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June 3, 2024

How a KDS Can Help You Keep Customers in the Loop


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For your customers, one of the most important factors of good service comes down to communication and setting realistic expectations. For example, you wouldn’t serve a menu item that had different ingredients than you listed in the menu or showed in the picture. In the same way, you wouldn’t want to take longer than expected to make an order. Suffice to say, communication is a big part of helping your customers feel in the loop and satisfied with your service.

Your kitchen display system can help keep your customers informed throughout order preparation and delivery. Keep reading for tips on improving communication for your customers for a memorable and positive experience.

The Importance of Communication in Restaurants

Why should you keep your customers in the loop? For starters, communication directly impacts restaurant customer service and operational efficiency. Deloitte reported the most important elements of a positive customer experience were:

  • Friendly and authentic service (34%)
  • Real-time information (22%)
  • Listening to customer needs (20%)

Set Customer Expectations With Real-Time Order Updates

Keeping customers in the loop about their order status helps reduce frustration and ensures their expectations are aligned with reality. By providing timely updates, restaurants can enhance the dining experience, build trust, and foster repeat business.

Identify Bottlenecks or Problem Stations With KDS Reporting

A kitchen display system (KDS) that tracks your station times can help you identify where things are getting held up. It’s smart to look at the outliers on wait times in a given day, because your average order time may not align with the experiences of certain customers.

For example, did a carryout customer have to wait longer than the estimated pickup time because of an increase in dine-in orders? Understanding where a minority of customers had a frustrating experience can help you address the issue and create a more consistent service that supports a solid reputation.

Reduce Stress for Staff to Encourage a More Friendly Service

The stress and chaos of the kitchen can burn out employees or leave them feeling stretched too thin. A KDS helps reduce stress for staff by streamlining order management, ensuring that tasks are clear and prioritized. This efficiency allows employees to focus more on food preparation and customer interaction, rather than managing chaotic paper tickets. 

A happier staff ultimately means your staff can provide friendlier, more attentive service, which in turn enhances the overall dining experience for customers. 

What is the Purpose of a Kitchen Display System (KDS)?

A Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a digital solution that replaces traditional paper tickets with electronic displays to manage and streamline kitchen orders. By organizing and prioritizing orders in real-time, a KDS makes it easier for your kitchen staff to work efficiently, reducing preparation times and minimizing errors. 

This technological advancement directly impacts the customer experience by ensuring that orders are processed swiftly and correctly. Some kitchen display systems even offer customer-facing communication solutions, providing real-time updates on order status to keep customers informed.

4 Benefits of a KDS for Customers

How does a KDS help provide a better experience for your customers? The right system can help you support your customers and unlock efficiencies they value. Here are four things you should get out of a KDS.

Enhancing Order Accuracy

A recent survey noted that 60% of restaurant leaders feel order accuracy is a weak point. 

A KDS can help your kitchen significantly reduce the chance of order errors by automatically sending orders to your kitchen exactly how they are entered into the POS system. With notes about special allergy considerations or pickup times, you can help your staff ensure each dish is prepared exactly as requested. This leads to a more satisfying dining experience for customers, as they receive their meals correctly and consistently every time.

Streamlining Kitchen Operations

Keeping orders progressing on time is a crucial part of providing a positive experience for your customers. A KDS helps organize and prioritize orders, improving workflow and efficiency in the kitchen. As a result, customers benefit from faster service and a smoother dining experience, with fewer delays and miscommunications.

Keeping Customers Informed

Providing your customers with real-time insights can help them feel you are being transparent and staying engaged in the experience. KDS systems can integrate with customer-facing technologies to provide SMS text updates on order status. This transparency keeps customers in the loop, reducing the unknowns about wait times so they can get their food when it is fresh and at the optimal temperature.

Reducing Wait Times

People don’t want to wait longer than expected to pick up an order or get food delivered to their table. A good experience requires a reliable production time. With a KDS, kitchens can process orders more quickly and efficiently, minimizing the time customers wait for their food. Shorter wait times lead to greater customer satisfaction and a higher likelihood of repeat visits.

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How To Customize Your Customer’s Experience

Personalizing your customer's experience is a powerful way to differentiate your restaurant, coffee shop, or food truck from the competition. Start by understanding your customers’ preferences and dietary needs. Your KDS can help you ensure accurate order preparation by alerting your team to ingredient changes or noting allergy requests. Use your ordering system to keep track of repeat customers’ favorite dishes or drinks, and a quick reorder option based on their past orders.

You can use targeted promotions and loyalty programs to provide a better experience for your customers. Utilize your POS system to analyze customer purchase patterns and send personalized offers or discounts on their favorite items. For instance, if a customer frequently orders a specific type of coffee, send them a special offer for that drink. Implementing a loyalty program where customers earn points for their purchases can also encourage repeat visits.

Enhance the personal touch by incorporating customer feedback into your service improvements. Encourage your patrons to provide feedback on their dining experience, whether through digital surveys, comment cards, or social media. Use this feedback to make adjustments and improvements that cater to your audience. By continuously refining your approach based on customer insights, you can create a dining experience that fosters loyalty and boosts word-of-mouth recommendations that lead to more business.

Case Study Success Story: How JJ Fish & Chicken Improved Customer Experience with Fresh KDS

JJ Fish & Chicken is a beloved Chicago staple operating in multiple states and known for its fresh, made-to-order meals. At the Fulton location in Atlanta, General Manager Kaldon Alfaouri implemented Fresh KDS with Clover POS to elevate operations. Replacing the traditional handwritten tickets with digital displays reduced the communication errors caused by illegible handwriting and inconsistent abbreviations, ensuring a smoother process for kitchen staff and a better dining experience for customers.

The results were a clear improvement on the traditional process. The digital transformation resulted in a significant 50% reduction in wait times for customers.

The adoption of Fresh KDS not only improved order accuracy and speed but also positively impacted staff training and retention at JJ Fish & Chicken. The intuitive digital system fits right into the workflow, reducing stress and leading to a more stable team. 

With three Fresh KDS screens in use, two in the kitchen and one in the prep area, each station had a clear view of the same tickets, enabling efficient and synchronized order preparation. This efficiency translated into shorter wait times and happier customers, making the Fulton location one of the busiest and most successful in the chain.

Fresh KDS: Happy employees. Happy customers. Happy you.

Implementing Fresh KDS in your restaurant is a game-changer. Our system integrates seamlessly with your existing POS and offers the features that are most relevant to your workflow, such as real-time order tracking, customizable displays, and workstation synchronization. With Fresh, you’re investing in a reliable and user-friendly system to help your team streamline operations and provide a better customer experience.

Don’t wait to set up your KDS. The sooner you implement it, the quicker you'll reap the benefits. Get a free trial and carve out just 10 minutes of your busy schedule to get Fresh set up on your screens.

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