Essential Restaurant Platform Technologies for Chefs
The pandemic has dramatically shifted the restaurant industry landscape, from sharply pivoting to offer more off-premise dining to combating employee turnover. Fortunately, the creation of several viable vaccines has provided a light at the end of the tunnel. As life slowly begins to return to some semblance of normality, the restaurant industry will face new challenges in rebuilding bigger and better than ever. The tech that you need may already be in your stack. Let’s look at the essential restaurant platform technologies for chefs. Remember that operators can execute any of these ends when compiled into a restaurant platform, no matter where the industry goes.
Kitchen Display System
A kitchen display system (KDS) likely is one of the restaurant platform technologies already available to you. Whether starting fresh or rebuilding, a KDS is the heart of your kitchen operation. The right KDS offers features that enhance your operational efficiencies by minimizing bottlenecks in your back-of-house (BOH) and providing quality control mechanisms to avoid mispacks or orders sent back. Look for features like:
- Meal Coursing – This feature allows each meal to come out simultaneously by delaying items with shorter cook times.
- Order Throttling – A dynamically responsive quote manager who adjusts order ready times to match incoming orders. This feature is masterful in managing in-house and off-premise order types and can help you avoid customer misinformation.
- Data Analytics – Data analytics tools are standard in the tech industry and just as useful in your restaurant. Through data analytics, you can better plan for tomorrow’s needs by pulling from historical data.
- Tag-On-Touch – A quality control feature of a robust KDS that allows your BOH staff to mark off only completed order items without inadvertently deleting the entire order and potentially missing out on any aspect of the total meal.
These features only touch the surface of what a robust KDS has to offer. Your choice of KDS should be nimble enough to allow for modularity within your tech stack as a point-of-sale agnostic device that provides you with the freedom of choice. That same agility in functionality is useful in building out the platform that works best for your needs, no matter your restaurant segment.
With off-premise dominating so much of the restaurant traffic in 2020, restaurateurs need a way to avoid bottlenecks in service. Capacity management is a tool that helps restaurateurs sustain their quality and quantity during times of high demand. By responding to your restaurant tech platform’s information, capacity management can assess your bandwidth and send out realistic quote times to help you avoid getting overwhelmed. In doing so, capacity management prevents customers from receiving misinformation about their order ready times, leading to frustrations.
Early lockdown protocols hobbled the industry, leaving nearly ⅔ of all restaurant employees unemployed. With warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, restaurants could utilize their outdoor seating, bringing in customers eager for more and giving the restaurant industry a boost. Still, many restaurants have had difficulty replacing staff. Fortunately, a recipe viewer effectively training your BOH employees while maintaining consistency in your food quality. Keep in mind that you can augment these tools with phantom tickets to instruct your staff on important protocols outside of the kitchen.
There are various pieces of hardware in any kitchen, from your appliances to the logistical tools needed to enhance your restaurant platform’s operational efficiency. Your KDS requires a monitor to show your BOH staff the necessary information and the accompanying mounts to secure the device. Since restaurants deal with food, ensuring your hardware’s security is critical, so don’t forget the adjoining protective coverings.
To operate your KDS, you need a few accouterments. For example, you will need a bump bar to affect the items on the screen. An alternative solution to bump bars is touch screens, which allow users to interact with their monitor directly. Likewise, a KDS will require a controller, which is effectively the computer that operates the system, and it needs one that can perform in dynamic environments.
There are a few more accessories required to realize your restaurant efficiencies. In addition to the mounts, monitors, and protective encasements, you need something to control your device. Fortunately, there is hardware designed with the flexibility to work both with your KDS, your restaurant management system, and that can integrate with your point of sale system. This modularity is imperative to a thriving restaurant platform, as you can replace and upgrade your hardware and software knowing that you have the support to pivot from one piece of tech to the next.
Order Management System
Off-premise dining has shifted from an additional revenue stream in development to an integral aspect of the restaurant industry in 2020. Thus, order management systems are a useful piece of your restaurant platform technology in ensuring that each order is delivered to the right person at the right time. Order management systems combine your back-and-front-of-house tech with helping direct orders by destination.
That means that your curbside, takeout, and delivery orders are sorted not only by type but by who might be picking them up. While an order aggregator is not a uniquely BOH tool, it does assist greatly in the handful from your kitchen staff to your expo station and on to the appropriate delivery driver.
From Curbside and Beyond – Off-Premise Delivery Tech
Of off-premise dining options, curbside has grown in popularity. Fortunately, there are technological tools that can make any off-premise dining strategy a success. Using a curbside order as an example, let’s look at how your tech platform’s various pieces combine to enhance your operations.
First, an order is placed by phone or online. Once received, your system sends an order confirmation via SMS text. Inside, the order is sent to your KDS. While the customer waits, they can check their order status. Unlike some order tracking systems, the right KDS can provide real-time order statuses, which can also provide any updates that may come up between you and your guest. Upon arrival, a guest can signal that they’ve arrived again through their smart device. That sends a message to your platform, alerting your staff that the order is ready to go.
Restaurant Platform Conclusion
As you can see, there are many essential restaurant platform technologies. These tools are designed to make their jobs easier, to train, and to protect your investment. Did we miss anything? Sign off in the comments below.
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About the Author
Syd was a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot.