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Beta Member

Improvements to Square KDS and pickup times

Firstly I want to say that we got started with Square KDS a few weeks ago and overall it's been working quite well for us. We're very glad to be rid of paper tickets!

 

That said, there's a couple of annoyances with how online orders show up on the KDS that I'm hoping can be improved.

 

In general all orders appear on the KDS in the order in which the order was taken (and therefore sent to the display). This works great for in-person ordering, however online orders come in with a set pickup time which could be in 5 minutes, 20 minutes, or hours later.

 

To help mitigate this issue, we configured Square to only send the orders to the KDS when the online order is marked "In Progress". This way if it's currently 3pm and an order is set for pickup at 5pm, and we expect the order to take 15 minutes to prepare, we can wait until 4:45 before manually marking the order in progress and therefore sending it off to the KDS.

 

However this means that the person preparing the food and drinks doesn't know about those orders until the person running the POS wants them to, which means there can be some conflict there if each person thinks they should have had a different prep time for the order (this is particularly problematic if the restaurant is super busy within that 15 minute window between 4:45 and 5pm).

 

This brings me to my feature request. When an online order is sent to the KDS, the ticket display and ordering should behave differently depending on the prep time of the items in the ticket.

 

Below you'll see the algorithm that would be optimal for us.

 

Note that in the pseudocode examples below, item_longest_prep_time refers to the longest prep time of any given item on the ticket. Be aware that this is limited to the ticket, not the entire order, as some items on the order may be sent to another KDS (depending on the item's category).

 

Prep time values would come from the set prep time for each item in Square, which already exists and we already have configured accurately.

 

- if (pickup_time > cur_time + item_longest_prep_time) then: ticket appears under a separate category/tab called "Upcoming". This Upcoming tab would be alongside the "Open" and "Completed" tabs such that there would be Open, Upcoming, Completed.

- if (pickup_time <= cur_time + item_longest_prep_time) then: ticket appears as normal under the "Open" tab

 

The Upcoming tab could alternately be called "Future Pickups".

 

It would also be super handy if the person manning the KDS/prep station could drag and drop tickets to re-order them.

 

Implementing this feature request would also solve a couple other problems we have:

 

1. Drinks vs. Food prep times: when an online order is marked in progress 20 minutes before it's due, drinks from the order are sent to one KDS and food from the order is sent to another KDS. It might actually take 10-20 minutes for the food to be prepared, so this works relatively well for that KDS, but the drinks typically only take 5-7 minutes, so the ticket on the drinks KDS is just hanging out in the queue looking like it needs to be started, when it doesn't (for another 13-15 minutes). Then when additional tickets from in-person orders are sent to the KDS, they appear *after* this one, even though they need to be completed before it. As you can imagine, this frequently confuses our workflow.

2. The yellow / red ticket time indicators: since the order is marked in progress 20 minutes before the pickup time, it just sits there and turns yellow (10 minutes after being sent to the KDS) and then red (15 minutes after being sent to the KDS). This yellow/red configuration (that we set) works great for in-person orders, but for these online orders, it turns them yellow/red far too early because it's based on the time the ticket was sent to the screen and not the pickup time. If the above algorithm is implemented, presumably the yellow/red indicators wouldn't kick in until the ticket appears in the "Open" tab, thus solving this problem.

 

Thanks in advance for the consideration.

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Square Community Moderator

I bubbled up your feedback and can confirm that the team is actually working on these improvements!
 

They are also curious if your prep times shift at all depending on how busy you are, @lemondogs 🍋🍔  
IE. Do you push out your delivery or pickup windows when the kitchen gets slammed?

 

Also, a member of the team is wondering if you may be interested in hopping on a call to further discuss your feedback.
Please send me a private message here - and join the Beta Community - if this is something you're interested in doing!

 

 

 

 

 

Valentina
Community Moderator, Square
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Message 2 of 4
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Thank you Valentina, that's great to hear!

 

You asked:

 


@Valentina wrote:

They are also curious if your prep times shift at all depending on how busy you are, @lemondogs 🍋🍔  


Yes, as we get busier, prep times can take longer, though our default set prep times are currently an average rather than the lowest possible time, so that gives us a bit of buffer room. For example if a drink takes 3 minutes to prepare, we have it set to 5 minutes in Square, so we have that extra 2 minutes if needed. But you're right, sometimes it might take us 7-10 minutes when super busy.

 


@Valentina wrote:

IE. Do you push out your delivery or pickup windows when the kitchen gets slammed?


 

When the kitchen is super slammed (usually once a weekend), we temporarily turn off self-serve ordering (because it has a bug where it doesn't provide correct time estimates) and slow down window ordering by asking those in line to order online (by *not* using our self-serve QR code and instead visiting the website direct so that it forces the pickup times to be spaced out). But yes, it sure would be nice if the online ordering system would detect when we've got a lot of orders on the go (both in-person and online pickups of course) and automatically supply a longer estimated prep time on the site.

 


@Valentina wrote:

Also, a member of the team is wondering if you may be interested in hopping on a call to further discuss your feedback.
Please send me a private message here - and join the Beta Community - if this is something you're interested in doing


 

Will do. We're already in the beta community 🙂

 

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Thank you so much for the thoughtful response, @lemondogs! 🍋 

 

I passed your feedback to the team directly, and someone plans to reach out to have a deeper discussion about some of the points you've brought up here. I'll let you know if I have any updates in the meantime! 

Valentina
Community Moderator, Square
Sign in and click Mark as Best Answer if my reply answers your question.
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