Square's latest flurry of features came just in time for Souvla, a new Greek sandwich shop and wine bar in San Francisco.
The mobile payments company's offline mode and order-ahead feature made it a better fit for Souvla than traditional point of sale systems would have been, says Charles Bililies, the store's owner. He worked in fine dining for about ten years before opening his new store in San Francisco just over a month ago.
I chose Square after years and years of working with the two largest point of sale companies...and being really frustrated with the fact that they effectively play in the 21st century with late 20th century technology, Bililies says.
Half of Souvla's customers buy their lunch as take-out, and about 25% of them order their food ahead online through Square, according to Bililies' estimates.
Square, which charges 2.75% for swiped card transactions made through its mobile card reader, has recently introduced a handful of features it offers for an additional fee.
Square charges 8% of the transaction price for the order-ahead service Souvla uses. Square's new Feedback product, an interactive digital receipt unveiled May 13, costs $10 a month.
These add-ons may help Square boost its revenue, but they can also help the company retain merchants who might leave for one of Square's many rivals. An offline mode, which allows merchants to accept payments during an Internet or power outage, was already available in competing products from Groupon and Revel.
Bililies planned to use Square before these new features came about. Square's office is just a few blocks away from Souvla, and the tech company's employees stopped by to pitch Bililies on testing the order-ahead service.
The implementation was seamless, says Bililies. It ties directly into our point of sale system and the tickets print directly back to the kitchen like any other order.
The offline mode is also valuable, Bililies says. While working in the restaurant industry he has had to deal with several instances of legacy terminals failing completely because of a lack in connection, he says.
Because Square's system is cloud-based Bililies can make changes to his inventory from anywhere.
Bililies also liked the form of Square Stand, the vendor's iPad case with a built-in card reader.
We wanted a point of sale system that opened up the human interaction between employees and guests, Bililies says. At other establishments, [the cashiers] are hiding behind or buried in...this ugly computer terminal.
Souvla is currently working with Square to develop an advanced reporting tool that can show how many customers are ordering ahead using Square, how many are calling in orders and how many are ordering in person.