Soon you’ll be able to order food or book an appointment by using a Square app.
On Wednesday, the payments company announced the acquisition of BookFresh, a booking tool for services businesses. It is also testing a new application called Square Pickup that lets users order directly in the application, pay with Square, and pick up their food in the restaurant when they're ready.
The moves represent a broadening of Square’s payments business beyond its original, iconic credit-card swiping device, which let businesses accept in-person payments with a smartphone or tablet—a substitute for cash registers and credit-card terminals.
Last year, it expanded into e-commerce with Square Market, which let existing Square merchants take online orders. It also has apps for consumers, like Square Cash, which allows people to send and receive transactions via a mobile device, and Square Wallet, which lets buyers pay with stored payment information rather than having to take out a card to swipe it.
Square Pickup, like Square Market, is best thought of as an extension of Square’s existing in-person payments for restaurants, delis, and cafes already using Square. Rather than having customers call in an order and then pay for it by swiping a card, it lets buyers order and pay through an app. It’s helped by the fact that Square merchants have already loaded their menu into Square's Register app.
BookFresh, a San Francisco-based startup, will similarly help service providers who use Square to accept payments to also manage appointments.
Robin Dhar at Priceonomics first noticed Square's new application when he picked up lunch from a local eatery. The app is still in beta and only available at select locations. In order to use Square Pickup, you need an invite code.
A spokeswoman for Square declined to comment about Square Pickup, though the signup form is publicly available on Square’s website.
Square Pickup faces competition from order-on-demand applications from Seamless, Postmates, Yelp, and PayPal. But rather than taking those companies heads-on, Square is more likely making a defensive play to keep Square merchants from trying those competing services for orders, and consolidating their transactions with Square.
The BookFresh acquisition, by contrast, could help Square expand its business among service providers.
Image courtesy of Square