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3 Ways to Set Up KDS Screen Communication

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It’s true that a KDS can replace a paper ticket printer in your restaurant, but modern kitchen display systems are more than just a digital replacement for paper. One way a KDS offers far more functionality than paper tickets is that screens at different stations can communicate with each other. In this post, we will outline three common ways you can set up KDS screens to match the workflow of your kitchen.

Prep-Expo

Good Fit If: Your line has multiple stations that prepare different items and an expo that sells the order

Set Up:

  • Position a KDS screen at each station
  • Configure the expo station screen to display all items on the order
  • Configure each station’s screen to only show items they are responsible for making
  • For each station screen, configure the screen communication rule so when an order is bumped the items are marked as complete on the expo screen

Example: Let’s say your line consists of a grill station, a fry station, and an expo station. If a customer orders a hamburger and chicken tenders the hamburger will appear on the grill station screen and the chicken tenders will appear on the fry station screen. The expo station screen sees both the hamburger and the chicken tenders. When the cook working the grill completes the hamburger they tap the order card to clear it from their screen, and this marks the hamburger as complete on the expo screen so that cook knows the hamburger is ready but the chicken tenders are not.

Advantages of this set up:

  • Each station has their own screen and can see the items they need to prepare
  • Expo doesn’t have to verbally call items to each station
  • Stations are less likely to miss dropping items
  • Expo doesn’t have to ask stations when items are ready
  • Easier for expo to keep track of an order’s progress

Assembly Line

Good Fit If: Orders pass through multiple stations one at a time until they are complete

Set Up:

  • Place a KDS screen at each stop on the assembly line
  • Send orders from the POS to the first screen
  • Configure each screen to send to the next station when bumped

Example: This setup is used often at pizza restaurants where the first station prepares the pizza and the second station puts it in the oven. The final station in the assembly line may cut, box, and hand off the pizza. In this scenario new orders are sent to the “Prep” screen first. When prep is done, the cook bumps the order from their screen and passes the pizza down the line. The order appears on the “Oven” screen so the oven cook knows the pizza is ready to be fired. When the pizza comes out of the oven, the bump from the oven screen sends the order to the final screen for packaging.

Advantages of this set up:

  • Each station only sees the order when it’s time for them to work on it
  • You can daisy chain together as many screens as you need for your kitchen
  • The KDS can track both overall order time and time at each station to help restaurants understand bottlenecks

Mirrored Screens

Good Fit If: You have two or more stations that make the same items

Set Up:

  • Use a screen at each prep station
  • Configure both screens to sync item and order bumps with each other
  • Alternatively, you can choose to only sync in one direction

Example: If you have two baristas that can both prepare the same drinks, you can use the screen mirroring to make sure the same drink isn’t prepared twice. When the first barista makes an item they can tap the item to mark it complete, which will sync to the other screen. When an order is complete, tap it to clear the order from both screens.

Advantages of this set up:

  • Since both screens stay in sync there are fewer mistakes and wasted food
  • Employees can stay up to date on order statuses without having to ask

Not all kitchen display systems support these three set ups, so you'll want to make sure you buy a KDS that matches your kitchen's needs. Fresh KDS is an affordable, easy-to-set-up option that can be configured for prep-expo, assembly line, or mirrored screens. In fact, Fresh KDS is flexible enough to combine elements of all three workflows.

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