About a year ago, Giron found his only Square reader wasn’t working, so he immediately had to drive to Best Buy to get more. “I lost time being here [at the restaurant],” he said. “I needed a new one right away.”
Now, he said, he has three readers for everyday use and another three on reserve in case those stop working.
Despite the infrastructure challenges, Giron said Square’s analytics have helped him cut costs in the kitchen. For instance, Giron suspected a couple of fish dishes weren’t doing well, and after checking sales trends, he confirmed his restaurant was selling only a handful a week. He decided to offer them seasonally.
Harold Chacon, founder of White Apron Specialty Sandwiches in Northwest Washington, has been using Square since he opened his shop three months ago.
During lunch rushes, his staff sometimes processes as many as 400 transactions in an hour. Chacon uses Square Register on two iPads at the shop’s counter and keeps a third iPad on reserve for busy days. He commissioned a carpenter to build wooden stands for the tablets, and he wirelessly connected a cash drawer to deploy after a cash transaction.
Between the iPads, wireless routers, four printers and limited equipment maintenance, Chacon has spent about $10,000 on the Square infrastructure, which he said is about a third of what he’d pay for a traditional credit card system.
Every week or so, Square Register or the iPad malfunctions and needs to be reset, costing the business a few minutes, Chacon said. If one of his two wireless networks falter, he can process the transaction on his phone’s network. But since the cash drawer depends on the wireless connection, he sometimes must open it manually with a key. And when the wireless network is functioning, the cash drawer can be deployed automatically without a sale, which Chacon views as a security concern.
For now, the system works, Chacon said, but it may not hold up when his business grows — he said he hopes to open four or five new locations in the next few years — because it still lacks such capabilities as opening tabs for customers who call ahead.
“It doesn’t have all the features for a businesses that sells many different items,” Chacon said. Until then, “you have to be creative in how you set up your system.”