A consumer-facing touchscreen kiosk at a New York City Shake Shack location / Square A consumer-facing touchscreen kiosk at a New York City Shake Shack location / Square

Square’s Payments Hardware Now Supports Custom Point of Sale

Square is making it easier for any restaurant to accept payments using its technology on their own terms. The company just announced its Square Reader SDK (software development kit), allowing developers to build apps that use Square’s card reader, contactless reader, and stand.

For restaurants, this could equal a custom app-based point of sale (POS) system, built to fit the restaurant’s exact needs and specifications. For developers, this means the ability to build POS software for restaurants, using Square to handle payments. The technology lends itself to custom self-ordering kiosks, mobile point of sale or in-store line busting applications with built-in payment technology.

Carl Perry, Developer Platform Lead at Square, explained two potential markets for the new products. “You can have a standalone developer agency that’s building a point of sale they want to target to restaurants and sell it to a lot of different restaurants. Or you can have restaurants that have enough resources where they want to build that customized experience around checkout for their customers. They can leverage square’s platform and hardware now to directly embed that inside of that point of sale.”

Square has been quietly testing this technology for some time. Shake Shack, Joe and the Juice, and Boston’s Clover Food Lab operate completely customized systems using Square.

Why Go Custom?

New York-based Shake Shack partnered with design and development agency Fuzz to build the self-serve kiosks debuted at the chain’s cashless, cashier-free Astor Place location in New York, since expanding the technology to five additional “hybrid” locations with both touchscreen and cashiers.

Anoop Pillarisetti, digital product and strategy at Shake Shack, told Skift Table that the decision to introduce a completely custom consumer-facing touch screen came as a result of the chain’s hugely successful mobile app. “Prior to my arrival at Shake Shack, we spent a lot of effort building a mobile application on iOS and Android, and had a lot of learnings around that and thinking about the in-store experience. When confronted with the question of kiosks in stores, we’re taking a lot of what we’ve learned from the mobile applications and converting that into an in-store experience.”

“One of the most exciting pieces of feedback we’ve gotten from the [Astor Place] team is that by making the experience less transactional with the guest, we’ve really found a way to add more touch-points and more hospitality,” he said. “The engagement between team member and guest becomes much more human because you’re not focused on taking orders and exchanging money, you’re focused on explaining the menu and talking though what people are looking for and walking them through the kiosk [experience].”

The custom experience works; the automated Astor Place location ranks among the highest Shacks from a guest experience and guest satisfaction standpoint, Pillarisetti said.

Restaurants are an increasing point of focus for open-minded Square, which debuted its own restaurant-specific POS system in May. According to Square president and CEO Jack Dorsey, 60 percent of restaurants using the new platform have self-onboarded, no sales rep required.

There is no fee to use the Square Reader SDK. Payments processing is 2.5 percent + 10 cents, similar to other differentiated offerings like Square Register.

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