7 Tips To Optimise Your Restaurant Menu With Square

Your menu is a showcase for your team’s culinary talents. An exciting gastronomic presentation that leaves prospective customers salivating. Migrating your menu to your restaurant POS system can make it quicker and easier for your front of house teams to communicate customers’ orders to the kitchen so you can focus on wowing customers with the quality of service. But in terms of benefits, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here, we’ll look at some tips to help you create and optimise your menu with Square for Restaurants.

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Get to grip with the basics

To migrate your menu to Square successfully, you need to know the basics. When you create a new menu on Square for Restaurants, you’ll come to grips with terms like categories, items, variations and modifiers. The better you understand these, the easier it will be to create an easy and intuitive menu for both your customers and staff to navigate.

These are different groups of similar dishes. For example, these might contain different soups, salads or sides. In an Italian restaurant, they might have different pizzas or pasta dishes, while in a Chinese restaurant, they may offer various chow mein or fried rice dishes.


Items are individual listings that appear on your menu. Individual dishes are considered items, as are individual sides, drinks, sauces and other sundries.


Variations allow users to create subdivisions within the same item. So they may be able to create different variations for small, medium or large fries. They may also create a full-sized portion of pasta for the main course or a half-sized portion for a starter. Or they may differentiate between hot and iced coffee or dairy/soy/oat/almond lattes.
Variations are a great tool to enable customers to personalise their dining experience.


Modifiers allow customers to customise their orders even further by adding or subtracting optional ingredients. One of the more obvious examples of this is adding or subtracting toppings on a pizza, burger or sandwich. However, it is also useful for cooking options (e.g. whether the customer wants their steak well done, medium or rare).

Master your modifiers

While we’re on the subject of modifiers, a certain balance must be found. Used correctly, modifiers can make customers’ favourite items even more attuned to their taste. But when used indiscriminately, they can become unwieldy for you, your front of house team, and even your customers.

Sure, you can technically add modifiers to virtually any dish. Chefs can add mushrooms to a pasta dish as readily as a pizza. But this can lead to you creating much more work for your team than is necessary.

Instead, consider merging modifiers into sets. Modifier sets can be applied to groups of items rather than individual items. This enables restaurants to find the sweet spot between making menu items customisable and making the menu easy to navigate for the customers.

Make sure your menus match

If your restaurant uses the same menu every day, it can be easy to set up your POS. However, Square Restaurants is highly customisable, enabling users to match the menus on their digital interfaces with the physical menus that customers see in their restaurants.

If your restaurant has multiple menus (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner), your POS can too. You can also create whole new menus for special events or different times of the day.

Download free, customisable menu templates from Square >

And because the same items and display groups can be assigned to multiple menus at once, there’s no need to duplicate items.
Making sure your menus match ensures availability for every item on your menu, whether customers are on-site or not.

Think beyond your walls

Of course; you want to get customers in seats. But making your menu items available online can introduce new customers to your brand who may otherwise never step through your door. They’ll be as loyal as your regular customers if you impress them with a quality takeaway experience.

Square Restaurant POS enables restaurants to accept orders on their website with no monthly fees or commissions. They can set up their delivery services or allow customers to Click and Collect. It also features integration with Deliverect, enabling restaurants to present their menus on Deliveroo, Just Eat, Uber Eats, etc.

Make use of item and inventory tracking

Square has inventory management tools for restaurants, including inventory and item tracking. In its simplest form, this helps restaurants avoid embarrassment when customers order an unavailable menu item. Users can set the app to make items unavailable when inventory is insufficient to create menu items.

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Stock counts and alerts can prevent over or under-ordering, preventing food waste while also helping to keep favourite items in stock.

Use display groups to your advantage

The last thing you want is for your front of house team to spend too long navigating your menu on their devices when customers give their orders. It’s embarrassing for your team and frustrating for the customer. It might result in negative reviews and it can negatively impact your tips and tronc, leading to a frustrated workforce.

Using display groups to your advantage can provide quicker and easier access to popular menu items. Use colour, size and placement to make selections more intuitive and customise the user experience to the needs of your front of house staff.

Look at your menu from a customer’s perspective

Finally, if you’re unsure about the design or layout of your menu, perhaps it’s time to take a step away. Instead, look at your menu from a customer’s perspective. Incentivise regular customers to test out your menu on the POS. If they find it intuitive and accessible, you’re on to a winner. If they find it awkward or messy, their feedback can help you to improve the user experience.