Square for Restaurants

Square is known for their little white credit card reader, traditionally used at small independent businesses. Since its inception in 2009, the company and its community of sellers has grown exponentially.

The original Square app works great for small business needs. But for bigger or more speicalized businesses, the app falls short. After all, a busy restaurant in New York has very different needs than a small hair salon in Wyoming. To solve for the growing array of customer types, Square set out to build 3 new vertical specific solutions: Retail, Professional Services, and Restaurants.

The Square for Restaurants team got to work in 2016: heading out to observe and listen to busy chefs, servers, and managers—who showed us archaic restaurant software that was incredibly feature rich but more complex & expensive than need be.

Archaic restaurant software/hardware and a food delivery "tablet farm".

A restaurant point of sale needs to be fast and reliable to let service run smoothly, increasing the customer turn rate and revenue.

Nowadays, orders are often placed from outside the restaurant via food delivery services such as Grubhub or Uber Eats. Each food delivery service provide restaurants with a tablet for managing orders, resulting in a multitude of food delivery tablets cluttering the counter. A server accepting an online order from a food delivery tablet also has to input said order on the point of sale so that the kitchen can start making the order and the sale is tracked in reporting.

We removed this duplicative work by integrating food delivery services with the point of sale, allowing servers to manage in-house and outside orders on the the same device. One of many examples of how we modernized the restaurant point of sale. Other key areas were onboarding and setup, order taking, and reporting.

In 2018 we finally launched Square for Restaurants. A reliable, self-serving point of sale solution that let restaurant employees spend less time on technology and more time on what matters: tasty food and great service.

All of this could not have been done without the hard work from the whole Restaurants team. Special thanks to Matt Kursmark for being my design partner on this 2 year project.

Muscle memory is everything: experienced servers barely look at the screen while entering orders. To support this workflow we created generous tap targets and speedy transitions.

An item modification flow with as few interactions as possible, automatically stepping servers through options (temperature, toppings, etc) until all requirements are fulfilled.

Manage in-house orders and delivery orders.

See which tables are open, need attention, or are ready for the check. Behind the scenes information like guest count and restaurant performance is tracked automatically.

A glaring screen can ruin the vibe even in the coziest of bars. We created a dark mode that won't blind servers or guests.

Track and edit all things related to the point of sale on Square Dashboard. Plenty of time was spent on updating the outdated navigational structure, which looked more like an org chart than a tool for managing day-to-day restaurant tasks.