It's not going to garner the attention that Square Inc.'s pact with Starbucks created, but Square's latest deal shows it's still eager to brew partnerships with coffee shops.
This time, Square has targeted a partner in its home base of San Francisco as customers of the Blue Bottle Coffee chain can now pay with the Square Wallet at some locations. This is the initial phase of an eventual rollout to all Blue Bottle stores, the companies announced Feb. 12.
While the Blue Bottle deal can't match the scale of Square's integration with 7,000 Starbucks locations last year, it does include something the Starbucks deal did not: Square's Register app.
Blue Bottle says it will use Square's technology as its full point-of-sale system to take cash and credit card payments, track inventory and monitor daily reports.
In addition to using Square's portable card reader, customers can use the Square Wallet software to browse the coffee shop's menu, obtain coupons or rewards and make payments through their mobile phones.
Blue Bottle will debut the Square mobile pay system at its stores in Oakland, San Francisco Mint Plaza and Brooklyn, N.Y. The chain has 11 San Francisco Bay Area and New York locations, and is planning further expansion on the heels of a reported $20 million investment from True Ventures and Index Ventures.
Square has made ongoing updates to the Square Register app, which allows an iPad to substitute for a point of sale system. Its most recent Register upgrade added mobile gift card capabilities.
Blue Bottle is likely the best known "local chain" to adopt Square to date, as local chains are a fast-growing segment of Square's merchants, Square spokesman Aaron Zamost says in an e-mail.
Part of the reason behind this growth is Square Register's newer functions, such as wireless printing of receipts and business analytics, Zamost says.
"We've seen a noticeable increase in brick-and-mortar merchants running and growing their business with Square," he adds.
In addition to Blue Bottle, Square has secured deals with with Pitango Gelato in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area; Café Grumpy in New York City; Amy's Ice Cream in Austin, Texas; and Cartel Coffee Lab in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.
Though Square has traditionally served smaller merchants, the company is aiming to serve larger merchants as well.
Blue Bottle founder James Freeman says he is sold on the Square idea.
"We put a great deal of thought into every detail in each of our stores, from the right wood for our counters, to the best beans, and how we can continue to serve our customers the perfect cup of coffee as we grow," Freeman states in a release. "Square's attention to detail and focus on the customer makes Square Register the right choice for our business."