Square POS platform – Don’t let the Seller miss the Sale

Thursday, July 04, 2024. 10:13am
Square POS platform - Don't let the Seller miss the Sale
John O’Beirne, Executive Director of Square Europe

Don’t let the seller miss the sale

Square’s POS platform has saved on time, money, and helped business growth internationally. Now it’s geared up to help restaurants and delis reach new heights

On June 24, 2024, technology company Square hosted one of its series of Supper Club events at a restaurant in Dublin. A guest panel discussed topics that included local vs. global food sourcing, seasonal menus, and supplier transparency. Participants in the Irish restaurant industry will be familiar with Square’s business management products and point-of-sale (POS) technology tools, but the company has emerged as more than just a service provider in Ireland’s food and beverage sector – it is an active participant.

Square’s Supper Club events and its sponsorship of the Restaurant Association of Ireland awards is more than a marketing strategy. It allows the company to get beneath the skin of the industry, create a forum for industry peers to meet and foster open and honest conversations. And in addition, it helps the company to remain tuned into the requirements of the industry to help improve their products accordingly.

“We’re always trying to learn,” John O’Beirne, Executive Director of Square Europe, tells H&R Times. “We feed that knowledge back to our product teams to make sure we introduce updates into the next release of our products.”

This approach boils down to a three-pillar mantra: “Can we save sellers time? Can we save them money?  Can we help them grow their business?” The company strives to make good on its tagline: “Don’t let the seller miss a sale.”

Square’s origin story began in 2009 when Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter) effectively invented the Square card reader with his colleague Jim McKelvey. The concept was to allow people to pay for products with smartphones (then beginning to become ubiquitous). Square grew from a single product card reader into a suite of financial services – primarily in the U.S. but also across territories such as Australia, Canada and the UK. Square has based its European headquarters in Ireland for the past eight years where its offices employ 300 people across Square and its parent company Block.

This POS technology revolutionised the market for SME and large businesses. Traditionally, POS tech pricing rates differed depending on the amount of a seller’s usage. There were different fee scales or transaction-based fees. Square introduced flat, transparent fees.

Square POS platform - Don't let the Seller miss the Sale

“Irrespective of whether you take a card or cash, we have a flat fee. Merchants know exactly what they are going to pay. There are no surprises,” says John O’Beirne, who joined Square last December from Bank of Ireland where he spent 20 years in various senior positions.

Other innovations included the removal of contracts between seller and POS provider. The Square Terminal is a handheld device for everything from taking orders, to checking inventory, taking payments or printing receipts, versatile mobile and  easy to set up. Payment speeds are equally transparent. “Our products are really quick at allowing you to take a payment,” says John. “It gets in touch with the card issuer’s bank, allowing instant authorisation. A deli or a coffee shop could have 50% of a day’s activity – or more – in the space of one hour. You need something that is not going to take forever to dial up and authorise. It has to process sales quickly.”

Square hardware and software tools are not only geared toward helping hospitality businesses handle payments and sales. They also have the power to streamline inventory, staffing, invoicing, and many other functions that help hospitality businesses.

The platform lets restaurants set menus. When the waiter takes an order on the terminal, that order can be zoomed back into the kitchen which speeds up the production process through Square’s Kitchen Display System. The business owner or manager has access to Square’s dashboard, which gives a real-time overview of sales and other insightful data. It can also be used for stock control and staff management, allowing a restaurant manager to plan ingredient purchases and staff rotas.

“It takes disparate, complex elements of running a business and makes them simple: saving time and money,” says John. “A manager running a restaurant at size or scale now has a dashboard they can access at any point. Even if a manager is not in their restaurant, they can see how busy the restaurant is via their phone.  I was with a seller recently who ran a bakery during the day and a sit-down restaurant in the evening. They were able to compare and contrast their business activity at the same time a year ago. By looking at the dashboard, they were able to understand which things sold well on a particular day and plan accordingly.”

Square’s global insights and analytics – gleaned from their POS platforms – are invaluable for anyone involved in foodservice. Their recent coffee report revealed that flat whites make up the most popular (non-retail) coffee purchases in Ireland, accounting for 25.4% of all sales, followed by americanos (22.1%). International data, combined with detailed breakdowns of a trader’s performance, saves time, money, and helps grow a business.

“Insights can teach us about how people are improving or enhancing their business; how they are growing their revenue by learning from other businesses,” continues John. “What are restaurants like mine doing? What is making them successful? How are they growing?”

Square POS platform - Don't let the Seller miss the Sale

The system allows a restaurateur to effortlessly build their own marketing database. “You can then work out, ‘How much of my business is coming from what proportion of my customers?’ What do I want to offer them from a loyalty perspective?”

Simple philosophies underpin Square. For example, if a seller has network problems – their 4G connection or Wi-Fi goes down – the platform allows the seller to take payments offline: “A restaurant will still be able to take the payment and doesn’t lose the sale”. Square has cyber fraud and risk teams and “strives to protect” sellers, merchants or customers.

“As a full payment service provider we make sure everything a seller does, in terms of taking payments, is fully compliant. We scan transactions for fraud or charge backs. If something goes wrong, our customer service and account management teams take over. If there’s a disputed transaction we can pause the account and investigate what exactly happened. It’s about trying to get to the truth as quickly as possible.” Square’s account management and customer success teams help sellers of all sizes, be they small, or “larger sellers” where POS interactions “tend to be more individual or complex”. In these cases, a dedicated point of contact helps the seller come to a solution.

The company plans to continue making business interactions easier for Irish restaurants and foodservice businesses in the months and years to come. “The platform is constantly being innovated and worked on, so a seller is getting improvements the whole time.”

Between payment processing, and data analysis, Square is on a mission to ease the burden and increase the efficiency of running a restaurant.


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