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Square Sets Up Self-Serve Ordering for Restaurants with QR Codes

Square has introduced a new self-serve ordering feature for restaurants that allows dine-in customers to order and pay through their phones.

As the world eases out of lockdown, brick-and-mortar eateries have embraced technology as a way to entice customers back through their doors — the humble QR code has proved particularly popular, with many outlets turning to the matrix barcode format to deliver menus directly to customers’ mobile devices.

Jack Dorsey’s Square is perhaps better known for its point-of-sale (POS) system that allows merchants to accept card payments through a smartphone or tablet, has been expanding and adapting its services to this “new normal.”

Square’s e-commerce offering, can now create QR codes and place them at tables or booths. Using the camera on their phones, customers scan the QR code and the menu opens on their device, where they can select items and pay in one fell swoop.

However, this is different from other third-party QR-related services that simply direct customers to an online menu or website. Each Square QR code is linked to a specific table or collection area — this helps restaurant staff know exactly where a customer is located.

The new self-serve tool is designed primarily to reduce contact between the buyer and seller, it should also bring additional efficiencies by reducing waiting times. Diners no longer have to hang around for someone to serve them or bring the check — everything is done in a single transaction initiated entirely by the customer.

This launch comes just a few months after PayPal launched QR code payments in 28 markets globally, in a move that further extended PayPal’s reach beyond its traditional focus on online payments.