Does anyone cook anymore? Why bother, when pad thai or pizza is just a few clicks away. Some restaurants are seeing their sales jump by as much as a third, thanks to online orders.
But managing online tickets, alongside those of seated diners, has become a major headache for restaurants. Now payments company Square, which owns delivery service Caviar, has put together what it hopes will be the painkiller product that restaurants have been craving: a dedicated point-of-sale system and corresponding software for full-service and quick-service restaurants that integrates offline and online sales.
“Every restaurant is becoming an omnichannel business,” says Gokul Rajaram, Caviar lead at Square. For the first time, he says, restaurants “will have a unified view of their sales and their customers, and be able to understand how each channel contributes to their overall business.”
In addition, Square for Restaurants aims to improve on the core offline features that restaurants expect—table maps, for example, and menus. “You’d be surprised at how un-self-serve most solutions are,” says Alyssa Henry, seller lead at Square. “Changing a menu often requires a service person to go do it.” With Square’s solution, restaurants will be able to use software tools to change table maps or update menus on the fly.
Square for Restaurants follows Square’s first foray into vertical-specific offerings, Square Appointments, which launched in 2014 and has become popular with hairstylists and other individual sellers. Then, last spring, the company introduced Square for Retail, which includes features like inventory management.
Like Square for Retail, Square for Restaurants aims to appeal to both mom-and-pop businesses and, over time, to chains. While micro-sellers and independent businesses remain the core of Square’s customer base, the company has been courting larger-scale merchants. But convincing multi-location businesses to adopt a new payments system is a tall order, because of the associated switching costs.
With independent restaurants, at least, Henry is confident in Square’s ability to make a dent in the market. “There’s a lot of pent of frustration with existing solutions,” she says. “What we’ve seen so far is that the ease of use and cost-effectiveness of the solution is so much better, it’s been quite easy for folks to switch over.”
Square for Restaurants will cost $60 per month for a first POS, plus $40 per month for each additional set-up. For payments processing, Square will charge 2.6% plus 10 cents for each transaction. Bulk pricing will come at a discount.