Square for Restaurants Review – 2021

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For any restaurant, food truck, or bar, efficiently processing payments and checking customers out is a key part of day-to-day operations. A sophisticated checkout system is essential to keep things moving and helps improve customer satisfaction, as well as the work satisfaction of employees.

Fortunately, technology offers tools to help improve efficiencies for restaurants. One popular option is Square for Restaurants, a food service POS solution from Square.

In this Square for Restaurants review, we will go over all the details of this service that you need to know. From features to pricing to customer service, we’ll cover all the key information. 

Check out our roundup of the Best POS Systems

Square for Restaurants is an all-in-one restaurant POS system. Advanced point-of-sale devices offer powerful tools for both front-of-house and back-of-house staff. Square KDS helps kitchens manage incoming orders and keep customers happy, while Order Manager helps you keep track of online orders from food delivery apps or your own website.

Square for Restaurants also includes payment processing, with low per-transaction costs. Restaurants can choose from a variety of hardware, from simple terminals to full-scale touch-screen registers. Square also has its KDS system of in-kitchen displays, which help kitchens monitor orders coming in, compile orders from multiple sources (dining in, takeout, and online orders), and more. 

Basically, Square for Restaurants aims to deliver all the technology tools and equipment needed to keep a restaurant running smoothly.

How Square for Restaurants is different

There are many restaurant POS systems, what makes Square different?

Business analytics

Square’s system provides powerful insights into your restaurant’s day-to-day operations. Monitor order volume over time, identify best-sellers and underperformers, run detailed sales reports, and stay on top of labor costs with a variety of useful tools, all from the Square Dashboard. 

Third-party integrations

Square’s technology brings together many of the third-party applications you know and use. Orders from Postmates, Caviar, DoorDash, and more will sync with your in-house orders; transactions can import automatically to QuickBooks and other accounting software. 

All-in-one system

Square does it all: Payment processing, order management, in-kitchen ticket management, employee time tracking and management, sales analytics, third-party order management, and so much more. 

Who Square for Restaurants is best for

Square is a good choice for just about any restaurant, but there are certain types that can benefit most:

Restaurants of any size

From full-service restaurants to fast-casual to food trucks, almost any food operation can benefit from Square for Restaurants. Small businesses and startups can benefit from the low-cost structure (with no monthly fees for the free plan), while large chains of restaurants can experience improved efficiencies from Square’s more advanced features. 

Restaurants wanting an all-in-one system

Many restaurants will piece together different services for different purposes. With Square, everything comes together: Credit card processing, order management, eCommerce and online ordering solutions, employee management, timecards, and more. 

New restaurants

New restaurants can benefit from the low startup costs of a Square system, as well as the useful analytics features, menu planning tools, and more. Plus, an optional 1-on-1 setup support call can help guide you through the entire setup process, if you need help. 

Square for Restaurants features

Square for Restaurants has many useful features for all types of restaurants. Here are some of the most notable features:

Point of Sale systems

Square provides the hardware (sold separately) and the POS software needed for efficient restaurant POS systems. These systems can be used by front-of-house staff to take orders, manage menus, and close tickets via card payments. Payments and gratuity can be accepted by cash, credit card, debit card, and more, with support for chip cards, swipe, and contactless payments. You can even manage floor plans, plan menus, and much more.

Order Manager

Order Manager lets staff monitor and input incoming orders in real-time and syncs all channels up to improve efficiency. Orders from tables, online platforms and even third-party apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats will sync up, making sure no orders slip through the cracks. 

Integrations

Square for Restaurants integrates with all the most popular restaurant apps and services. From third-party food delivery apps to reservation systems, Square works seamlessly with most third-party services you already use.

Square online

Square comes with an online website free of charge, as well as an online ordering system for restaurants. Everything syncs with the Square system, so your menus, stock levels, and pricing all stay synced up. 

Detailed reports

Run detailed reports and analytics to stay on top of trends, manage food ordering, and calculate profits. See sales by category, item, or even payment type, and make plans for future improvements. 

Kitchen Display System (KDS)

The KDS is an optional add-on to Square for Restaurants that are used directly in kitchens. These devices can be mounted on the wall or placed on the counter and used to monitor and fill tickets from any combination of order types and sources. You can add as many KDS systems as needed, and each will communicate with your main POS system. 

Team management

Square also has tools for employee management. Team members can clock in and out at the Square POS, and you can easily track team hours, overtime hours, breaks, etc. from one centralized system. 

Other optional features

Square for Restaurants integrates with other Square services, including payroll, employee benefits management, invoices, marketing tools, gift cards, and more.

These are just a few of the features that Square for Restaurants offers. The upgraded plans also include advanced features, like course management, live sales forecast, close-of-day reports, and much more. 

Square for Restaurants pricing

Square for Restaurants offers a few different plans. Many restaurants can simply use the free plan, which is free apart from payment processing costs. Here is a breakdown of the different plans:

Square Restaurants Free – $0 per month

  • Payment processing fees
    • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments
    • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments
  • Unlimited devices
  • Unlimited locations
  • KDS included; $10 extra per KDS device
  • Point of Sale software (hardware sold separately)
  • Team management features
  • Support from M-F between 6 am and 6 pm PT

Square for Restaurants Plus – $60 per month per location + $40 per month per POS device

  • 30-day free trial
  • Payment processing
    • 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction for in-person payments
    • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction for online payments
  • All features of the free plan
  • Advanced POS features
  • Square KDS with unlimited devices
  • Team Plus features
  • 24/7 support

Square for Restaurants Premium – Custom pricing

  • For restaurants with over $250,000 in annual sales
  • Custom monthly pricing and custom payment processing rates
  • Includes all features of the Plus plan, plus more
  • Exclusive discounts on Square Payroll, Square Loyalty, and Square Marketing

Overall, pricing for Square Restaurants is very reasonable. Their free plan offers enough functionality for many restaurants, and it’s easy to upgrade to the paid plan later if need be. Payment processing rates, which are typically 2.6% + $0.10 for in-person transactions, are in line with most competing services. 

Keep in mind that the monthly plans do not include hardware. You will likely need to purchase additional hardware from Square. Here are some popular options.

Square Hardware Pricing

Square offers a variety of point of sale hardware and other devices needed for busy restaurants. They sell individual devices, such as card readers, or “kits” including everything that most restaurants will need. 

Square Register Kit – $1329

  • Includes Square Register, cash register, and receipt printer
  • Includes its own display (no iPad required)

Square Stand Kit – $1044

  • Includes Square Reader, dock for Square Reader, cash drawer, receipt print, and kitchen printer.
  • Requires iPad for display

WindFall Stand Kit – $1142

  • Includes Square Reader, dock for Square rEader, cash drawer, receipt printer, and kitchen printer
  • Requires iPad for display

Square Stand Restaurant Kit with Square Terminal – $1343

  • Includes Square Reader, dock for Square Reader, receipt printer, cash register drawer, kitchen printer, and Square Terminal
  • Requires iPad for display

In addition to these kits, Square sells individual devices which restaurants can use to design their own systems. 

Square for Restaurants customer service

Square for Restaurants does offer customer support. The free plan offers support between 6 am and 6 pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. The Plus plan (and Premium custom plans) offer 24/7 support. You can contact support via email or over the phone. 

However, keep in mind that Square is not known for good customer support. In fact, difficulty contacting support is one of the most common complaints from Square customers. 

There is also an optional one-on-one consultation for new Square for Restaurants customers, that helps walk you through the setup process. There is an additional charge for this service, however. 

Pros and cons of Square for Restaurants

For simplicity, most restaurants will want to choose a single service to use for many years to come. Because of this, it’s wise to weigh the pros and cons of Square Restaurants before deciding. 

Pros

  • No monthly fees for the basic plan
  • Dozens of advanced features to keep your restaurant running smoothly
  • Competitive payment processing fees
  • Choice of a wide variety of hardware
  • In-kitchen displays replace paper tickets
  • Team management tools 
  • Easily integrate orders from all sources (online, in-person, food delivery apps, etc.)
  • Advanced analytics and management tools 

Cons

  • Mediocre customer service 
  • POS system devices must be purchased separately

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