When Square permanently folded its Wallet app earlier this year, it quickly introduced Square Order as a way to pay ahead for nibbles and sips at coffee shops. Today it's introducing two new features to further streamline your cafe experience.
Even as it was, Square Order offered a pretty quick and easy, cash-free transaction: Order on your phone, pay on your phone, get a notification when your food was ready to go. Grab it. Eat it. Drink it. Dunzo.
Arrival prediction is part of the latest upgrade, designed to cut your wait time down to as close to zero as possible. Vendors that participate in Square Order have prep times built in for each menu item. Now, customers on their way to their favorite java joint can pre-order, and then when they're within the zone—say, three minutes away for a mocha with whole milk and whipped cream that takes three minutes to make—a "proximity tag" is triggered; the drink is started; and hey, it's (supposed to be) ready when they walk through the door.
If someone is springing for a mocha with whole milk and whipped cream every single morning, it will be added to a custom "buyer preference" list that saves faves and brings them up with a couple taps.
These advancements are technologically cool, but also make me feel just a teensy bit deflated; ostensibly, they slice out the largely pleasant, human-interaction portion of the ritual that is being a regular at a local spot. Presumably you could give the barista a nod when you nab your cup on the way out. It seems that the minutes saved might be negligible, but the social niceties could just dwindle down to nothing at all.
However! For fast-paced folks it could be a totally nifty trick. These updates will be available to all businesses that currently use Square Order, but Blue Bottles in New York and San Francico have been beta testing everything and are ready to caffeinate you on the fly. [Square Order]