Jeremy Julian

NorthStar Recipe Viewer

Implementing Automated Kitchen Management Systems

February 24, 2015

Ah, the kitchen. The heart of the restaurant. It’s truly where the magic happens, isn’t it? Where ordinary morsels of food are transformed into works of art, engaging the senses and delighting the palette.

Implementing Automated Kitchen Management Systems

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

Implementing Automated Kitchen Management Systems

Here are just a few of the benefits of an automated kitchen management system:

  • secure your recipes and easily modify them across all locations (or select ones)
  • improve food quality
  • make the process more efficient, saving on labor
  • shorten table turns
  • get food to customers quickly
  • keep reports of important data, such as speed of service and popular menu items
  • customize with colors, fonts, and graphics to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and training

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!

What successes or challenges have you experienced with implementing an automated kitchen management system? Tell us in the Comments section below!

Secure your Beloved Recipes with Recipe Viewer

October 7, 2014
Secure your Beloved Recipes with Recipe Viewer

Image courtesy of “Stuart Miles”;

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?


Secure your Beloved Recipes with Recipe Viewer

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.

If only.


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.

What is 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.

What are the benefits of using Recipe Viewer?

Here are just a few of the solutions Recipe Viewer provides:

  • The recipes are easily updated and always current across all locations
  • Recipe Viewer reduces the cost and waste of paper recipe distribution
  • The food is prepared consistently by different cooks and across all locations.
  • Recipes are secured and not able to “walk off” or fall into the wrong hands
  • You can automate your training of new staff members and cooks with videos, pictures and text recipes in each working space

How does Recipe Viewer work?

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.

What kind of hardware is needed to launch Recipe Viewer?

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.

Interested in securing your recipes with Recipe Viewer?

Do you use a digital recipe distribution system in your restaurant? Tell us about it below!

Live from Raleigh, NC: Our latest webinar with the Golden Corral IT Team.

September 24, 2013

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!

New Webinar: NorthStar Recipe Viewer Rounds Up Recipes & More at Golden Corral. Sept. 24 at 1:00pm PDT.

September 18, 2013

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.

Click here to register.

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