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Get started with Square KDS for Android

Who is this article for?
This article is for restaurant owners and kitchen staff getting started with Square KDS Android for kitchen display system screens. If you are currently using Square KDS on iPads, you will need to migrate your hardware and software in order to continue your team’s access to your kitchen display system.

Important: If you are currently using Square KDS on iPads, you will need to migrate your hardware and software in order to continue your team’s access to your kitchen display system. Learn more about this product change and how to prepare for it in our Seller Community.

Square KDS is a kitchen display system that connects with Square for Restaurants, Square for Retail, Square Point of Sale, Square Online, and our online ordering and delivery platforms. Square KDS is included in the Square for Restaurants Plus Subscription or as a standalone KDS subscription.

Get early access to new features and connect with other sellers by joining the Square KDS for Android Beta program.

Important to Note:

  • For a better experience, please ensure the Square KDS app and the Operating System (OS) of your Android device are always up-to-date.

  • Square KDS will require an internet connection to receive tickets.

  • All orders from Square for Restaurants and Point of Sale will appear on the KDS. Your KDS can receive orders from Square Restaurants POS app on iPads, Square POS on iPads, Android devices, Square Register, Square Terminal, Square Online orders, any third-party delivery partner sending orders or any third-party kiosk partner sending orders to Square.

Set up your hardware

Recommended devices

Square KDS is compatible with the following Android devices:

If you choose to use an Android device not listed above, we cannot guarantee the quality of how Square KDS will appear on your device, and we will prioritise any bug support for the devices listed above. However, we understand that some people may prefer to use a device they already have or have a personal preference for something other than what's on Square's officially recommended list. In that case, to minimise the risk of a subpar experience, it's important that the device you choose meets the minimum specifications:

  • 8"+ screen

  • 2 GB RAM

  • Android OS 9+

If you prefer a different Android device not listed above, share your feedback in our Android KDS Feedback Survey.

Reminder: Keep the OS updated on your Android device.

Device mounts

You can mount your Android device on a wall with a compatible VESA mount (available for purchase on Square Shop). You can mount your device on a wall, but avoid areas close to flames, greasy foods, or splashing water. 

You may want to purchase a device holder, such as these Lenovo cases or Galaxy Tab cases.

Disclaimer: Block, Inc. is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers and third-party resellers linked above. This is a suggestion for your convenience.

Download the Square KDS app

  1. Open the Google Play Store app on your Android device.

  2. Tap the search field and search for Square KDS.

  3. Tap Install.

Create a Square KDS Login

To create a device code for your Android device:

  1. Log in to your online Square Dashboard and select Device management > Kitchen settings > Kitchen displays.

  2. Click Add a kitchen display.

  3. Enter a nickname and select a location.

  4. Select if you want the device to be a Prep or Expeditor station.

  5. Click Next.

  6. Select whether to have your code sent via email or phone number and click Send. You’ll need this code to sign in to the Square KDS app.

Station Types

Square KDS offers two types of stations to help streamline your kitchen fulfilment. To start using Square KDS, you'll need to choose the type of station you need:

  • Preparation (Prep) station: best for kitchen staff who focus on preparing a certain piece of each order, require less interaction with the overall ticket and need a granular view of only the items they need to make. 

  • Expeditor (Expo) station: best for kitchen staff who bridge front-of-house and back-of-house operations, finalise orders to be delivered to diners, need high-level visibility and control over prep stations, and require more interaction across every ticket.

You can choose one station or multiple stations for each type and adjust your station types whenever you need. Both station types sync and communicate with one another in real-time.

Note: Since Square KDS is location-specific, it will display every ticket taken from that location. You’ll be able to filter items and/or tickets by category or order source.

Station setting Prep station Expo station
Set layouts ✔️ ✔️
Set yellow and red timers ✔️ ✔️
View all orders ✔️ ✔️
View All Day counts ✔️ ✔️
Route based on category configuration ✔️ ✔️
Recall tickets ✔️ ✔️
Clear all tickets ✔️ ✔️
View completed items and tickets from prep stations ✖️ ✔️
Marking items and tickets as complete will also complete them at all prep stations. ✖️ ✔️
For online orders, marking a ticket as complete will update the order state to ‘Ready’. ✖️ ✔️
Recall completed tickets to the expo station or to both the expo and prep station ✖️ ✔️
Mark items as Sold Out (86-ing) ✔️ ✔️
Set up kitchen-specific categories and filter by dining options ✔️ ✔️
Prioritise a ticket to the front of queue (for all stations) ✖️ ✔️
Print tickets manually or auto-print on completion, or when tickets are received ✔️ ✔️

Set Up the Square KDS App for Android

Select items to display

Square KDS displays items based on the categories you assign. To assign categories:

  1. Open Square KDS and tap to open the menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon to view your settings.
  3. Tap Routing.
  4. Tap Items & categories.
  5. Toggle on the categories that you want to display.

Learn more about creating item categories.

Set your layout

With Square KDS, you can toggle different layouts based on your preferred text size and the amount of tickets you want displayed. To adjust your layout settings:

  1. Open Square KDS and tap to open the menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon to view your settings.
  3. Tap Layout.
  4. Select your text size.
  5. Select your preferred layout.

Set Timers & Alerts

To enable alerts and timers on your display:

  1. Open Square KDS and tap to open the menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon to view your settings.
  3. Tap Timer & Alerts.
  4. Select the timeframe for yellow and red alerts.

Route Orders through Kitchen Categories, Item Routing and Dining Options

Set up which orders go to a prep station based on the item categories, Kitchen Categories, order source (i.e. POS and online) and Dining Options. Review our setup instructions for routing orders with Square KDS.

Print from Square KDS

Connect a printer to your KDS to print order tickets for your customers for in-person, delivery and pickup orders. You can manually print or auto-print when a ticket is received or completed. Learn more about printing with Square KDS.

Use Square KDS for Android

Completing at Expo vs Prep

Both prep stations and expeditor (expo) stations can mark single items or whole tickets as complete. Marking an item or ticket complete will complete all that item or ticket at all kitchen displays at the location.

Note: If your location has a Prep and Expo device, completing an item or ticket on a Prep device will show a ‘grey dot’ next to the completed item(s) on the Expo device. Expo can then complete the ticket again as another step.

Complete a single item on a ticket

On Square KDS, tap the completed item directly on the display. If you select the wrong item, tap the item again to undo.

Note: You only have three seconds to undo item completion. After that point, you can tap the item to recall it.

Complete the whole ticket at once

Tap the top banner of the ticket you want to complete. If you tapped the wrong ticket, tap the header again to undo.
Note: You have three seconds to undo the ticket completion. View and recall the same ticket in the Completed tab.

View completed tickets

To view your completed tickets, tap Completed.

Text customer when order is marked as complete

Expo stations have an additional feature that will automatically alert Square Online and third-party delivery services when an order is ready by completing the ticket.

To enable this feature:

  1. Go to Devices on your online Square Dashboard.
  2. Click Kitchen settings > Order Settings.
  3. Select the location for kitchen order updates.
  4. Toggle on Automatically send order updates.
  5. Click Save.

When you complete a ticket on the KDS it will update the order’s fulfilment state to ‘Ready’. If you have Text diner when order is ready enabled on Square Online, your online customer will also receive a text.

Note: This is only available for expo stations. When activated, this setting will apply to all expo stations assigned to the selected location.

Grouping Identical Items

To customise your item grouping settings:

  1. On Square KDS, select Devices > Kitchen Settings > Order settings.
  2. Toggle on Combine identical items. Items with the same details will then be automatically combined into one line item.

If you toggle on ‘Single item per ticket’, this setting overrides grouping items and automatically prints each item, ungrouped, on its own ticket.

Note: ‘Combine identical items’ is off by default for existing printer stations but will turn on by default for all new printer stations you create. Learn more about grouping items.


Coursing helps you and your team manage the flow of bills – for both the front and back of house. Coursing is designed to easily group items, add items and let the kitchen know when to hold or start firing dishes.

Coursing is an optional setting, so you’ll need to visit your POS Device settings on your Square Dashboard to turn on Coursing and Hold/Fire.

To edit the coursing format your kitchen prefers on each KDS device:

  1. Open Square KDS.
  2. Tap .
  3. Tap the settings gear icon.
  4. Select Coursing.
  5. Choose between Show fired and held courses or Only show fired courses.

Prioritise Ticket

Kitchens can prioritise tickets and move orders to the front of the queue. For instance, your customer may need a quick turnaround for a last minute addition to their order, or if someone joins a table late and the ticket for their meal comes in behind the rest of the party. When you enter the order in the POS again, you can bump the ticket to the front of the queue.

Note: The prioritising function only exists for Expo stations.

To prioritise an order:

  1. On an expeditor station, tap ↑≡ on the toolbar at the bottom of the ticket.
  2. After a three-second cancellation window, the ticket will move to the front of the queue for all kitchen displays at the location with a message confirming that the order has been prioritised.

Viewing All Day Count

All Day Counts shows the total count of a specific item (i.e. in highest demand) as well as which order tickets include that item. To view a specific item across all open tickets:

  1. Open Square for KDS.
  2. Tap .
  3. Tap the item(s) you want to see All Day Counts for. Items will be highlighted across all tickets, and you’ll see the All Day Counts.
  4. To see the full-screen view of your All Day Counts, tap View all counts > View Full-screen.

Once you mark an item as completed, it will automatically be subtracted from the All Day Count.

Restaurants - Square KDS - View All Day Count

Mark an Item as Sold Out

If you need to mark an item as sold out – aka ‘86’ that item – you can do this directly from your Square kitchen display. This capability exists on both Prep and Expo station screens. When you mark an item as unavailable from Square KDS, it will update your ordering platforms, so that item appears as sold out to your customers.

Note: Any item with inventory tracking turned on cannot be marked as available or unavailable with the 86ing feature.

To 86 an item from a Prep or Expo station:

  1. Open Square KDS, and tap ≡.
  2. Tap View all items availability.
  3. Use the search tool to find an item, or select an item from the list.
  4. You can mark the item as Available or Unavailable. To 86 an item, select Unavailable then tap Save.

KDS Reporting

You can view your Square KDS reports on your online Square Dashboard. The Kitchen Performance report shows your completed ticket count, average completed ticket time, and average item completion time across all tickets by KDS device name, location, and timeframe.

To view your Square KDS report:

  1. Go to Reporting or Reports on your online Square Dashboard.

  2. Click Kitchen Performance, then select a device.

  3. Select Ticket performance to view the average completion time per ticket, or select Item performance to view the average completion time for all items, ranked in quantity from highest to lowest.

  4. Select your preferred time frame and filters at the top of the report.

The completed ticket metric is based on the device where the ticket was completed. The ticket time is calculated by subtracting the time the ticket appeared on KDS from the time the ticket is marked as completed. The item time is calculated by subtracting the time the item appeared on KDS from the time the item is marked as completed.


If Square KDS is not connecting with Square for Restaurants or Square for Retail:

  • Check to make sure you are using the most recent version of the Square Restaurants POS app or Square Retail POS app and the Square KDS app.

  • Check that your operating system is up to date on your device.

  • Go to Settings on your KDS app to double-check that your preferred item categories are enabled and that the correct items are in the selected item categories.

  • Go to Settings on your KDS app to check that your preferred orders are enabled.

  • Restart the Square KDS app.

  • Take a trial order to double-check that your KDS is properly receiving orders from the Point of Sale.

Note: Your KDS device automatically connects to Point of Sale, as long as your KDS is created for the same location as your Point of Sale device. All setup is configured in your Dashboard and in the KDS app.

Get early access to new features and connect with other sellers by joining the Square KDS for Android Beta program.

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