Back-of-the-House vs. Front-of-the-House Receipt Printers for Restaurants

Restaurants are busy work environments where mistakes can quickly snowball into kitchen backups and long wait times for tables. A restaurant POS system with both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house printers reduces the need for staff to decipher someone’s handwriting —which can mean fewer mistakes, quicker service, shorter lines, and more table turns.

However, restaurant printers are only effective if you choose the right ones. Receipt printers for restaurants aren’t usually “one size fits all.” The best printer for your kitchen might be different than the printer that sits on the counter in the dining room.

Back-of-the-House Printers: Impact Printers

The back-of-the-house is where heat, spills, particles, and steam can damage a printer to the point where it stops working—causing work to slow down or, even worse, forcing staff to handwrite tickets.

Choose an impact printer that uses bond paper that can withstand the hazards of a busy kitchen. Impact printers are designed so a printhead makes impact with an ink ribbon, transferring the message onto the receipt paper. The advantage of the ribbon is that two colors can be used, black for orders and red for modifiers. Bond paper will withstand humidity and the extreme temperatures found in hot kitchens and freezing cold storage. In addition, impact printers are loud and help to notify cooks when orders are coming in a rowdy kitchen environment.

In modern kitchens where heat and oil are well-controlled, direct thermal printers can also be used. However, they also need some very specific features, such as splash resistance, warning buzzers, and an insect-proof design, as well as some other, more optional features.

Star Micronics’ impact printer recommended for all your back-of-the-house needs includes:

  • SP742: This fast, two-color printer is built to withstand heat and humidity while offering clear and crisp type, clamshell design for easy paper loading and an embedded power supply for space efficiency. The SP742 BTi supports iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod touch® devices in addition to Android™ and Windows devices.

Front-of-the-House Printers: Thermal Printers

In the front-of-the-house, aesthetics are important and the hazards are fewer.  Thermal printers are sleekly designed and have a compact footprint, so they don’t look like electronic clutter sitting out in the open. A thermal printer is quiet and uses a printhead to apply heat that transfers characters and images to receipt paper and labels.

These receipt printers for restaurants are perfectly suited for front-of-house printing needs like customer receipts, because they have a higher resolution than impact printers, so they print crisp, clear images. For restaurants that want a nicer looking receipt, or want to print coupons and marketing information, thermal printers are the right choice.

For the front-of-the-house, Star Micronics recommends:

  • TSP143III printer line: High-speed printing of 250 mm/second and a guillotine auto cutter helps your staff do their jobs as quickly as possible. The printers are easy to set up, are cloud-ready, and compatible with AllReceipts, and they includes the futurePRNT Receipt Enhancement Tool.
  • TSP654II and TSP654IIResto: Easy to set-up and extremely fast, the TSP654II is
    extremely reliable, offers drop-in-and-print paper loading, and prints 300 mm/second. The TSP654II-Resto version is certified by “Revenu Quebec” to comply with the tax laws in the Canadian province. The TSP654II is available with WebPRNT for printing from web-based  applications and, it comes equipped for online ordering applications with CloudPRNT.

Front-of-the-House and Back-of-the-House

Star Micronics has created a state-of-the-art thermal printer recommended for all your front- and back-of-the-house needs.

  • mC-Print3: This fast, front-loading and front-exiting printer is one of the smallest printers in its class. It is the perfect solution for any restaurant. It comes with multiple connectivity options such as USB, Lightning USB, Bluetooth, and Ethernet, allowing it to connect to any PC, tablet or cloud-based software application.

In addition to its flat top design, it also includes a splash-proof enclosure to protect the printer from hazards such as water, debris, or insects when used in harsh environments or outdoors. Gain all of the benefits of a thermal receipt printer in the back-of-the-house with the mC-Print3.

Selecting a receipt printer for the front- vs. back-of-the-house restaurant environment doesn’t have to be a difficult decision. Typically, for restaurant kitchens and environments with extreme heat or cold, look for an impact printer built to withstand spills, humidity, dust particles and more. Unless, of course, you’re purchasing a Star Micronics mC-Print3, a versatile, sleek, and fast little printer that will handle both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house applications with ease. For more information, please visit www.starmicronics.com.

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