Seeking to optimize kitchen productivity, PJ’s Coffee in West Monroe, LA, was in need of a change. Franchise owner, Austin Rookard, turned to Fresh KDS, a comprehensive kitchen display system that revolutionized the way his coffee shop functioned.
PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans was founded in 1978 by Phyllis Jordan, a pioneer in the coffee industry that demonstrated "better beans, superior roasting techniques, and pure passion for the art of coffee-making mattered."
With love for the brand and its open atmosphere, Austin Rookard proudly opened the West Monroe location on May 13, 2022. Since then, the coffee shop has been dedicated to serving unmatched coffee, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches — alongside southern hospitality, of course!
It was not always smooth sailing at the West Monroe location. Upon opening its doors, the baristas faced challenges with its existing ticket printing system. The location used Square as their point of sale and a paper kitchen printer. The paper tickets were lined up at the front counter, forcing staff to trek back and forth and memorize the items in each order.
“There was really no actual system in place, just people running around everywhere.”
Both the front and back of the house felt the inefficiency. It created traffic jams in work areas and led to baristas often making mistakes when preparing drinks. Knowing a warm cup of PJ’s Coffee is more than just a brew - it's an experience; the franchise owner took matters into his own hands.
Fresh KDS, a kitchen display system that integrates seamlessly with Square, came as a recommendation from a good friend. Recognizing the productivity benefits it offered and knowing that many fast-food chains used kitchen display technology, Austin was eager to jump on board.
He recounts the process of getting started with Fresh KDS with Square as simple, starting with purchasing his own cost-effective tablets that he still uses today. The West Monroe location operates with four Fresh KDS screens: one at the pastry case near the ovens, one in the back-of-house area, one at the hot bar, and another at the cold bar.
The transition, Austin notes, is one that has made life so much simpler. Despite initially being trained on a different system, his employees quickly adapted to using Fresh KDS. “They caught on fast,” says Austin, and the change now allows each staff member to work efficiently at their designated station.
Previously, this location was combating the issue of excess waste caused by inaccurate orders; now, however, they are taking an innovative approach toward customer satisfaction and employee success.
“We hardly ever mess up a drink now!”
Austin further comments that they have seen tremendous improvements in speed of service and accuracy with Fresh KDS. Austin remains a strong advocate for automation in restaurants, and using Fresh KDS with Square has proven to be a significant win for his coffee shop.
As Austin looks forward to opening his second franchisee location in the near future, Fresh KDS is part of his expansion plans. "I wouldn't open another store without it," Rookard said.