Square, the mobile payments startup, is testing a new app called “Square Pickup.” It’s a simple app that lets you order food from a Square merchant ahead of time. The app is currently in testing with several San Francisco restaurants. Appropriately, we noticed the app when we were "picking up" lunch today.
Instead of calling a restaurant to place a pickup order, users can just make the purchase with the Square Pickup App. The app is loaded with the restaurant’s menu. Just choose what you want, pay with Square, and then pick up your food when it’s ready. The app is currently in beta testing for both iOS and Android.
The premise of this app is very similar to a startup called OrderAhead that lets you order food to pick up later via an app. GrubHub / Seamless, a company that recently filed paperwork to go public, also allow you to order food online to pick up later.
Square has a few massive advantages versus these companies, however, in making this “ordering for pickup” business work. First, tens of thousands of merchants have already loaded their menus into their Square accounts. These merchants also use Square for the Point of Sale system. Now, Square can allow all these merchants to accept orders through Square Pickup with the flip of a switch. Unlike it's competitors, Square may even offer this service for free since it gets paid a transaction fee for processing the credit card.
At Priceonomics, we phone in orders to our favorite lunch spot (Lunch Geek) almost every day. It’s kind of a pain in the butt place to place an order over the phone. Since Lunch Geek is located a few blocks away from Square, it is one of the few restaurants Square chose to test out Square Pickup. We noticed advertisements for this new app today when we picked up lunch. We expect to use it extensively.
Square Pickup could be a massive step in bringing more offline commerce online. Ordering food is just about as “local” as commerce gets. Now that spending can go through Square.