Routing overview

This section provides information about item and order routing.

Routing items and orders for fulfillment overview

Identifying the areas of your restaurant where employees prepare, plate or package, and coordinate delivery of ordered items to your guests, and installing kitchen printers and kitchen display system (KDS) devices in those areas, is fundamental to the success of your Toast platform restaurant. After your initial installation, you can reconfigure the system as needed to find new efficiencies and meet changing needs.

About item routing rules

An item routing rule defines a specific condition for an order that, if met, requires a change to the order fulfillment workflow. The dining option of the order, such as takeout or delivery, is the condition that causes a rule to be applied.

After you specify a dining option as the condition for your rule, you define how you want the workflow to change.

  • You specify a single prep station to reroute items from. For example, you select a prep station that is currently getting tickets for takeout orders.

    You set up a separate rule for each "from" prep station that needs a workflow change.

  • You specify one or more prep stations to reroute items to. For example, you can specify both the same prep station that currently fulfills the orders and an additional prep station (see example 1), or a completely different prep station (see example 2).

The Toast platform applies an item routing rule to all of the orders that meet the specified dining option condition as soon as you publish the rule.


The system applies these rules to all of the items in an order. If you use the Dining Option Additional Modifier Group to identify a different dining option for an item in an order, that item is routed to the same prep stations as the other items in the order.

Routing to prep stations

For an efficient order fulfillment workflow, you assign every menu item and modifier option on your menus to a prep station. In the Toast platform, a prep station represents the location of a kitchen printer or KDS device that receives orders for fulfillment.

For example, your kitchen has cold and hot stations, so you add a prep station for each one, along with another station for desserts.

A workflow diagram of an order going from Front of House to three prep stations: Cold, Hot, and Dessert.

If your restaurant has a bar, you might also add a prep station for the bar so that drink orders can be routed to the bartenders for fulfillment, and not to the kitchen.

After you add your prep stations, you assign them to your menus, menu groups, items, and even to individual modifiers, so that every item in an order can be sent immediately to the correct destination(s) for fulfillment.