Close this search box.

How Does a Kitchen Display System Work?

Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Lauren Beck

Imagine a lively restaurant kitchen, with orders constantly pouring in and a harmonious collaboration among the chefs.

Behind the scenes, a Kitchen Display System (KDS) hums efficiently, ensuring smooth order management and seamless communication. 

With my experience in restaurant kitchens, I’ll walk you through the inner workings of a KDS and how it revolutionizes kitchen operations. So, grab your chef’s hat, and let’s dive into the world of KDS magic!

How Does a Kitchen Display System Work?

A Kitchen Display System (KDS) is a digital solution to streamline order management and communication in restaurant kitchens. Here’s how it works:

  1. Integration: The KDS is connected to the restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system. This integration seamlessly transfers real-time order information from the POS to the KDS.
  2. Order Placement: When a customer places an order through the POS system, the details are instantly transmitted to the KDS. The KDS displays the order information on one or more screens located strategically in the kitchen.
  3. Order Display: The KDS presents the order in a clear and organized format on the display screens. It includes relevant details such as the order items, modifications, special instructions, and other necessary information.
  4. Order Management: Kitchen staff can view the displayed orders and assess their priority based on factors such as preparation time, order type (dine-in, takeout, delivery), and specific requirements. The KDS allows for easy organization and sorting of orders to optimize workflow.
  5. Order Progress Tracking: As the kitchen staff prepares an order, they can update its status on the KDS. This could involve marking the order as “in progress,” “cooked,” or “ready for pickup.” These status updates help track the progress of each order in real-time.
  6. Communication and Collaboration: The KDS facilitates communication between kitchen staff members. They can use the system to communicate additional details or modifications related to specific orders. This ensures accurate and efficient preparation.
  7. Order Completion: Once an order is ready, the kitchen staff can mark it as complete on the KDS. This notifies the serving staff or expeditors that the order is ready for pickup or delivery.
  8. Reporting and Analytics: Many KDS systems offer reporting and analytics features that provide valuable insights into kitchen performance. These include metrics such as order completion time, average preparation time, and order trends, which can help identify improvement areas and optimize operations.

By digitizing and automating the order management process, a Kitchen Display System helps restaurants minimize errors, improve communication, increase efficiency, and enhance the overall dining experience for customers.

What Is a Kitchen Display System?

A Kitchen Display System is a digital solution that replaces traditional paper tickets in the kitchen. 

It consists of one or more display screens strategically placed in the kitchen area, connected to the restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system. 

The KDS receives real-time orders from the POS and visually presents them to kitchen staff for preparation.

Why Does Your Restaurant Kitchen Need a Kitchen Display System?

  • Real-Time Order Management: A KDS eliminates the need for paper tickets and provides real-time order updates. This ensures kitchen staff have the most up-to-date information and can start preparing orders immediately.
  • Order Accuracy: With a KDS, there is no room for miscommunication or lost tickets. Orders are digitally displayed, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring accurate preparation.
  • Streamlined Workflow: A KDS organizes orders based on priority and timing, allowing kitchen staff to manage their tasks efficiently. It helps prevent bottlenecks and ensures that orders are prepared and served in a timely manner.
  • Enhanced Communication: Kitchen staff can communicate through the KDS, using features such as order annotations or special instructions. This improves coordination and collaboration among team members.

What are the Best Kitchen Display Systems?

Several excellent Kitchen Display Systems are available in the market, each with unique features and capabilities. Some popular options include:

  1. TouchBistro: Known for its user-friendly interface and customization options, TouchBistro offers a robust KDS that seamlessly integrates with its POS system.
  2. Toast KDS: Toast KDS is a reliable system that provides real-time order updates, advanced order routing, and customization features to meet the specific needs of different kitchen workflows.
  3. Lightspeed KDS: Lightspeed KDS offers an intuitive and customizable display system that ensures efficient order management, improved communication, and enhanced kitchen operations.

Read: How Do You Prepare a Kitchen Wall for Painting?

Benefits of Using a Kitchen Display System

Woman Using Kitchen Display System
  • Improved Efficiency: A KDS reduces order processing time, minimizes errors, and streamlines kitchen operations, resulting in faster and more efficient service [1].
  • Enhanced Accuracy: With digital order display, the chances of misreading or misplacing paper tickets are eliminated, ensuring accurate and precise order preparation.
  • Increased Productivity: The organized and prioritized order management provided by a KDS allows kitchen staff to work more efficiently, reducing wait times and improving overall productivity.
  • Better Communication: KDS systems enable seamless communication between front-of-house and back-of-house staff, enhancing coordination and collaboration.
  • Real-Time Insights: KDS systems often have reporting and analytics features, providing valuable insights into kitchen performance, order trends, and efficiency metrics.


As we wrap up this culinary exploration of Kitchen Display Systems (KDS), it’s clear that this digital marvel is a game-changer in the restaurant world. 

With real-time order management, streamlined workflow, and enhanced communication, a KDS brings efficiency to the chaotic realm of kitchen operations. From order placement to completion, the KDS ensures accuracy, speed, and a seamless flow of information. 

So, whether you’re a chef in a bustling restaurant or a curious foodie, embrace the magic of a Kitchen Display System and witness the symphony of flavors come to life. Bon appétit!


Lauren Beck
Latest posts by Lauren Beck (see all)

Leave a Comment