Our rating(3.7/5)
Square for Restaurants EPOS is great value for those with multiple tills.
Square for Restaurants is an iPad-based POS system that works with Square card terminals for payments. The monthly subscription includes software for any number of iPads at one location.
  • Pros: Simple fees. No lock-in. Self-serve ordering. Kitchen display system. Integration with Square payments.

  • Cons: Not always that intuitive. No ingredient-tracking. Features can be too simple for some. Font size should be adjustable.

  • Best for: Small restaurants and busy cafés with several points of sale.

This review is based on our own tests and first-hand experience of Square for Restaurants. To explain our ratings, we’ll first cover what the product is and then dive into the details of the system.

What is Square for Restaurants?

Square for Restaurants is a cloud-based point of sale (POS) system that works on iPad and Square Register and connects with any Square card machines. It has restaurant-specific features for small single- or multi-location food places, with options to connect with additional tools outside the platform.

The software relies on an internet connection to use most features and sync with other iPad tills, but offline mode is available for accepting card transactions if the internet is down. You can set up an unlimited tills, send orders to a kitchen printer, integrate with online orders and the many other things covered below.

Square’s POS systems all have a payments focus with a good user experience at its core. And we know Square likes to be holistic – to allow you to run all aspects of a restaurant in one system.

Emily Sorensen portrait   Emily Sorensen, Senior Editor at MobileTransaction

Square is also an ‘all-in-one platform’ with business tools ready to use in the browser-based online dashboard. Potentially, a small restaurant doesn’t need any other software, especially as payment processing is included.

We’ve always loved Square’s huge range of complimentary functions like QR code ordering and a virtual terminal for taking orders over the phone.

Our opinion: definitely efficient, but not the most advanced

Overall, we can see great potential for Square for Restaurants as an easy, very efficient POS system for small restaurants. Our experience, however, also shows some things can be improved, like it should be possible to change font size or add images to menu items.

The main things you are paying for on the Plus plan (as opposed to Free) is a highly tailored EPOS with crucial features for the hospitality sector, customisation options, coordinated orders between front and back of house – with 24/7 support thrown in for good measure.

There’s also much value in the complimentary payment features, such as self-service ordering at your establishment.

I think Square for Restaurants is a low-risk investment, but finding out what functions you need in your food business is key to deciding whether it’s the best value for your budget.

Emily Sorensen portrait   Emily Sorensen, Senior Editor at MobileTransaction

Other POS systems we’ve tested have more advanced features for a similar price (or similar features for less), but these are usually priced per iPad till. If you have multiple tills at one location, Square can work out cheaper since you pay one subscription per location, not per iPad.

Square’s many integration options mean you’re not limited in what your restaurant can do. What you can’t change is the fact it only works with Square’s own card terminals – there is no option to use other payment systems.


There are three Square POS restaurant plans: Free, Plus and Premium.

The Free plan is (surprise, surprise) free and has the fewest features. The Plus plan costs a monthly fee per location: £69 + VAT. Contrary to a lot of other POS providers, this fee covers an unlimited number of POS terminals as long as they are at the same location. Any additional trading locations will cost another £69 + VAT each. The price of the Premium plan is tailored around your business, so it requires your contacting Square for a quote.

You can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Plus or Premium. Otherwise, you can always use the Free plan for an unlimited time.

Square for Restaurants cost
Subscription per location (unlimited tills) Free: £0/mo
Plus: £69 + VAT/mo
Premium: Quote on request
Chip, contactless transactions 1.75%
Keyed transactions 2.5%
Ecommerce transactions European cards: 1.4% + 25p
Non-European cards: 2.5% + 25p
Online order fee Pickup/self-serve orders free, delivery orders 50p/each
Instant Transfers 1% added to transaction fee
Refunds Original transaction fee is retained
Chargebacks Free
Square for
Subscription per location (unlimited tills) Free: £0/mo
Plus: £69 + VAT/mo
Premium: Quote on request
Chip, contactless transactions 1.75%
Keyed transactions 2.5%
Ecommerce transactions European cards: 1.4% + 25p
Non-European cards: 2.5% + 25p
Online order fee Pickup/self-serve orders free, delivery orders 50p/each
Instant Transfers 1% added to transaction fee
Refunds Original transaction fee is retained
Chargebacks Free

The card transaction fees are the same for the Restaurants software as with Square’s other services: 1.75% per transaction via chip and PIN, contactless and swipe cards, whether by credit or debit card, domestic, foreign or premium card, or mobile wallet.

When a refund is processed to a customer, Square keeps the original transaction fee paid. Chargebacks incur no admin fees. If you want money deposited within a few hours, you can activate Instant Transfers for a 1% fee added to the base transaction rate – payouts in 1-2 working days are otherwise free.

Online transactions through payment links, your website or ordering page cost 1.4% + 25p for European cards and 2.5% + 25p for non-European cards. Virtual terminal and manually keyed in card payments at the till cost 2.5%.

Delivery orders that are placed online incur an additional 50p fee even though you deliver the food yourself. This is to pay for the additional features involved in takeaway orders, such as texting customers order updates.

Square Restaurant Kit bundles are available to purchase if you are not getting your own hardware elsewhere. They are delivered within only 2-3 working days.

We can see it’s cheaper to get these kits as a bundle through Square than to buy the equipment individually, but if you already have some of the items, it could be better to source the rest separately.

Hardware Price*
Square Register £599 (see offer)
Square Reader £19 (see offer)
Square Terminal £149 (see offer)

*Excluding VAT.

Alternatively, you can get Square Register for £599 + VAT that would replace the need for an iPad, tablet holder and card machine. This is a unique touchscreen device by Square with the Restaurants EPOS built in.

If you can’t pay upfront, Square provides their own interest-free instalments available as 3-, 6- or 12-month plans. After submitting a few basic details for the credit check, you will get an instant response as to whether Square approved the repayment plan.

User experience

My first reaction during testing? Square for Restaurants looks too simple to believe it has all the features you need in a restaurant. But don’t be fooled – the system is built for efficiency, giving you features for a tailored experience of the POS system.

Firstly, we could group food items or buttons into menus (e.g. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner), display groups (e.g. Hot Drinks, Sides, Shortcuts) and products with variants and modifiers (e.g. Americano + regular size + oat milk). You can easily switch between menus below the menu display.

You can basically customise the POS screen in many ways to fit your needs, for example:

  • Include bestseller items on a specific menu page
  • Add service charge either by default or manually
  • Choose the POS interface colour scheme: light or dark

Image: MobileTransaction

Square for Restaurants - POS menu

Square for Restaurants’s POS menu can be customised, but there are no images of products.

And downsides?

You can’t display images of products, and the font and style of buttons and menus are so non-distinct that it can actually slow you down when you carefully read which option to tap next. Some actions, like adding a product variant, require an unnecessary extra button tap – so it could’ve been streamlined more.

At least the backend settings give you options to choose which screen to land on after certain actions, so the POS flow is partially decided by you.

It felt a bit overwhelming to use Square for Restaurants the first time, because the system forces you to decide on lots of settings before you can use the app. I had to look up some of the functions before I knew what to choose. Not everyone is ready to do that right at the start.

Emily Sorensen portrait   Emily Sorensen, Senior Editor at MobileTransaction

Square asks you to set up a lot of functions before the first time of using the app. This can be daunting for someone who hasn’t considered all the detailed ways to use a POS system.

A more intuitive way is to decide all these things in steps as you are introduced to the functions visually in the software, with detailed explanations of what it all means. I had to look up some settings in the help section before I was able to make a qualified decision on them.

POS features

Compared with Square Point of Sale, the Restaurants software feels like an extension of the free software – but with more restaurant features and more customisation options.

From our tests, we see that the interaction between front-of-house and back-of-house operations, i.e. orders placed at the till and fired to the kitchen, is one of the key things you are paying for. This includes:

  • Kitchen Display System (KDS) app
  • Deciding which foods are fired immediately to the kitchen
  • Timing of courses

Many features are similar to the free Point of Sale features, including all the payment methods (card reader, manual card entry, cash, cheques, vouchers, etc.), split bills, adding tax, tipping, product variants, customer library and gift cards. A difference with the Restaurants POS is that settings for each register have options to tailor some of these functions further.

Let’s have a look at Restaurants features, some of which require Plus (paid plan).

Table tab functions: The visual floor plan, dividable into sections, is handy for keeping track of orders and do things like:

  • Attach each bill to a chair and check the timer on each table for when the group arrived
  • Decide when the table should turn (e.g. after an hour) to make it easier to spot who’s likely to leave soon
  • Split bills, so each chair gets a separate receipt for their own items

Image: MobileTransaction

One of the floor plans we created while testing Square for Restaurants.

Kitchen Display System (KDS): This is a separate app for your kitchen included on the Plus plan. It receives orders in real time, including from Deliveroo and Uber Eats if relevant, so you can prepare and organise orders efficiently.

Discounts and promotions: Set up various kinds of discounts like Buy One Get One Free, Student Discount (% or £) and timed promos like a Happy Hour offer on all alcoholic drinks on set days and times.

Service charge and tipping: A discretionary service charge can be added to bills automatically, whether for larger groups (determined by number of seats) or anyone. It’s also possible to apply taxes to the service charge automatically. Alternatively, you can set up detailed tipping options.

Image: MobileTransaction

Square Restaurants - actions menu

Actions menu options accessible in the Restaurants app.

Employee management: Set up individual staff accounts so you can analyse sales per employee, attach orders to individual colleagues, track work hours, set individual staff permissions and view timecards. Square for Restaurants requires employees to log in with a device code specific to the individual register.

Stock management: Products can be tracked, i.e. you can add stock levels for each item and automatically hide it when out of stock, but you can’t track ingredients. This means you need a separate system to manage food inventory and new stock orders.

Image: MobileTransaction

A bill can be divided between chairs at a specific table.

Customer library: Create a customer library with personal details like an address, order history and saved payment methods (useful for invoices). You can’t add loyalty points to customer profiles, though, so you’re dependent on discounts and gift cards as loyalty perks.

While all of the above can be done with Restaurants Plus, there are some limitations on the Free plan. On both plans, you get access to the Order Manager, fast entry orders, multi-location management, remote device management, open tills, repeat items, dining preferences and advanced discounts.

The differences between the Restaurants Free and Plus plans are mainly:

Feature Free plan Plus plan
Customer support Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm 24/7
Team management Free tier included ‘Team Plus’ included
Table management Basic Advanced (w/seat mgmt.)
Menu management Basic Advanced (w/course mgmt.)
Reporting Basic Advanced (w/shifts, section sales)
Service charge Basic Advanced (w/party size thresholds)
Closing procedures Included w/close of day reports
Kitchen display system (KDS)
Item availability tracking
Shared device settings
Live sales
Reopen closed sales

In either case, you have access to many general Square features like electronic gift cards and staff timesheets.

Square’s modular approach to features is a competitive advantage – we know that the ability to pick and choose from the endless Dashboard tools has been key to survival for businesses.

Emily Sorensen portrait   Emily Sorensen, Senior Editor at MobileTransaction

Features not included in the restaurant POS may be added through integrations with external apps compatible with Square. These apps cover functions like accounting, ecommerce, customer loyalty, inventory management and marketing.

Most of the external software costs a monthly subscription, so you should consider carefully whether it is most economical to choose another POS solution containing all the features you need, or whether you don’t mind picking and choosing integrations that work with Square for Restaurants.

Online and self-serve ordering

Square has prolifically introduced new online ordering features in recent years.

On a basic level, all merchants can label POS transactions as eat-in, takeaway, delivery and pickup to distinguish transactions in the system. But Square also offers a free online ordering page. This can be for click and collect (pickup) and takeaway deliveries, or self-serve orders within restaurant premises.

You can print QR codes to place on your tables that seated customers can scan with their phones. A web page with your menu then appears in their phone browser, enabling the customer to order and pay for meals. Food orders are sent to the POS or kitchen display system so they can be prepared immediately.

Alternatively, Square for Restaurants can be connected with online takeaway websites (Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat). This requires a monthly Deliverect subscription. As with the online ordering page, Deliverect automatically sends takeaway orders to your POS system.

What about other ways to bill customers? We recommend Square’s virtual terminal for taking payments or deposits over the phone, or sending an email invoice (also great through Square) for e.g. catering jobs.

Card payments and hardware

The Square for Restaurants EPOS only works on iPad and Square Register, not iPhone, Android tablets or computers.

Square Register has a connected card terminal, whereas the iPad app works directly with Square Reader or Square Terminal – not other card machines.

Photo: MobileTransaction

Square Register in a cafe

The Restaurants POS looks fanciest with Square Register – here pictured in a London café.

The classy-looking Square Register is a complete countertop setup, minus a receipt printer and cash drawer. It has a touchscreen interface for the POS software and touchscreen card terminal facing the customer. You just need WiFi and then you’re good to go with that.

If using an iPad, Square Reader is the most straightforward (and cheapest) choice for connecting a card reader. It has no display or buttons, so customers can just tap or insert their card to pay when you prompt them to.

A more versatile option is Square Terminal with its touchscreen that, on the screen, prompts customers to pay, add a tip or anything else you set it to do. It works perfectly as a table-side terminal, independently from the main register, but in sync with the POS system.

If you’re just on the free restaurant plan, Terminal’s software is the same as the free Square Point of Sale app on your smartphone. But if you upgrade to Restaurants Plus, you can log into the restaurant POS software on Square Terminal, giving you more tailored options for hospitality.

The system also works with receipt printers, cash drawers and kitchen printers. Not only that – the backend settings allow you to determine how a food order is sent to kitchen printers (e.g. “Straight Away” items are sent without coursing information) and work in combination with other iPads at your establishment.

Image: MobileTransaction

Square text receipt feedback

If not printing a receipt, you can email or text one asking for feedback.

Reports and analytics

Square’s complimentary analytics are frankly excellent. They’re fully accessed in Square’s browser ‘Dashboard’ – the Restaurants app just has what is useful there.

Some of the things you can analyse in detail through Dashboard include: sales trends, payment methods, discounts, modifier sales, labour vs sales analyses, service charges, voids and gift cards.

I love how much sales and business data you can analyse in Square Dashboard without having to pay a premium for advanced reports (other POS systems typically charge extra for that).

Emily Sorensen portrait   Emily Sorensen, Senior Editor at MobileTransaction

The cash drawer is managed in the iPad app, where you start the day confirming the amount of cash, and close the till at the end of the day when you can verify the amount left in the till (note: these are Plus plan features).

Image: MobileTransaction

Square for Restaurants account menu

Reporting and account options in the iPad app.

The Square for Restaurants app allows you to view:

  • Live sales (Plus only)
  • Sales reports that can be emailed, printed or customised by day, device and team member
  • Cash management reports detailing paid-ins/outs, start of shift, etc. (Plus only)

It’s possible to export end-of-day reports to an Excel (CVS) file, or integrate transactions with Xero, Zoho Books or another accounting program.

Customer support and reviews

The Plus subscription includes round-the-clock phone support, while Free only has weekday support (9am-5pm). There’s also a help section online, walkthrough videos and articles answering most questions.

When you get started with the software, written prompts tell you what to do next, but some of these could be more elaborate.

Customer reviews are generally good for Square UK, but there are occasional reports of funds being held unexpectedly by Square who then ask for transaction proof as part of the security procedures. During our own tests, we have not had any problems with Square’s service or payments.

Who is Square for Restaurants best for?

If you’re already using Square for card payments, ecommerce or invoicing – and opening a café, bar or restaurant – it’s a no-brainer to try out Square for Restaurants. The software works seamlessly with Square payments and integrates with all your activities across multiple locations, but it only works with Square’s card machines (and only on iPad or Square Register).

Most other POS providers charge their subscriptions per tablet till, which quickly racks up the monthly cost.

That being said, even the Plus plan lacks many advanced features like ingredient-tracking and table reservations, so you’ll need to figure out what features would benefit your establishment and see if Square can meet those criteria.

For a similar monthly fee, you can get more features with other restaurant POS software like TouchBistro or Lightspeed.

On the other hand, if you have multiple till points at the same location, there’s lots of money to save because the monthly fee covers unlimited iPad tills at the same location. Most other POS providers charge their subscriptions per tablet till, which quickly racks up the monthly cost.