Square For Restaurants POS Review
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- Date Established
- San Francisco, California
- Extremely easy-to-use interface
- Delivery options included
- Square App Marketplace
- Reports somewhat lacking
- Occasional fund holds
Well, it was only a matter of time. After coming out with Square for Retail and the game-changing Square Register, it seemed imminent that the wildly popular company would break out with restaurant-specific software. Voila! Now we have Square for Restaurants.
Square has very much stayed on brand here with an exceptionally simple and functional program. Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Square will be able to master it 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. The system itself has 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 has areas where it can improve — and I suspect it will soon. 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 and separated by three tiers.
Square for Restaurants Free Version includes:
- M-F 6 AM to 6 PM PT customer support
- Fast-order entry
- Table management
- Menu management
- Order management
- Remote device management
- Multilocation management
- Open checks
- Repeat items
- Dining preferences
- Dark mode
- Auto gratuity
- Advanced discounts
- Square Team Management
Square for Restaurants Plus is $60/month; additional stations are $40/month per location and include everything in the free version, plus:
- 24/7 customer support
- Auto 86ing and item counts
- Shared device settings
- Seat management
- Course management
- Live sales
- Advanced reporting
- Reopen closed checks
- Shift reports
- Close-of-day reports
- Auto gratuity, including party size thresholds
- Closing procedures
- Section sales reports
- Square Team Plus
Square for Restaurants Premium starts at $299 per location and includes everything in previous plans, plus customized bundled discount pricing on:
- Square Payroll
- Square Marketing
- Square Loyalty
- Square Online Store
For processing on all plans, Square charges 2.6% plus $0.10 per tap, dip, or swipe. You can also try and use the product free for the first 30 days. There are custom processing rates available if you are processing more than $250,000 per year with an average ticket size of $15 or more.
Cloud-Based Or Locally-Installed
As with all of Square’s software, Square for Restaurants is cloud-based, and your account and data are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Square’s restaurant POS currently only runs on an iPad, but the company plans to make it available for Android devices 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 POS app and some of its add-ons.
Specific Size Of Business
Square for Restaurants works for pretty much any type of foodservice industry. If you’re a smaller operation with limited inventory or reporting needs, you may be able to get by with the original Square POS. I would also 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. Square’s processing fees can add up quickly if you’re making a ton of sales from day-to-day. If you are a high-volume restaurant and love what you see from Square for Restaurants, you’ll want to call for a custom processing quote. However, 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 current iOS device and many Android devices, Square for Restaurants only runs on an iPad. It’s not even compatible with Square Register (yet). However, Square Terminal, which also runs the free Square POS app, does have some features that are compatible with Square for Restaurants, so you could use Terminal devices in your restaurant without incurring the cost of additional registers.
Square sells iPad stands (with the Contactless + Chip card reader included) on its website. If you’re starting from scratch, you can purchase equipment (such as printers and cash drawers) in a variety of hardware bundles from the company, all of which will pair seamlessly with the software. The website recommends an internet speed of at least 25 Mbps for optimum performance. It also suggests running on iOS 10.0.2 to make sure all other hardware will run effectively.
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 such as 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 your entire restaurant out 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 your screen’s brightness (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 the menu from lunch to dinner with one touch. Square has one of the most intuitive systems for modifiers I’ve seen as well, guiding servers through forced-choice items or optional selections with minimal touches or swipes.
Square for Restaurants doesn’t have many holes; it features 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 either 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, sales, 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 tables to the kitchen by allowing servers to enter orders directly from the table while giving them more opportunities to interact with and serve customers.
- Delivery Integration: Square has paired with Caviar to help restaurants set up delivery or pickup options, which can all be managed directly from the POS. Customize orders for various dining options: for here, to go, delivery, or pickup. There are also integrations with Doordash, Postmates, and other online ordering businesses that will send orders directly to your POS, managing them in one convenient location.
- Catering: Create invoices specifically for catering orders. You can also set up easy online estimates and recurring orders for customers.
- 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 unique needs.
- Employee Management: You can 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 login passcodes.
- Offline Functionality: Even with an internet outage, Square can continue accepting payments, encrypting data, and processing it as soon as the 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 purchase. Store credit cards in the system for future use. Assign VIP or loyalty status to repeat customers 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 Square’s free online store, but you can also set up a plug-and-play integration with Wix, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and more. It’s worth checking out the website for a complete listing, as it adds new integrations practically every week. Square also has an open API if you’re feeling enterprising and want 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 add delivery and pickup options immediately. 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
Here is another area where Square is a trendsetter: Square acts as a 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, dip, and tap payments.
Customer Service & Support
Square offers 24/7 technical support once you call and receive your customer code. This can be a slight hassle if you have an emergency that needs immediate assistance. Fortunately, email support is also available. Plus, Square has 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 relatively active on its various social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Its YouTube channel also has some valuable information, plus walkthroughs and tutorials.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Square for Restaurants is still new to the market, but there are a handful of 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 often come without notice and can take a while to resolve, causing understandable frustration for vendors. Check out our article on how to avoid merchant account holds, freezes, and terminations to learn more about how to prevent trouble with accessing your funds.
- Live Customer Service Lacking: This has been something of a recurring theme for Square. While you can now get a live technical support agent 24/7 with a customer code, a few customers haven’t been overly impressed with the support they received. However, more than one customer said that through Square’s troubleshooting resources online, they were able to fix the problem themselves.
- Reports Aren’t Robust: A few minor complaints wished that the software came with a more complete set of reports, and some mentioned that the reports were often difficult to read.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials:
- Ease Of Use: There aren’t a ton of reviews in yet, but, 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 simple 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 lower price than its competitors.
- Integrations: People seem to particularly love that Square’s integration with Caviar makes it hassle-free to set up delivery and pickup and to create a delivery option for some businesses that may not have otherwise considered it.
Square For Restaurants POS
In short, Square has done it again. It seems to be rolling out new products by the month, unleashing both Square for Retail and Square Register to rave reviews recently. There were concerns early on that Square might be rushing its products to keep up or stay ahead in an extremely competitive industry. However, Square for Restaurants is pretty much as good as advertised and has already patched up a few of its previous minor issues.
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 in-depth analysis, you may find it slightly lacking.
However, for all that you get, it’s going to be tough to beat Square for Restaurants’ pricing (now that it has a free version), not to mention the convenience of its built-in processing, the app marketplace, and delivery integration.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.
We've done in-depth testing of each and confidently recommend them.