Talking tech since 2003

We’re living in the year 2014, yet there are some restaurants (including some of my favorites) that don’t accept online orders for takeout. It’s madness. Fortunately, mobile payments company Square is on it. According to MacRumors, the company is testing an app called Square Pickup that would enable customers to order and pay for takeout food, bringing your local sushi joint or pizza parlor into the 21st century.

square-pickupWhen you open the Square Pickup app on your phone, you can browse local eateries and select the one you want. You’re then shown a menu for that establishment from which you add items to your order. When you’re all ready to check out, Square Pickup totals everything up, adds the appropriate tax and even gives you the option to tip the restaurant. Square then takes your payment information and processes the payment and the order.

Big deal, you might say. Aren’t there services like GrubHub doing the same thing? Sure. But none of those services are payment processors like Square. That gives Square a distinct advantage. Because the company is already getting a slice of each credit card transaction, it can offer the pick-up service without any additional fees. Restaurants are already used to paying a small sliver of each credit card transaction to a payment processor. If someone orders takeout via Square Pickup, the restaurant is simply paying a different payment processor; but it’s getting to use an online ordering system for free.

This is an app I could see myself using quite a bit. A lot of major chain pizza stores already have online ordering figured out, but their local counterparts aren’t quite there yet. And other types of restaurants, both chain and local, are way behind when it comes to ordering takeout online. Square Pickup may be the answer with the most attractive price tag for businesses.

Square Pickup is currently in beta on both iOS and Android, and actually has its own page on the Square website. Unfortunately, you’ll need an invite code to start using the app.

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