QSR Kitchen Automation Helps T.G.I. Friday’s Get That Friday Feeling

Call Systems Technology supplies ConnectSmart kitchen display solution, bringing powerful flexibility and fundamental time improvements to restaurant operations

Operating 52 restaurants in the UK, T.G.I. Friday’s® is one of the world’s favourite restaurant brands, known for creating an entertaining dining

“Our restaurants are fast paced and change constantly.  Our IT solutions must be innovative and adaptable, as we continuously enhance our service style,” says Jeremy Dunderdale, head of information technology for T.G.I. Friday’s UK.

Dunderdale therefore approached Call Systems Technology (CST) to trial the QSR Automations® ConnectSmart® kitchen display software and hardware in his restaurants.  The system comprises the ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK) graphical software, xCeed® kitchen controllers and KP-7500™ keypads and bracketing.  The T.G.I. Friday’s solution also includes complete pre- and post- implementation and professional services from QSR’s strategic partner in the UK, CST.

Dunderdale states “Hundreds of T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in the United States have been benefitting from QSR’s CSK for years, so it was natural for the UK operation to try the system.

“CSK’s flexibility and power enables us to easily implement new kitchen operational practices.  This factor is one of the main reasons we asked CST to replace our existing kitchen system across all of our restaurants.”

Using CSK, line chefs only see the items they are responsible for preparing, and only when it is time to prepare them.  The CSK ensures that all the items for a table are completed at the same time, and are properly plated, so that guests receive their meals together, hot and freshly prepared, even if they have different cook times and are prepared at different kitchen stations.  Managers can tell from a glance at the display screen the status of each item and order, while the CSK’s zone support ensures that correct menu items go out with the correct order.

“The CSK’s powerful abilities group individual orders according to stations and manage cook timing, driving significant improvements in our operations during the trials,” says Dunderdale. “After reviewing CSK several members of our store management teams told me there was no way they would go back to the old system.”

The CSK system enables the kitchen team to prioritise orders when needed and tag individual items for additional quality assurance purposes. In addition to reducing team stress and improving ticket times, T.G.I. Friday’s has achieved a reduction in wastage because the CSK ensures that all orders reach the table in tip top condition.

Dunderdale says, “We know there is yet more to be gained with CSK.  Next on our list are customised reports including speed of service metrics, graphical menu cards and alerts for things like hand washing and temperature probes.”

T.G.I. Friday’s is also reviewing other QSR solutions.  “QSR’s ConnectSmart is critical in what our business wants to deliver, helping us to constantly provide a great dining experience and giving us the tools to understand and ensure that guests have the best possible time in our restaurants.  Through CST’s expertise with CSK we have a truly powerful solution,” Dunderdale adds.

Ashley Sheppard, Commercial Director for CST, said “We are delighted to be working with Jeremy and the team at T.G.I. Friday’s and are very proud to be associated with a brand that has re-emerged as the leader in its field, recently recognised with the Evolution Award. We are confident that T.G.I. Friday’s will continue to see tremendous operational enhancements from deploying CSK and we look forward to growing our working relationship over the coming years.”

Call Systems Technology is the strategic partner for QSR Automations in the UK and Europe. For details, UK Freephone 0800 389 5642, call +44 (0) 20 8381 1338, email sales@qsrautomations.co.uk or visit the QSR-CST website www.qsrautomations.co.uk.