Block Inc.’s Square unit on Thursday night unveiled a suite of hardware and software tools that the company says aims to help restaurants more efficiently manage orders, payments and their overall business as they battle labor shortages and other fallout from the pandemic. The new technology also comes as competition between payment companies for the hospitality market has intensified.
The new suite of tools includes Square for Restaurants mobile POS, a mobile device servers can use to take orders and accept payments, and Square Stand Mount, an iPad point-of-sale device that can be mounted on any which wall or counter. Square also announced several updates to its 4-year-old Square for Restaurants point-of-sale platform that improve the ability of servers to add items to orders previously submitted to the kitchen and route tickets. a point-of-sale device directly to a kitchen display system. The restaurant’s point-of-sale technology also includes new features for loyalty, payroll, reservations and ordering.
“Payment technology is increasingly becoming part of the stack,” said Bryan Solar, restaurant manager at Square, via email. “That said, the POS that powers payment sees a growing expectation to help improve everything from dining experiences to restaurant profitability.”
Two benefits of the Square for Restaurants mobile POS for restaurants are that servers can send orders directly to the kitchen, speeding up order fulfillment and seeing sold out items in real time. This second feature allows servers to let diners know before they take the order which menu items are sold out.
Restaurants using the Square for Restaurants mobile POS during the beta phase were able to turn tables faster and increase sales, even when they were short-staffed, according to the company.
Scaffidi Restaurant Group, a Steubenville, Ohio-based company that operates restaurants as well as catering and delivery services, says that during the test phase, alcohol sales increased by 22% and that orders canceled due to out of stock items decreased by 57%.
“We are seeing added efficiency in our operations with the Square for Restaurants mobile POS, as our staff spend more time on the floor rather than out of reach placing orders,” says Frankie DiCarlantonio, owner of Scaffidi Restaurant Group. Affirmation prepared.
Square for Restaurants mobile POS runs on two handheld devices: Square Terminal and the upcoming Restaurant Mobile POS kit. To entice restaurants to try the new device, Square is waiving its per-location software fee for the device through the end of the year. After the promotional period expires, Square will charge restaurants $50 per location.
Square for Restaurants POS system updates include coursing, a feature that helps restaurants manage the flow of orders to and from the kitchen by allowing servers to send additions to orders already sent to the kitchen . This feature also improves the efficiency of prep station personnel and shippers—
links between kitchen staff and servers, allowing them to view all orders placed, pending or completed. This capability improves ticket readability, reduces errors, and enhances the dining experience, Square explains.
Square KDSwhich launched in 2021, is being updated to allow restaurants to route tickets directly from a POS system to a kitchen delivery system, giving restaurants more flexibility in arranging from their kitchens to support delivery and pick-up orders.
Improvements to Square Loyalty will allow sellers to schedule one-time and recurring promotions. Square Payroll is updated to help restaurants attract and retain staff in a tough hiring market. Features include pay-as-you-go, which allows W-2 employees to access up to 50% of their earned income by the end of the pay period.
Square partners with SoundHound AI Inc., a Santa Clara, CA-based audio and voice recognition company, to enable servers to accept voice commands without devoting staff to answering the phone. Restaurants using Square for Restaurants POS will also be able to power their own delivery services through integrations with delivery management software providers Cartwheel and Vromo.
To help restaurants better manage reservations, Square plans integrate the OpenTable online reservation service into Square for Restaurants POS. The integration will connect restaurant POS data to OpenTable’s reservation system data. Data shared between the two systems can help restaurants create more personalized customer services, according to the company.
“We believe it will be essential for companies like Square and others to invest heavily in democratizing the customer and owner technologies that restaurants need so that every restaurant, from large chain to independent local, or able to keep up with the technological arms race. from places like Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A,” says Solar.
This arms race also applies to technology providers. Besides Square, companies like Shift4, Toast, Clover, Revel, and Lightspeed have entered the restaurant POS market over the past decade.