Square For Restaurants POS Review
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- Date Established
- San Francisco, California
- Cost efficient
- Extremely easy-to-use interface
- Delivery options included
- Square App Marketplace
- Weak on the back end
- Occasional fund holds
Well, it was only a matter of time. Square has had a busy year or so. After coming out with Square for Retail and the game-changing Square Register, it seemed imminent that the wildly popular company would break out its own restaurant-specific software in a timely manner. Voila! Now we have Square for Restaurants.
Square has very much stayed on brand here, with an exceptionally simple and functional program that anyone with even a passing familiarity with Square will be able to master with very little training. Of course, you get Square’s affordable and simple-to-understand processing fees, along with access to the Square App Marketplace. Within the system itself is a solid reporting suite and basic but comprehensive inventory and employee management.
Square’s appeal is always going to be its simplicity and affordability. It’s not a system you’re going to have to spend a lot of time thinking about. Are there other POS systems for restaurants with more bells and whistles for only slightly more money? Absolutely. Square for Restaurants definitely has areas where it can improve — and I suspect it will in the near future. But, in terms of ease of use and functionality, Square has another success on its hands.
Table of Contents
Square for Restaurants’ pricing platform is clearly laid out. You get your first station, which runs on a standard iPad, for $60 a month and all other stations are $40 a month. For processing, Square charges 2.6% plus 10 cents per tap, dip, or swipe.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
As with all of Square’s software, Square for Restaurants is cloud-based and your account and data is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Square was built to run on iOS devices and currently only runs on the iPad, but the company plans to make it available for Androids running 5.0 or later in the near future.
You can probably piece this one together yourself, but I get paid to answer the tough questions. Square for Restaurants is designed to be used…in restaurants. You can certainly use this software for your quick-service cafe or bar, but if you’re not planning on using many of its specialized features for full-service restaurants, you may still be better off with the free Square app.
Specific Size Of Business
As mentioned, Square for Restaurants works for pretty much any type of food service industry. If you’re a smaller operation with limited inventory or reporting needs, you may be able to get by with the original Square product. I also would hesitate to recommend it for very large or high-volume full-service restaurants as there are better products on the market specifically geared to handle that type of establishment and Square’s processing fees can add up quickly if you’re making a ton of sales from day to day. However, as always, Square’s wheelhouse continues to be the small to mid-sized market which this product serves to a tee.
Hardware & Operating System Requirements
While Square POS runs on pretty much any relatively up-to-date iOS device and many Android devices, Square for Restaurants really works best on an iPad. You’ll want a relatively large screen to make use of its table mapping and menu management. Square sells iPad stands on its website and, if you’re starting from scratch, you can purchase things like printers and cash drawers in a variety of hardware packages directly from the company, all of which will pair seamlessly with the software.
Ease Of Use
It’s Square…so it’s easy to use. It’s truly impressive how well Square has been able to flow in its simplistic and functional interface and make it work in a much more complex setting like the restaurant industry. Square for Restaurants offers a generous free trial, allowing you to tinker before locking into a purchase. Setting up your account is simple and, if you have existing data with a Square account, it transfers automatically.
Table mapping is a function that POS systems are consistently making more and more intuitive, but Square for Restaurants takes it up a notch. You can lay out your entire restaurant in a matter of minutes and make changes with a simple tap. As is consistent with the Square brand, the interface isn’t overly flashy, utilizing a standard color-coding system. Everything is customizable as well, even down to the brightness of your screen (depending on the ambiance you’re going for).
You can click on a table and split checks easily, dragging items to individual seats. Menu creation is also a breeze and fully customizable. Add photos and descriptions of products and change from a lunch to dinner menu with one touch. Square has one of the most intuitive systems for modifiers I’ve seen as well, guiding servers through forced-items or optional selections with minimal touches or swipes.
Square for Restaurants doesn’t have many holes, featuring everything you would expect from a top-rated restaurant POS. But here are a few areas where Square stands out:
- Table Mapping: Set up your entire restaurant in a matter of minutes. Customize your layout with an easy-to-digest color coding system. Assign checks per table or per customer with a simple tap.
- Menu Creation: Create as many menus as your restaurant needs and switch between them with just a tap. Menus are customizable and items can feature pictures and descriptions to help servers. Discounts, special sales, and happy hour events etc., can be set up with special pricing automatically implemented.
- Check Splitting: Items can be individually assigned to customers. Quick splits are also done with a single tap, cutting the bill into halves, thirds, or quarters.
- Table Management: For higher-end restaurants, you can plot out coursing, switching items between courses before sending them to the kitchen. You can also track how long customers have been at the table and check on the status of their meal.
- Automatic Gratuity: Another Square specialty. You can create automatic gratuity prompts for customers to increase profits or add specific percentages for large groups.
- Tableside Ordering: Cut down on errors from table to kitchen by allowing servers to enter orders directly from the table while giving them more opportunities to interact and serve customers.
- Delivery Integration: Square has paired with Caviar to help customers set up delivery or pick-up options for the restaurant which can all be managed directly from the POS. Customize orders for For Here, Delivery, or Pick Up.
- Reporting: Among other standard reports for managing your business, Square lets you check exactly what type of discounts are being given to customers and the amounts. You can review sales by floor plan and by bulk or individual modifier sets. Review labor costs quickly in a simple-to-process layout. You can also set up a variety of customized reports for your individual needs.
- Employee Management: Track voids and discounts to cut down on fraud. Check employee sales reports to review per-labor-hour reports and reward your top-selling employees. The system also records cash drawer openings and can detect suspicious activity. Employees can sign in at the register and their hours can be managed from anywhere and transferred to Square Payroll. Assign permissions to give different employees access to varying items. Give employees their own log-in passcodes.
Use Square's built-in timeclock system or easily integrate with a third-party timecard service.
Make payroll predictable and easy to understand for both you and your whole team.
Simple solutions for small and large businesses with W2 and/or 1099 team members.
$29/mn for W2
$5/employee or contractor
- Offline Functionality: Even with an internet outage, Square can continue to accept payments, encrypting data and processing it as soon as internet is restored.
- Customer Management: Create an extensive directory of customers with their information on-hand and easily accessible with the ability to track each individual purchase. Store credit cards in the system for future use. Assign VIP or loyalty status to repeat customer to reward future business. Import existing customer lists seamlessly.
Integrations & Add-Ons
With your free account, you get access to the Square App Marketplace which comes with a wealth of integrations. For accounting, Square integrates with Xero and QuickBooks, plus many others. For eCommerce, you have access to Wix, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and more, but it’s really worth checking out the website for a complete listing. Square also has an open API if you’re feeling enterprising and would like to create an app specifically for your business.
But the most exciting integration for Square for Restaurants is its partnership with Caviar for delivery. Each account comes with Caviar included, giving your restaurant the option to immediately include delivery and pick-up options. You can check and manage your outside orders directly from your POS station, helping you increase your profits for no extra charge.
Square’s Most Popular Services
|Free App & Reader||Square eCommerce||Square for Retail||Square for Restaurants|
|Get Started||Get Started||Get Started||Get Started|
|Free, general-purpose POS software and reader for iOS and Android||Easy integration with popular platforms plus API for customization||Specialized software for more complex retail stores||Specialized software for full-service restaurants|
|Always Free||Always Free||Free Trial||Free Trial|
Compatible Credit Card Processors
This is another area where Square is a trendsetter. Square obviously acts as its own processor and is compatible with almost any form of payment available. Square accepts Apple Pay and Android Pay plus all major credit cards. With the right equipment, you can accept swipe, dab, and tap payments. Square POS also has an intuitive tipping walk-through for customers if you’re using the product in the food-service industry.
Customer Service & Support
Square offers live support from 6 AM to 6 PM (with a customer code). This can be an issue if you need immediate assistance outside of those hours. Fortunately, there is email support available and Square does have an impressive customer support page where you can troubleshoot some basic questions; there are dozens of articles on various topics if you have time to do some research. Square also has one of the best community forums I’ve seen where you can look up various topics.
Once you do get in touch with a live person, Square’s support is friendly and very knowledgeable. They are happy to walk you through any issues you’re having and are committed to making sure that your problems are completely resolved. Square keeps up a current blog and is fairly active on its social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Its YouTube channel also has some valuable information, plus walk-throughs and tutorials.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Square for Restaurants is still new to the market but there are a handful of (mostly minor) complaints and a few of the standard issues with Square that have cropped up.
- Glitchy Software: Multiple users complained that there were times when the system would unexpectedly lose its connection or that readers had trouble syncing to new equipment.
- Fund Holds: A large number of complaints to the Better Business Bureau revolve around Square placing immediate holds on funds when it deems a suspicious transaction has occurred. These holds can come without notice and can take a while to resolve, causing understandable frustration for vendors.
- Limited Customer Service: Square only offers live customer support from 6 AM to 6 PM, Pacific Time, which can mean that important issues that crop up outside of this window are difficult to resolve.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
- Ease Of Use: Even though there aren’t a ton of reviews in yet, by far the number one aspect that users are raving about is how easy the system is to use. Multiple restaurant managers were amazed at how easy it was to train even brand new employees, saving countless hours in the process.
- Cost: Many people who have already purchased Square for Restaurants appreciated what you get for such an affordable cost. A few customers mentioned shopping around and finding that Square met every one of their basic needs at a significantly cheaper price than their competitors.
- Integrations: In particular, people who have used it seem to love Square’s integration with Caviar, making it hassle-free to set up delivery and pick-up orders and creating a delivery option for some businesses that may not have otherwise considered it.
In short, Square has done it again. Square seems to be rolling out new products by the month, unleashing both Square for Retail and Square Register to rave reviews within the past year. There were early concerns that Square might be rushing its product to keep up or stay ahead in an extremely competitive industry. However, Square for Restaurants is pretty much as good as advertised.
Square has managed to stay true to its brand of being highly intuitive and easy to learn while incorporating some complex elements. Square’s table mapping, check splitting, and menu creation functions are exceptionally easy to use if not particularly flashy. There are a few areas where the software could be bulked up. Its reporting is probably fine for most standard restaurants, but if you need some really in-depth analysis, you may find it slightly lacking.
However, for all that you get, it’s going to be difficult to beat Square for Restaurant’s pricing and the convenience of its built-in processing, app marketplace, and delivery integration.
To learn more about how we score our reviews, see our Point Of Sale (POS) Software Rating Criteria.