Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant Industry’

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Kitchen Minder Review

kitchen-minder

The basic idea behind the Kitchen Minder is to inform your employees when to cook product. The Kitchen Minder aims to atticipate how much product needs to be prepared ahead of time to allow your crew to serve food fast to customers, but also reduce waste caused by crew members over estimating demand and cooking too much product. It calculates the quantity of each item to be cooked using sales data from your Point of Sale System. The underlying theory behind the KM system is very appealing, but as of this moment there are some notable short comings.

  1. Importing your product mix into the PC Minder software is a painful process.  If your QSR concept has multiple dayparts, there is a bug in the import process where you have to add lunch items to the breakfast day-part in order to then be able to add them to the lunch day-part. At the end of the process you then need to go back and delete your lunch items from the breakfast day-part.
  2. The Kitchen Minder software can only communicate over serial connection using COM ports 1-6. When testing the connectivity between the BOH computer and the Kitchen Minder, if you choose the wrong COM port and attempt to send the programming, the software will freeze up for several minutes before it finally gives you a “cables not connected” message.
  3. The way the product sales projections are calculated is weak. At the beginning of each day you are supposed to import sales data from the previous week into the system. This sounds simple enough, but what happens if last Monday it was raining? or a school bus full of kids ate at your restaurant? This will affect what the Kitchen Minder thinks you should be cooking today. In the real world you will have too many Store Managers working on different shifts for anyone to remember that maybe last weeks data isn’t likely to reflect todays sales.

There is allegedly an update to the software on the horizon that should address points 1 and 2, but I have yet to hear anything about improvements to the sales projections algorithm.


Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Get Menulink Working on Windows Vista

menulink-vista

If you are a restaurant owner and use Radiant Systems Menulink program with your point of sale system you might run into problems trying to get Menulink to work with Windows Vista. Occasionaly everything will work just fine after the install. Many times however you will wind up getting a strange error. Something like “xml parse error at root level 0″.  What is happening is that when Menulink is installed the “menulink.config” file is set with too high a security level. When you run the Menulink program for the first time it is supposed to write and save the proper connection information to this file, but it cannot because of the file permissions. The first thing you will need to do is change the permissions on the file. Navigate to:

C:Program FilesMenulink

In the folder will be a file called “menulink.config”. Depending on how your computer is set up you may not see the “.config”. Right click on the file and click on ‘properties’ then click on the ’security’ tab. In the top field click on the “All/User” or “Administrator” level then click the ‘edit permissions’ button. In the bottom field check all of the “Allow” boxes. Without this step you will not be able to make changes to the file which is what we are going to do next.
Find and open the “menulink.config” file on a different computer that is running Menulink without any issues. You may have to right click on the file and choose “Open With” or “Open” and then choose “Notepad” to view it. Copy everything that is in the good configuration file and paste it into your Vista configuration file and save it. Now try running Menulink like you normally would.

VOILA!