Square Inc., the payments startup founded by Twitter Inc. Chairman Jack Dorsey, is adding features to target the restaurant industry as it moves beyond individual merchants such as dog walkers and taxi drivers.
The company has updated its payments register, which comprises credit card readers and a cash drawer, to enable quick-service restaurants to modify orders and customize kitchen tickets, San Francisco-based Square said in a statement today.
It marks Square’s biggest push into the food business since it introduced mobile payments in 7,000 Starbucks Corp. (SBUX:US) stores last year. Square began offering a stamp-sized credit-card reader in 2009 that lets merchants accept payments on the go, and is now seeking to replace cash registers by companies including NCR Corp. (NCR:US) and increase competition with devices by Intuit Inc. (INTU:US) and EBay Inc. (EBAY:US)’s PayPal.
The majority of Square’s merchants are still individuals, Dorsey, who is chief executive officer, said in an interview. Targeting specific industries will help the company compete for cash registers as well as securing more of the market for mobile payments for physical goods, which is set to top $170 billion in transactions by 2015, according to Juniper Research.
“No. 1 right now is still individual services like the personal trainer, the dog walker, the golf instructor, the piano teacher,” Dorsey said in an interview at Little Muenster, a Manhattan restaurant that uses Square’s updated service. “Food is a daily occurrence and we think we can add a lot of value to that. We can remove a lot of friction and make it easier.”
More than 3 million merchants are able to use Square’s card swiper and the company is processing more than $12 billion in payments on an annual basis, it said in the statement. Square doesn’t break out its revenue into categories of users. “Individuals” are most active, followed by “retail” and “services,” said Faryl Ury, a spokeswoman for the company.
In the restaurant industry, “we saw a lot of mess,” Dorsey told Bloomberg Television’s Cristina Alesci in an interview to be broadcast today. “We saw a lot of pain that people had to go through to do very simple things, so we thought we could add a lot of value by building a simple system.”
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