How Does a POS Communicate With the Kitchen?

Kitchen printers need to withstand the demands of a busy restaurant. They are designed to be fast and loud. Why loud? In a busy kitchen, orders are constantly flowing and the printer must be heard within a noisy and, often times, hectic environment. Kitchen printers are equipped with buzzers to help the kitchen staff avoid missing orders.

Are kitchen printers the same as receipt printers?

No. Receipt printers use thermal printing technology while kitchen printers use impact printing technology. Thermal printers are not used in kitchens because the heat would damage the thermal paper and smudge the tickets.

How does the POS system communicate with the kitchen printer?

Most kitchen printers are connected over the network. This way, any POS terminal can print to the same printer. Networked printers also allow terminals to communicate with them over a long distance - for example, while receipt printers are connected directly to a POS terminal, kitchen printers are often located dozens of feet away from the computer. Kitchen printers are typically plugged into the network through a router and/or switch.

How do multiple kitchen printers work? How can I print to different stations at my restaurant?

Many restaurants operate different stations within their kitchen for different order types - maybe an appetizer station, a salad station, and a entree station. To improve efficiency, separate kitchen printers can be used at each location and different menu items can then print to the appropriate station. So, all apps will print to the appetizer station, all salad orders will print to the salad station, and all entrees will print to the entree station.

Can I print modifiers in red?

Yes. Many restaurants print modifiers in red to distinguish them in the kitchen.