Comparing Square POS & Square For Restaurants
If you’ve been to a cafe or small restaurant in the past handful of years, the chances are good you’re familiar with Square. The processing and point of sale juggernaut is a boon for small business owners thanks to the simplicity of its design and its overall affordability. But if you’ve decided to go with Square for your POS needs or have it pegged as one of your top contenders, you’ll have to consider what plan best suits your small business.
Square POS is known for its free app, which comes with a free basic card reader, along with some fairly robust features for the cost. However, if your business is growing or has some more complex needs, you may find some aspect of the free app lacking. Fortunately, if you love Square’s processing structure and its interface, you have some additional options. Square has a pair of advanced platforms geared specifically to retail shops and restaurants. In this post, we’ll focus on what separates Square for Restaurants from the free app.
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Obviously the cost of the free app is… just that. It’s free and, if all you need is some basic functionality and a swipe card reader, you’re not going to be out of pocket much at all. Square for Restaurants costs $60 a month plus $40 a month for each additional device on location. There is also a slight difference in processing fees. For the free app, you’ll pay 2.75% across the board while Square for Retail charges 2.6% plus 10 cents.
This is one of the few areas where Square for Restaurants actually lags a bit behind its free counterpart. You can only use Square for Restaurants on iPad tablets whereas the Square app works on mobile phones and Android devices. Square for Restaurants also is currently not compatible with Square Register.
Both Square and Square for Restaurants are cloud-based, storing all of your information on remote servers that you can access on your device. Both feature an offline mode that allows you to store encrypted card information and take payments, processing them when an internet connection is restored. Square for Restaurants carries over its simple and intuitive design to the restaurant world. Its table layout and management features are basic with easy color coding that should be a snap for servers and hostesses to navigate. Common functions, like check splitting, can be done with just a few taps and there is tableside ordering functionality to improve efficiency. You can also add and customize items with both products, send digital receipts, and receive and respond to customer feedback.
A few unique features also exist, such as the ability to change the lighting on the tablets depending on your restaurant’s preferred ambiance. The interface is also fully customizable, allowing you to change the floor plan of your business or the color coding system easily. Its mechanism for modifications is also extremely intuitive, walking servers through the steps quickly.
The free Square app gives you a solid starter pack of features and, if your business has a limited number of employees or a small number of tables, it will probably be more than functional. Both products allow you to view your inventory in real time and automatically build a customer database. Square for Restaurants adds just a handful of other touches to expand its scope and make its product viable for small to mid-sized full-service restaurants.
- Menu Creation: Square for Restaurants allows you to built menus at any time and split them by time of day.
- Floor Plans: You can lay out your restaurant according to your own specifications and track covers.
- Modifiers: A nice feature to have that is missing from the free app is the ability to take orders through conversational ordering and forced modifiers, taking guesswork away from your servers.
- Coursing: Set up one-tap firing and holding.
- Tips: For a large number of employees, Square for Restaurants lets you settle batch transactions and tips.
- Reports: Square for Restaurants has slightly more advanced reports, allowing you to generate cover, menu, labor, and revenue center lists.
- Customer Service: The free app only provides you with limited hours for direct customer service but, with Square for Restaurants, you get 24/7 technical support.
If you like simplicity and you’re looking for an affordable, no-frills POS system, you’re going to like Square. The free app comes with plenty of things that you just won’t find anywhere else without having to pay a monthly fee and its processing rates are competitive and upfront. It is tailor-made for cafes or small, single-room restaurants, giving you the ability to turn over customers quickly and throwing in some bonus inventory and reporting features.
Square for Restaurants opens the doors to larger restaurants that need a little more organization. Although there aren’t a ton of features added, what Square for Restaurants does give you (table mapping, menu creation, customization, and advanced customer support) makes it an option for pretty much everyone short of large-scale chains. And, at $60 a month, it’s still very competitive with other similar restaurant POS products.