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Kobas In-Venue Systems – Past, Present and Future

Neil Mukerji
03 Jan 2023 3min read

This month we unveil version 6 of our Kobas In-Venue system, which adds the Kitchen Display System to our suite of applications built on Kobas EPoS. While this post highlights that release, today I’d like to look back at how we got here, and what’s next.

Let’s start with a look at the major versions, their names, and their release dates

  • Version 1 – 2012 – “Genesis”
  • Version 2 – 2013 – “Responsive”
  • Version 3 – 2014 – “Loyalty”
  • Version 4 – 2016 – “Reservations”
  • Version 5 – 2020 – “Online Ordering”
  • Version 6 – 2022 – “Kitchen Display System”

Versions 1, 2 and 3 were pure Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) and are covered in this post from 2015. These were our formative years where we took a basic EPoS system suitable for cocktail bars and baked in enterprise resilience and scale.

With v2 we gained the ability to run on any screen size, and so we were able to launch MPoS (Mobile Point of Sale), as well as being able to re-use hardware from a variety of manufacturers.

With v3 we added the Kobas customer loyalty scheme, allowing operators to reward their customers with both product and cash-based incentives. This was later extended to include “boosters” – giving operators the ability to target additional incentives for customers to visit during quiet periods, or to purchase particular lines of stock.

Version 4 introduced reservations covering both table and accommodation bookings. So, since 2016 it has been possible to collect deposits ahead of time, integrate with third-party systems such as InnStyle, spawn tabs from those reservations, and generally manage pre-arranged bookings both in Kobas Cloud and directly on our In-Venue systems.

In the following years, we built incrementally upon these foundations, always innovating, and adding value to our In-Venue systems, but without striding out in a significant new direction. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything for the hospitality industry. Following the imposition of the lockdown in March 2020, online ordering for collection and home delivery was the only way to trade. To reopen and welcome guests in July 2020, it was essential to permit customers to order while seated at tables, ideally without interacting with staff at that point.

So in 2020 we dropped all other plans and prioritised Version 5, “Online Ordering”, which we launched ahead of Saturday 4th July 2020 as hospitality was allowed to reopen. From home, customers could browse menus, put together a basket and pay online for collection or delivery. From within a venue, customers could scan a QR phone on their own device that would take them straight to the menu, while automatically noting their venue and tab. Kobas online ordering was an essential game-changer, taking our In-Venue systems to the next level.

In 2021 our team delivered a significant extension to online ordering to support multiple trader food halls, a concept rapidly growing in popularity. In a multiple-trader food hall, customers can convene in a shared space, buying food and drink from various independent traders. The Kobas multi-venue ordering app allows those customers to order and pay from their own device, browsing different menus from all those traders. From the customer’s point of view, it’s a single order and payment combined for all the traders, while from the trader’s point of view they receive an online order for just the food and drink they need to provide.

Now in 2023, we are excited to announce the launch of KDS, which adds an important new dimension to the Kobas In-Venue offering. KDS traditionally stands for Kitchen Display System, and that’s certainly a part of our new product. Yet we believe its use extends beyond the kitchen into drink preparation stations and beyond, so you’ll also see us refer to it as the Kobas Display System. No matter how you look at it, KDS brings important clarity and control to food and drink preparation areas, far exceeding what’s possible with traditional printers and paperwork dockets.

Looking ahead we aren’t short of ideas as to how to extend our In-Venue systems, and we are happy to share those, but we are of course sadly limited by time to implement them all straight away! First and foremost, we will augment KDS, taking it from its current form to a more feature-rich management system. We would like to produce a different version of KDS more suited to a collection point screen, clearly showing the progress and readiness of orders – this would be useful for both customer collection and driver collection points. We also have plans to provide slick and simple kiosk software to allow customers to place orders in a venue on touchscreens. Our customer-facing screens are due for an overhaul and could be extended to provide in-venue menu screens suitable for quick-service venues. Watch this space.

We’ve discussed all these great ideas and many more, so you can rest assured we won’t stop innovating. We hope KDS can help take your venue to the next level, and we’re excited to continue to expand the Kobas In-Venue system to do everything we can to make it simple for hospitality operators to run their businesses intelligently, efficiently and profitably.

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