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A Guide to Kitchen Display Systems for Lightspeed POS

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What is a kitchen display system?

A kitchen display system (KDS) is a screen or set of screens that pair with your Lightspeed POS to display orders in your kitchen or food prep stations. A KDS can replace paper ticket printers, handwritten orders, or verbally calling items that need to be prepared. A kitchen display system can help your restaurant, food truck, or coffee shop prepare orders faster and more accurately.

What are the main benefits of a KDS?

Kitchen display systems are more than just digital printers. The technology powering modern kitchen display systems enables two-way communication and ongoing order updates, which can improve the overall efficiency of your kitchen.  Some additional benefits of a Lightspeed-compatible KDS include:

Improved Speed of Service

Slow speed of service can result in dissatisfied customers and less return business.  A KDS  helps your kitchen focus on preparing orders, and as a result you’ll be able to deliver orders faster. Color coded headers that change from green to yellow to red the longer tickets are open provide a visual indication of how well the kitchen is performing and if any orders are falling behind. This information can help you get ahead of any problems and stop them in their tracks.

Staying Organized

Paper tickets can easily get lost or mixed up.  And when you need to recall an order? Hopefully the ticket is on the spindle and not in the trash. A KDS helps solve all these problems by keeping orders organized on an easy-to-navigate tablet display.

Increased Productivity

When your kitchen is more productive it means you can fulfill more orders in the same amount of time. This increases throughput and leads to higher revenue and happier guests. The other advantage of increased productivity is you can achieve similar throughput with fewer employees, which is critical given how difficult staffing is in hospitality these days.

What to look for when choosing a KDS

There are several things to consider when searching for the best kitchen display system for Lightspeed point of sale.

  • Compatibility. You’ll want to make sure you choose a KDS that works with your existing tech stack, which means it will need to integrate with Lightspeed. Look for a KDS that integrates easily to minimize your setup time and effort.
  • Hardware. Check to see what type of hardware each KDS provider supports. Some KDS solutions sell you both hardware and software while others use a “bring your own device” model. Bringing your own hardware gives you more flexibility and options, but make sure to check what operating systems are supported (iOS, Android, Windows).
  • Features. Does the kitchen display system offer the features that match your restaurant’s unique set up? Will you be able to filter by order type,  send orders to the next station in the assembly line, or sync item strikethroughs between screens? Do you want the ability to communicate order status updates to your customers or the ability to print sticky labels for to-go cups or boxes?
  • Cost. There are two main costs to consider when evaluating kitchen display systems - the hardware cost and the software cost. Some KDS providers charge a one-time hardware plus software licensing fee, which typically does not include software updates. Other KDS companies only charge a monthly or annual fee for software while allowing you to bring your own hardware. This type of software typically will include ongoing updates for new features and functionality.
  • Support. How much support you’ll need to set up and maintain your new KDS depends on how easy the system is to use and how tech savvy you are. If the system you choose looks complicated to set up, or if you don’t have much IT experience you might want to opt for a product that provides a higher level of onboarding support.
  • Offline Mode. Many kitchen display systems require internet connectivity to receive orders. If your restaurant doesn’t have a reliable, strong internet connection you should consider a KDS that can operate “offline.” Kitchen display systems with offline mode receive orders across the local network and therefore can work even without a connection to the internet.

Kitchen Display Systems for Lightspeed

There are a couple of options when it comes to choosing a KDS that works with your Lightspeed POS.

Fresh KDS

Fresh KDS is a great choice if you are looking for a robust kitchen display system that you can customize to match your kitchen’s workflow. The Fresh KDS app is available on both iOS and Android, providing you with a lot of flexibility in choosing your hardware. Fresh KDS also has some of the most advanced features on the market, including multiple options for communicating between stations, the ability to send order status updates directly to customers, and curbside “I’m Here” functionality. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Fresh KDS also offers a very affordable entry level plan.

Cost
Hardware/OS
  • Bring your own hardware
  • iOS and Android
Offline Mode
  • Yes
Works With
  • Lightspeed Restaurant (K-Series)

Lightspeed KDS

Lightspeed’s KDS is a solid entry-level option. It offers a “production mode” view that groups like items into a single card, and it natively integrates with Lightspeed point of sale orders and aggregated online orders. Lightspeed’s KDS also comes with first-party support and onboarding assistance.

Cost
  • Varies by region
Hardware/OS
  • iOS only
Offline Mode
  • No
Works With
  • Lightspeed Restaurant (K-Series)

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