Pros / It's a very affordable restaurant POS system.
Cons / It doesn't have as many restaurant-specific features as its competitors.
Verdict / Square is a good, inexpensive POS system for casual restaurants. However, it lacks many order management features that full-service restaurants need.
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.
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 just three companies in our review with this requirement.
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.
This system doesn't have as many features as a lot of its competitors do, though it includes the basics such as order modification, ticket splitting and tip management. It also includes customer online ordering through Square's free online store, and you can add photos of your menu items to the system, which can help your customers decide what they want to order. You can use Square Invoices to bill for your catering and the company's food ordering service, Caviar, for your delivery and pickup services. You can add reservation tools to the system through Square Appointments for a monthly fee.
However, it doesn't have table management tools that would let you quickly see which tables are open or occupied, nor does it have SMS texting for 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 ordering or how long it takes for tables to turn over, which would help you gauge your restaurant's efficiency.
Square has some basic inventory management features, but 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. However, you can set the system to alert you when supplies are running low, and when you receive new stock, you can enter it into the system with a handheld barcode scanner, which takes less time than entering it manually.
You can reach Square's customer service team by phone during extended business hours, or by email. It doesn't offer on-site assistance for installation and training, nor does it provide remote assistance, but you can 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. APIs are available to augment your Square system with third-party programs.
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.