Square's POS system is one of the most affordable in our review because, instead of charging a monthly fee, the company includes its basic POS software with its payment processing service at no additional cost. Some of the company's add-on services do have monthly fees, but these are optional to add them to your system. Square is cloud-based and can be used with both Apple and Android tablets and phones. This is a good, affordable POS system well suited for food trucks and counter-serve or casual eateries. However, the lack of restaurant-specific features, such as table management is a deterrent for full-service restaurants.
Why Square? Pricing. Square has transparent pricing, listing the costs for its POS system, add-on programs, POS hardware and payment processing on its website. Other than a card reader, there's no hardware purchase required to use Square. You can use the tablets you already own, and although you can purchase printers, stands and peripherals from Square, you can also find lists of compatible third-party POS hardware on the company's website.
Terms. You don't have to sign a lengthy contract to work with Square; rather, it provides its restaurant POS system with its payment processing service, which operates on a pay-as-you-go basis in which you pay 2.75% per transaction. Unlike the other systems we reviewed, it has no monthly subscription fees. You do, however, have to use Square as your payment processor. Square is one of the few companies we reviewed that has this requirement.
Although this system doesn't have as many features as a lot of its competitors do, it's well suited for counter and quick-service restaurants.
Square's restaurant POS system includes:
- Order modification, ticket splitting and tip management features
- Customer online ordering through Square's free online store
- Support for photos of menu items, which can help your customers decide what they want to order
- Basic inventory management features, including low-inventory alerts
- Handheld barcode scanner support, so you can receive new stock in less time than it would take to entering it manually
- Square Invoices for billing your catering customers.
- If you want to track supplies at the ingredient level, manage vendors and create purchase orders, you'll need to add Whisk, a third-party integration available through Square's App Marketplace, to the system.
- If you offer delivery and pickup services, you can add Square's Caviar service to your system.
- You can add reservation tools to the system through Square Appointments.
- Square's APIs allow you to augment your Square system with third-party programs.
- Customer service is available by phone during extended business hours, or by email. You can also consult the knowledgebase for step-by-step instructions on using different features and visit the community forum for tips or advice from other Square users.
- Square doesn't have table management tools that would let you quickly see which tables are open or occupied.
- It lacks SMS texting that would allow you to alert waiting customers that their table is ready.
- It doesn't have a coursing tool to remind your wait staff to serve menu items in a specific sequence.
- It doesn't time how long your customers wait to receive their food after placing their order or how long it takes for tables to turn over, which would help you gauge your restaurant's efficiency.
- The company doesn't offer on-site assistance for installation and training, nor does it provide remote assistance.
Square is a good, basic POS system for restaurants looking for an affordable solution. It doesn't require you to sign a contract or charge a monthly fee. You must use the company's payment processing service to use this POS system, but it has transparent pricing and provides service on a pay-as-you go basis. Square doesn't have as many restaurant-specific features as many of its competitors, which full-service restaurants would miss, but it's a solid option for food trucks, bakeries, coffee shops and other casual restaurants.
How Does Your Business Stack Up? Get a Free Business Report Card!Get My Report Card