Square is a brand that you're sure to be familiar with if you've ever considered running your own mobile or eCommerce business. One of the most popular transaction processing solutions for online and card payments on the market today, Square ensures that small business owners can run their own stores, online companies, and even pop-up stores, without having to worry about complex or expensive hardware and software.
Since the company appeared as a credit card processing brand in 2009, it's continued to add a range of new and intuitive solutions to entrepreneurs from every background. Somewhat recently, Square even began focusing on solutions for people from certain verticals. For instance, if you're a restaurant owner, you can now find all the ingredients you need for an effective restaurant in one package: Square for Restaurants.
Square for Restaurants is a proprietary platform built by Square to support your entire restaurant environment. It includes everything from state-of-the-art software, to payment solutions and POS hardware. Keen to find out more?
Square for Restaurants Pros And Cons
- Easy to use
- Takes offline payments
- Affordable pricing
- Delivery options available
- Various integrations included
- Excellent backend management
- Options for payroll and employee management
- Custom reporting included
- Excellent Square offers, and integrations
- Risk of fund holds
- Limited support options
- Lacks some of the advanced features of more expensive options
Read through our Square for Restaurants review for everything you need to know.
What is Square for Restaurants?
Square for Restaurants is Square's restaurant focused solution for point of sale software. The offering comes with POS hardware to help you customize your floor plans and track your tables. If you're looking for ease of use in a point of sale systems that manages card payments, online orders, and pickup orders, then Square Restaurant is the tool for you. As a simple and reliable restaurant POS, it makes running a small business easy, with specific restaurant features built-in, like delivery orders, door dash, delivery services, floor plans, pickup orders, and so much more.
Designed specifically for restaurant owners and business owners that want to offer food and beverages to their customers, this small business restaurant POS is an excellent tool for any business leader. What's more, around the world from New York to San Francisco and London, Square Payments has earned a great reputation for it's easy of use and functionality.
Importantly, Square for Restaurants is completely cloud-hosted. This means that you store your business information on Square's secure servers. From there, it can be transferred to your devices through the cloud. What's more, Square also allows you to access your crucial data regardless of whether you're connected to the internet or not. This is particularly useful for pop-up cafes and food stalls. Critical functions of Square for Restaurants include:
- Front of house operation management: order entry, seating, table mapping, etc.
- Back of house operations: Removing menu items, menu management
- Customer relationship management: Saved payment methods, order histories, and customer directories.
- Employee management: Timecards, permission levels, employee logins, and order assignments.
- Payments: offline payments, PCI compliance, discounts, check splitting, and refunds
- Reporting: Daily sales reports, modified sales, labor costs, sales by product or category, employee sales reports, and more.
Square for Restaurants Pricing
One of the most important things any business needs to consider when investing in new tools is pricing and budgetary restraints. Fortunately, Square's built-from-scratch restaurant solution is designed to suit your budget, as well as your individual needs.
If you're just using the software on a single POS terminal, then you'll pay around $60 per month for Square for Restaurants. Extra POS terminals come at a price of $40 per month each – which is excellent for businesses that want to expand gradually. The pricing is actually quite affordable for most businesses. However, there are some “extra” expenses to think about.
For instance, credit card processing rates for standard in-person transactions will cost 2.6% plus $0.10 for every dip, swipe, or payment made with a contactless card. Digital payments are slightly more expensive, at 2.9% plus a $0.30 transaction fee. The good news? There's no long-term contract to worry about. You can abandon Square for a different solution whenever you like.
Other costs include:
- Hardware: The Square for Restaurants POS System comes with3 separate options for hardware packages to help you run your restaurant. These include things like a credit card reader, cash drawer, iPad, and POS stand, and start at a price of around $1,400.
- Setup fees: This isn't mandatory, but if you choose to, you can have a Square expert, visit your restaurant and set up your software for you. The expert will also offer some basic training to your employees.
It's also worth noting that you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the Square for Restaurants software to get you started. This can help you get a feel for the solution before you go “all-in” with your investment.
In terms of processing fees, Square for Restaurants makes it relatively easy and cheap for full-service restaurants, coffee shops, and pop-up cafes alike to manage card payments and processing fees. Whether you're looking for a point of sale system that can handle gift cards, online orders, or conversational ordering, Square payments is a great choice. It's capable of processing magstripe, Apple pay, Google pay, and a range of other purchasing options. What's more, you get the option to handle a host of critical features from within your new Square dashboard.
Square for Restaurants Review: Hardware
As mentioned above, one of the “extra” expenses that you may want to consider when you begin using Square for Restaurants is the range of hardware kits available. For instance, you can choose between:
- The Square Stand Station ($1074.00): This is a simple but useful kit that comes with a Square Stand where you can mount your iPad, a card reader that accepts dip, swipe, and contactless payments, a receipt printer, cash drawer, and kitchen printer.
- The Windfall stand station ($1082.00): The same as the Square Stand Station, with the main difference being that you get a Windfall Stand instead of one from Square. You also get all the added extras, like the receipt printer and cash drawer.
- The Square Stand Station with Terminal ($1473.00): This kit comes with all the things you get from the Square Stand Station package, as well as a Square Terminal. The Square Terminal is a portable card reader that comes with tableside ordering solutions built-in.
In all the options above, the iPad will be sold to you separately. You can either add your own iPad if you already have one for POS management, or you can buy one from Square for another $329. For the time being, there are no options available that offer compatibility with Android tools.
It's also worth noting that Square does have financing options available for people who don't want to pay for all of their hardware at once. If you already own some of your own tools and tech, you can buy individual components from Square and match them with your existing tools.
For business owners that don't have a lot of budget to work with, Square's solution for the modern restaurant offers plenty of great functionality. Offering a no hassle solution for managing everything from labor costs to back of house product management, this small business POS system is great for all kinds of restaurant. What's more, the Square solution for restaurant owners also delivers your earnings to your bank account relatively quickly too, with integrations to Quickbooks (read our QuickBooks review) so you can manage your taxes on the go.
Square for Restaurants Review: Payment Processing
Square for Restaurants comes with access to many great features. However, one of the most essential features of all has to be its payment processing solution. After all, if you can't take money from your customers, then what's the point of having a POS system?
With Square for Restaurants, you will need to use the Square brand as your payment processor – but that shouldn't be a surprise to most businesses. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Square aggregates its merchants. This basically means that all the payments from clients that you'll receive are deposited in a single merchant account that's managed by Square. Although this saves you some hassle associated with opening your merchant account, there's a risk that your account could be placed on hold or terminated.
Although the risks of Square set some companies on edge, there are many benefits to using Square as your payment processing software. For instance, Square can easily manage dip, swipe, and contactless payments from various credit card providers, including MasterCard and Visa. Additionally, funds usually end up in your bank account within 48 hours or less.
Another significant benefit is that payment processing is backed by Square Secure. Essentially, this is a suite of security tools that includes things like PCI compliance, fraud prevention, dispute management, and so on.
Another great thing about Square for Restaurants? It comes with access to a virtual terminal, which will allow you to accept keyed-in payments through a browser too. There's even an option to invoice your customers using a complete online system. Other great features include:
- Check splitting: Assign individual items to customers to make payments simpler for your clients.
- Automatic gratuity: Create automated gratuity prompts that help to support your team members and encourage generosity.
- Immediate payments: Get the money that you need instantly into your bank account with an extra 1% fee.
The more you get used to using your Square account for delivery orders, delivery services, floor plans and back of house management, the more you'll learn how feature-rich this offering really is. More than just a way to connect with things like doordash and PostMates so you can send orders directly to customers wherever they are, Square point of sale system is an excellent omnichannel selling solution. All you need to do is provide your own delivery services, food, and restaurant, and full-service restaurants can access all the tools they need to delight their audience.
Square for Restaurants Review: Backend Management
There's more to running a successful restaurant than just taking payments on your new Square account. You need to handle your taxes on Quickbooks, manage your pickup orders through your POS system, and learn how to use a range of restaurant offers and deals to impress your customers too. The good news is that this restaurant POS from Square helps you to manage a lot of the back of house hassle too.
You'll also need to ensure that you have all of the tools you need in place to keep your restaurant running smoothly. Fortunately, Square for Restaurants comes with all of the amazing technology that you need to manage your backend operations within the POS software. This includes:
- Menu creation: Design as many menus as you like and switch between them at a tap. This helps you to create custom dishes for certain times of the year, and seasonality. You'll also be able to add pictures to maintain servers, set up discounts, and establish happy hour events too.
- Table management: Plot out coursing, switch items between courses and more, all from the back-end environment on your Square for Restaurant POS software. You can even check on the status of a meal.
- Tableside order: Send orders directly from a customer's table into the kitchen within seconds. This reduces your risk of mistakes when serving your clients.
- Delivery integration: Square has partnered with companies like Caviar to help your customers set up pick-up options from their favorite restaurants.
- Table mapping: Set up your entire restaurants in a matter of minutes using easy-to-understand color coding, and a clean and straightforward interface.
Square also offers customer relationship management tools that allow you to use your backend technology to improve the relationships that you have with your one-time and repeat customers. With CRM solutions, you can create a directory of all the customers that visit your restaurant over time.
With permission from your clients, you can store payment information to help them check out faster, view their order histories to find their favorite meals, and even reward their loyalty with discounts. This makes running everything from coffee shops to full-service restaurants easier with an online point of sale solution.
Square for Restaurant Review: Employee Management and Reporting
So, you've got your table management and back-end information sorted – now you just need to make sure that you're keeping track of your employees too. Square for Restaurants can help with that. Thanks to a set of comprehensive employee management tools, business leaders will have no problem setting up custom permission that allows employees to access certain parts of the Square POS.
With Square for restaurants, you can track crucial information about who's working each day, and how individual team members are performing. Speaking of which, there's also the option to create a host of useful reports that help you to track the outcomes of all your business goals.
Through your Square for Restaurants POS, you can track the number of customers that visit your restaurant each day, view the performance of people in specific shifts, and see how well your campaigns for discounts and marketing are performing. There's even the option to build your own custom reports based on the metrics that are most relevant to you.
As a point of sale for conversational ordering, online orders, and pickup orders, Square for restaurants has really made most of the aspects associated with running your business a lot easier. This omnichannel strategy for business management is a great tool for restaurant owners around the world.
Square for Restaurants Review: Integrations and Add-Ons
It's particularly easy to design the right reports when you have access to various integrations as part of the Square App marketplace. This environment offers business leaders access to a range of applications that they can use to extend their POS functionality. For instance, you can find integrations that support everything from accounting and business insurance to scheduling and marketing.
Square also offers a host of additional in-house programs and solutions that you can add to your POS functionality. For instance, for an extra $34 each month, you can add the Square Payroll feature to your system. This synchronizes with your existing POS time clock so that you can track the number of hours your employees work and give them their wages accordingly. There's also the option to ask Payroll from Square to manage your payments for you via check, direct deposit, and more. Square can even handle your tax forms for you.
Another excellent add-on option is “Square Marketing.” This solution works in conjunction with the customer relationship management software in your POS, to coordinate and send custom solutions for marketing to track their effectiveness. The tool costs about $15 extra a month.
Finally, you can also consider adding “Square Loyalty” to your Square for Restaurants offering. This is a particularly useful feature for companies that want to reward and celebrate the customers that keep coming back to their location time and time again.
With Square Loyalty, you can implement a unique loyalty program into your business that customers can use to collect points with each purchase. The customers that opt into your loyalty program will also be able to receive custom communications too. This costs around $45 per month.
Keep in mind that Square Payments also integrate with a lot of the leading tools on the market too, including Quickbooks, Postmates, DoorDash, and more. What's more, you can take a range of payments, from Apple Pay or Android Pay (from a cell phone) to Magstripe and beyond.
Square for Restaurants Review: Customer Service
Last, but not least, before you dive into buying Square for Restaurants, you'll want to make sure that you're going to get the kind of support that you need.
On the one hand, Square is excellent at offering guidance to people who need help buying the right solution. For instance, the company can create custom pricing options for companies that earn a specific revenue each year.
Additionally, the Square team offers live support between the hours of 6 am and 6 PM each day, as long as you have a customer code. This might be an issue if you need assistance beyond those hours. However, there is email support available, and a customer support page where you can try to solve some of your own problems by troubleshooting basic questions.
In terms of DIY service, Square has one of the best communities out there. Once you do get through to a real person from the Square team, you'll often find that they're very friendly and supportive. Square professionals are committed to guiding you through any issues you might have so that you can get through problems as quickly as possible.
Additionally, keep in mind that Square can continue to receive payments when the internet goes down, so you don't have to panic every time you lose a connection. As long as your employees have the right passcodes to enter the point of sale system, they should be able to continue taking card payments and processing fees on your behalf.
However, on the other hand, there's always a risk that Square could decide to put your funds or account on hold almost without warning. This has been a common concern with Square's POS system in the past, and it could be a problem with Square for Restaurants too.
Square for Restaurants Review: Bottom Line
So, is Square for Restaurants the right solution for your business?
From what we've seen so far, it seems as though this solution could be the perfect offering for bars, restaurants, and cafes of all shapes and sizes. It's simple enough to use – even if you're dealing with staff that barely have any time to devote to training. Additionally, the solution is cheap enough to support startups and established companies alike.
Although some larger restaurants may need something more advanced in the future – Square for Restaurants offers a flexible and engaging way to run your organization. The biggest risk with Square for Restaurants is the same threat that all merchants face when it comes to dealing with a solution like Square. If the company suddenly decides that something is wrong with the way that you're running your business, they could put your funds or account on hold, which means that your business can't run as usual for several days, or even weeks.
Despite the worries, Square's restaurant solution for magstripe, mobile, and a range of other payments, is a great solution for businesses in search of ease of use for their POS system. Whatever you need from a point of sale solution, this Restaurant POS has you covered, from San Francisco, to New York and beyond.
If you can avoid a disaster like that, Square is still an excellent choice.
Are you ready to give Square for Restaurants a try? Sign up for your free trial today.