Square Order Lets You Skip The Coffee Line By Ordering Ahead

Starting today, the new mobile app allows you to order food and drinks from local restaurants before you get there.

Ordering food on your phone without having to talk to to anyone is one of today's niftier luxuries--and the space just became a bit more crowded. Mobile-payment platform Square just released a new application called Square Order, which lets you place orders for pickup from local restaurants, coffee shops, and the like.

"For pickup" being the key phrase here. Unlike Seamless/GrubHub or Delivery.com--which might secretly be expanding your waistline, mind you--you can't request an order for pad kee mao through Square Order and have it arrive at your doorstep 45 minutes later. You still have to go get it yourself. But if, say, you're on your way to work and want to skip the line for your morning jolt of espresso, you could use Square Order to have it ready by the time you get there.

That approach is hardly novel, of course. Even PayPal's mobile app lets you take care of your bill ahead of time. But the gold rush for your e-wallet is up for grabs, and Square wants to position itself as the most frictionless (and widely used) transaction point, whether it is through Square Cash, Square Order, or through its fancy little plastic dongles.

Square might need it, too. Although the company recorded more than $20 billion in transactions last year, landing it $550 million in revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Square recorded a loss of roughly $100 million in 2013. A potential acquisition by Google was said to be nixed as well.

For residents living in New York and San Francisco (with more cities planned), Square Order is available in beta starting today for iOS and Android.

[Image: Square]

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  • I’m not sure a one size fits all approach for mobile apps for small businesses is the way to turn things around for Square. Bigger chains seem to do well with their individual apps. The Coffee Button app, with a focus on independent coffee shops and bistros is a much better attempt to provide a high quality and affordable app that covers a niche. What consumer wants an app named after a general purpose point of sale system? It makes sense for paying for something. It does not make sense as the interface to the store.