By: Jerry Wilson
Vice President of Merchant Services, Aldelo LP
A great many restaurants have struggled for years with how to properly pace orders going to the kitchen and to the table. Some restaurants have even resorted to taking partial orders to help with the pace of the meal. An example would be asking for an appetizer order and then coming back to the table to take the entrée order. As a diner I have always found this method a bit awkward even though I knew what the server was attempting to do.
The real problem is the kitchen being slammed with the entire order at once from several different tables and then being expected to remember when to drop the items to pace every meal in the restaurant. It is unrealistic to expect the kitchen staff to be able to meet this demand.
The same can be said for the wait staff if they are expected to not enter items into the POS system until they are ready for them to be started. It is totally unfair for the wait staff to recognize the cook times for all the items on the menu and then send the order when it is time to start cooking.
There is also the challenge of different items taking different times to cook. Sending the entire order to the kitchen and expecting all entrée items to come out together is simply unrealistic.
Let technology help. Aldelo Express has the ability to allow for items to be placed on hold and sent to the kitchen in an orderly fashion so the kitchen is not slammed and overwhelmed.
Manual Hold and Fire – Servers can place any item on hold and then return to the terminal to manually release the hold as the table is ready for the next meal course. This allows the server to watch the table and pace the meal as the needs of the customer are determined.
Timed Hold and Fire – When placing items on hold the server has options available to them for a timed hold/fire for the individual items being held. The system will display the current time and allow the server to determine the exact time that they want the item released to the kitchen. The server also has the option to place the item on hold for a specific length of time. A list of preset minutes is displayed to make selection of the hold time more convenient. Setting an automatic time to fire the item to the kitchen is also a fail-safe option in case the server is busy and forgets to return to the terminal to manually fire the item.
Entire Order Can be Entered at Once – This now allows the server to take the entire order when the customer is ready. The system will pace the items to the kitchen and insure that the customer’s dining experience is not rushed.
If needed, the entire order can be paused or placed On Hold while the server goes back to the table to ask a question. The server does not have to leave the order open on the terminal or send it before they are ready. Placing the entire order On Hold gives them the time they need to get it right.
Most POS systems struggle with the implementation and application of this feature. Some may have the ability to hold and item and manually fire the item. Fewer will have the ability to automatically fire the item based on a timer.
Let technology help smooth out your operation. Aldelo Express is able to perform all of these functions, making the application of the feature much easier for any restaurant owner.