With COVID-19 restrictions putting the future of the restaurant front of house in question, many restaurant tech companies are turning to the back of house as the next area for innovation. Case in point: Today, Square, a company best known for its payments system, unveiled a kitchen display system that organizes and displays the flow of tickets coming into the back of house from multiple different sales channels. The feature is available to new and existing Square for Restaurants subscribers, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
Dubbed Square KDS, the system replaces paper tickets and can process orders coming from multiple different ordering sources — of which there are many these days. With restaurant dining rooms either closing again or operating at reduced capacity, more customers are ordering via delivery platforms (e.g., DoorDash) or restaurants’ digital storefronts, in addition to the business’ in-house POS system. The idea is to do away with humans having to manage these multiple order streams by automating the organization of each ticket and in the process speeding up the time it takes to receive, cook, and prep an order and get it out the door.
According to today’s press release the KDS system can also track how long the kitchen is taking to prepare orders at each step of the process. The feature is available to Square for Restaurants customers as of now, with the option to try the product free for 30 days.
Square’s new system is tackling the same challenge delivery integrators like ChowNow, Chowly, and Ordermark have been doing for some time now. The big difference is that Square is also a payments processing company with an existing suite of restaurant tech including a POS system. In theory, at least, that means adding one less piece of tech to the stack for restaurants that are already using the Square for Restaurants system, of which KDS is now a part. At a time when restaurants have an overwhelming number of options to choose from when it comes to technology, a simpler setup could be enticing.
Square’s move into the back of house is also wise considering the demand these days for ghost kitchens and the number of restaurants shifting from brick-and-mortar locations to delivery-only business models. In many cases, the days of the traditional restaurant dining room are gone as businesses evolve to stay relevant with the (highly turbulent) times. Restaurant companies must do the same, which is what Square looks to be doing with this latest product.