Square is looking to shake up its revenue streams and maybe live up to that $5 billion valuation it’s now boasting. On Monday, the startup released Square Order, an app that will allow users to order food in advance from cafes and restaurants and then pick them up without having to wait in line.
If it sounds similar to Square Wallet, that’s because it uses the same backend technology, except Square Wallet has been dropped from the App Store. Evidently, the app simply wasn’t getting the traction Square had hoped for, so the company has decided to scrap the feature after three years. Current Wallet users will be able to continue using the app, but non-users won't be able to download the app.
The new app is pretty simple to use. Simply browse available merchants, find the item you want to order and its modifiers (example: if you want your chai latte made with soymilk instead of cow’s milk), and even add a note to the merchant (no water, extra hot), and order. Your credit card is automatically charged and the app sends you a push notification to let you know when your order will be ready. You’ll get another notification when your order is ready for pick-up.
Square’s cut of sales is pretty interesting. While typically, the company takes a 2.75% cut on transactions, it’s going to take a whopping 8% cut on Square Orders. That might put a damper on penetration if merchants decide they want to keep their profits and simply make customers wait in line, as they have since the dawn of commerce.
But Square Order could help businesses with customer acquisition. The company plans to offer advertisements for merchants, promote loyalty programs, and fund discounts to drive more customers to a particular store. Additionally, early beta testing shows that customers who use Square Order end up ordering more frequently than they did before, according to AllThingsD.
Square launched the business-facing side of Square Order last month to merchants and integrated it into Square Register as Square Pickup. Bay Area Whole Foods stores were among the first customers to use the feature, allowing customers to order sandwiches in advance and pick them up when ready.
Currently, the feature is only available in New York City and San Francisco, but users can request that the app add their own cities and favorite eateries.
Square Order won’t be a first-mover in this space. Tapingo currently offers a similar service for college campuses, and of course, there’s Seamless/GrubHub, Just-Eat, and other food ordering services (that are geared toward takeout and delivery).