Customers envision that behind those double doors are brilliant chefs (usually European – why is that?) in clean white coats and tall hats, hard at work creating their culinary masterpieces, floating about the kitchen with inspiring classical music playing in the background, a glistening of sweat on their brow. It’s a fantastic mystery, like the inner workings of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
We’ll just let them carry on with that fantasy…but we know the truth. While the kitchen is indeed the heart of a restaurant, often it ends up being more of a chaotic madhouse than a well-oiled machine. It’s hot, greasy, noisy, and (hopefully) incredibly busy in there. People are yelling orders, bumping into one another, and scurrying from station to station to get orders out on time.
Streamlining Service to Focus on Food
Any restaurateur knows that in order to create customer loyalty, the customers have to be happy. And to keep them happy, you have to provide great food and great service. We can’t help with the food (though we are more than happy to eat it and provide our feedback), but we CAN help with the service. Obviously your wait staff is key to creating a positive customer experience, but another very important component of great service happens in the kitchen.
The right kitchen management program will keep your kitchen organized and running smoothly, with specific (and correct!) orders coming in for all the kitchen staff to see. You’ll be able to keep the hot food hot and the cold food cold, arrange it beautifully on the plate, and place it in front of the guest in a timely manner. This entire process can be streamlined with an automated kitchen management system.
Related Post: 5 Tips for Adding Touchscreen Technology to Your Kitchen
Here are just a few of the benefits of an automated kitchen management system:
A well-constructed kitchen management system will come with a terminal that is built to withstand the heat and humidity common to the kitchen environment.
Products such as Northstar Order Entry, Northstar Recipe Viewer, QSR Automations ConnectSmart Kitchen, and Bematech KDS Manager v3.1 are all valuable software that can provide your business with more metrics and provide your staff with the information they need to do their jobs correctly and efficiently.
These softwares will allow you to view, edit, and keep secure your beloved recipes; plan ahead for rush periods; transfer orders to other (less busy) kitchen stations in a rush; move a rush order to the top of the queue; view statistical reports for each station; and more. Pretty much anything that’s been necessary but difficult to keep track of manually can now be automated, making your life easier and the information much more accurate, and helping your business stick around for the long haul. Whew!
How does your restaurant document, organize, and secure its recipes? There are the good old fashioned flip cards, binders, and laminated sheets. For those who like to live on the edge, how about post-it notes, or old scraps of paper strewn about the kitchen?
You DO have recipe documents, right? (Please tell us you have recipe documents.)
Hopefully it goes without saying that all of the methods mentioned above have inherent weaknesses. A simple guest of wind from an air conditioner or open door can blow your recipes to kingdom come. How easy would it be for a coveted recipe to fall into the hands of a careless staff member, a former cook with a vendetta, or worst of all, a competitor?
If only there were a product out there that could house all your recipes in one secure place and distribute them where you need them to be.
Aha! Lucky for you, Custom Business Solutions (CBS) has created just the thing you need: Recipe Viewer. Restaurants such as Golden Corral, BJ’s, and Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar are all using and benefitting from Recipe Viewer.
Recipe Viewer is a digital recipe distribution system that allows you to automate your kitchen’s recipe management system. CBS has launched Recipe Viewer in many restaurants to help each of them solve a number of common issues found with the traditional (often costly) way of distributing recipes.
Here are just a few of the solutions Recipe Viewer provides:
The system works via a centralized database with touch screen terminals in each kitchen. The central database is either hosted on the corporate headquarters for the restaurant or hosted in the cloud. The database contains all the images, recipes, videos, and notes that each menu item needs to be consistent and delicious. These all have the ability to be pushed online to one location, a few select locations, or all locations.
In each kitchen, the cooks can access recipes in several different ways. First, there is a convenient search function that eliminates the need to flip through pages upon pages of recipes. It provides pictures and videos to help the cooks deliver consistent dishes each time. It also works seamlessly with the QSR Automations bump pad to help make every kitchen even more efficient. Recipe Viewer is also able to display recipes in multiple languages to cater to those who are more comfortable working with languages other than English.
We have found great success with IBM Anyplace Kiosk devices. We have also had several customers deploy their own hardware. Products from HP, Elo Touch screens, and Apple iPads have been put into the field with varied levels of success.
On the administrative end, the tool is easy to use, easy to train, and easy to deploy. The administrator view has functionality to upload the videos and pictures, and to modify the text and category for each recipe. You can also search recipes by component, which can be incredibly valuable when food prices fluctuate or certain foods should be avoided due to customer allergies or recall. For example, over the years there have been a few nationwide spinach scares due to E. Coli. Customers were able to easily identify each recipe that contained spinach and substitute it for another item.
The Restaurant Technology Guys were in Raleigh, NC for today’s webinar with the Golden Corral IT team. Golden Corral is in the midst of a multi-year project to implement NorthStar Recipe Viewer in their 500+ restaurants across the U.S. In today’s program Ann Perez, VP Information Technology and Karen Amstutz, Manager IT Instore Systems for Golden Corral shared their insights about the impact Recipe Viewer is making for this growing national chain. We are very thankful to Ann and Karen for their great comments and for taking the time to share their experience — and we hope you all found it valuable too. If you missed the webinar here’s a link to the video recording.
Those of you who know us won’t be surprised to hear that before the webinar we took a little side trip to the campus of Duke University where Gary managed to set foot on the hardwood at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Duke Blue Devils Basketball arena. He’s still walking on air!
You will want to sign up for our upcoming webinar with the IT execs from Golden Corral. Anne Perez, VP Information Technology and Karen Amstutz, Manager IT Instore Solutions will join us for a lively discussion about the recent deployment of NorthStar Recipe Viewer to the more than 480 Golden Corral kitchens across the U.S.