for a paper ticket to print. Based on the items on an order, the kitchen display system will automatically prioritize items with its meal coursing feature. This ensures that food is fresh and the right temperature when it is delivered to customers. It also cuts down on manual work.

It is worth noting that, compared to a kitchen printer, a KDS is more expensive. However, a kitchen display system is a one-time investment. A kitchen printer would require you to purchase ticket paper refills. Installing a kitchen printer is usually pretty simple and something a restaurant operator could do on their own. Implementing a KDS can be more complicated. When choosing a KDS solution, you will want to choose a provider that has an implementation plan, training programs, and a support team that can answer your post-implementation questions. If the provider doesn’t have this, your implementation process could be lengthy and frustrating.

How QSR Can Help

In the last 20-plus years, QSR Automations has worked hard to become the worldwide leader in Kitchen Display Systems.

This article was originally posted on QSR Automations’ blog here.


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