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Set Up Self-serve Ordering and QR Codes with Square Online

Self-serve ordering through Square Online offers a contactless, in-person ordering experience that increases safety and workflow efficiency. Customers use their mobile phones to scan a QR code at their table, seat, parking spot or anywhere you want them to order from. QR codes are easy to use and compatible with almost any mobile device that has a camera and web browser.

Here is a high-level overview of how self-serve ordering works:

  1. QR codes are automatically generated when you set up self-serve ordering. You’ll have a unique code for every table, seat or any other location. Print and place an ordering card wherever you want customers to order from.  

  2. Guests scan the QR code to open your online ordering page. They can select items, add special requests, place their order and pay directly from their mobile device.

  3. Once your customer completes their order, the order will appear on your Square POS, and feed directly to your Kitchen Ticket Printer or Square KDS (Kitchen Display System). Since each QR code is connected to a specific ordering station, your staff can see exactly where each order came from.

  4. Fulfill the self-serve order in whatever way works best for your business. Customers will see instructions and other information on your online ordering page that let them know what to expect.

Set Up Self-serve Ordering

You can set up self-serve ordering for one or more locations. In your Square Online Overview page , go to Fulfilment > Self-Serve and select Set up QR codes.

Note: Here are a few things you need to know before getting started with self-serve ordering:

  • Your website must be published to use self-serve ordering. The QR codes send customers to your website, so it won’t work if the site isn’t published. You can publish your website in your Square Online site editor by selecting Publish.

  • Self-serve ordering only works with the Order Online single ordering page template. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to create or switch to the Order Online template.

  • If you have more than one website, make sure you’ve selected the site you want to link the QR codes to. You can switch sites using the site switcher menu in the Square Online Overview page.

After you select Set up QR codes, proceed using the following steps.

Select items

Items must have self-serve ordering selected as a fulfilment method. Select the items you’d like to make available for self-serve ordering using the check boxes, then click Continue.

Tip: You can also update fulfilment settings later for multiple items at once in your Square Online Overview page in Items > Site Items by using the bulk editing method.

Add instructions for customers

Enter any information your customers need to know when placing or receiving orders. These instructions are shown after customers scan a QR code and after they submit an order.

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You can see a preview for each set of instructions during setup. Click Continue when you’re finished adding instructions.

Create ordering cards

To generate your ordering cards, enter the number of stations you have and create a label for them. Stations are the places where you’ll display the ordering cards. For example, if you have 12 booths, you’d enter the number 12 and the label Booth. That will create 12 unique QR codes, one for each of your booths.

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You can also create sections if you have additional areas from which guests can place orders. For example, you could create separate sections for indoor and outdoor seating areas, each with individual sets of ordering cards.

To add a new section:

  1. Click “Add section” on the ordering card creation page.

  2. Enter a name for this section (e.g. Patio) and use the toggle to show or hide the section name on the ordering cards.

  3. Enter a name for the stations within this section, such as tables or booths.

  4. Enter the number of stations in this section and optionally choose a custom starting number if your stations are numbered differently.

  5. You can also enter a unique name for each station if you want to. For example, if you run a bed and breakfast with themed rooms, you might create an “Upstairs” section with three uniquely named rooms.

  6. Click Submit when finished to save your changes.

To edit a section:

  1. Click on the section row to open the editing window.

  2. Make any changes you want and click Submit to save.

To delete or duplicate a section:

  1. Click the menu button next to the section you want to copy or delete.

  2. Choose Delete or Duplicate from the menu.

Tip: If you have other locations with Self-serve ordering enabled, you can also import sections from those locations. Click “Import groups from location” and select the sections you want to include, then click Import.

Add an optional service fee 

To add a service fee for self-serve orders, select View details from the self-serve ordering page and click Edit next to “Service fee”. Choose either a set amount or a percentage of the total, then enter the amount or percentage you’d like to charge. Click Save to apply the changes. 

Print or Export Ordering Cards

You can choose to export the QR codes or print your ordering cards.

The export option generates a ZIP file with individual PNG images for each QR code and the associated station number (e.g. Booth 3). You can use these images if you’d prefer to design your own station cards. You can also hire an expert to create custom ordering cards through our partnership with 99designs.

The print option generates a PDF file with four ordering cards per page. These will display your company name and look like the example image shown during setup.

Tip: We’ve created three free Canva templates you can use to design your ordering cards.
Use the links below to open the templates at Canva.com:

To try out the ordering process, use your phone to scan a QR code from your screen and place a test order to see it in action.

To print ordering cards or export QR codes:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page , go to Fulfilment > Self-Serve.

  2. Select Export QR codes to download and save the ZIP file, or select Print ordering cards to open a PDF file in a new window for printing or saving.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll need to place each card at the corresponding location once they’re printed.

Tip: Try printing your cards on heavy paper or cardstock and consider laminating them to add durability.

Sell Alcohol

With self-serve ordering, you can allow your customers to place alcohol orders online while dining at your restaurant or attending your event. You can also place a limit on how many alcoholic items a customer can order. Learn more about selling alcohol with Square Online for additional details specific to self-serve ordering.

Edit Self-serve Ordering Settings

To update the settings for self-serve orders, select View details from the self-serve ordering page and click Edit next to the section you want to update. 

Note: Reducing the number of stations may disable the QR codes you’ve already created. For example, if you lower the number of stations from 12 to 10, then the existing ordering cards for stations 11 and 12 will no longer work.

You can use these optional features with self-serve ordering.     

Order tipping

Turn on tipping to let your customers leave a tip on their order. You can set a default tip percentage or leave it blank. Customers can change the amount or opt to not leave a tip when they check out.

To enable tipping:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page , go to Fulfilment > Pickup & Delivery.

  2. Select Advanced settings.

  3. Click the toggle under “Order tipping”, and select a default amount from the menu.

  4. Select Save when finished.

If you offer pickup and/or delivery, tipping settings also apply to those fulfilment types.

Enable customer notes

You can let your customers leave you a note when placing an order. Turning this feature on makes it available for any type of online order.

To enable customer notes:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page , go to Settings > Checkout or Shared Settings > Checkout.

  2. Select Advanced settings.

  3. Under “Checkout options”, check the box to allow notes from customers.

  4. Select Save when finished.

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