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QR Code Ordering with Square Online

Efficiently manage sales with Square Online

Square Online accepts and manages orders, both online and in-store from social and mobile showroom to stockroom, for today and tomorrow.

"Self-serve ordering" is now known as "QR code ordering." This feature functions the same as it has before. The only thing that has changed is its name.

Note: Enable QR code ordering by upgrading your Square Online subscription.

QR code ordering through Square Online offers a contactless, in-person ordering experience that increases safety and workflow efficiency. Instead of browsing a paper menu and placing orders with a staff member, customers use their mobile devices to scan a QR code at their table, seat, parking spot, or anywhere you want them to order. You can automatically tie each QR code to a specific ordering station (great for smaller food venues and restaurants) or require customers to enter their location manually when they order (best for large-scale events and stadiums).

Start Setting Up QR Code Ordering

You can set up QR code ordering for one or more locations. To get started, in your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfilment > QR Code Ordering and select Set up QR codes.

Self-serve ordering overview

  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 station. 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 using their mobile device. They can select items, add special requests, place their order and pay directly from their mobile device. Since everything’s processed online, there’s no need to handle credit cards or cash.
  3. Once your customer completes their order, the order will appear on your Square POS, and feed directly to your kitchen ticket printer or kitchen display system (KDS). Since each QR code is connected to a specific ordering station, your staff knows where to send each order.
  4. Fulfil 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.

Things to know before you start

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. Publish your website from the Square Online site editor by selecting Publish.
  • Self-serve ordering only works with the Order Online 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.

Choose Items

Items must have QR code ordering selected as a fulfilment method. Select the items you’d like to make available for QR code ordering using the tick boxes, then select Continue. Learn more about adding items and categories to Square Online.

Note: You can also update fulfilment settings later for multiple items at once using the bulk editing method.

Add Customer Instructions


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. You can see a preview for each set of instructions during setup.

  • Placing orders: This message will display on your ordering page before your customers finalise their orders.

  • Getting orders: This is the message your customers see after they submit their order.

  • Not accepting orders: This message will display when you disable QR code ordering (during busy hours or after your business hours) and customers can’t place orders through QR code ordering. If you know when you’ll be ready to fulfil orders again, you can toggle Show when QR code orders resume on, and your customers will see what time you will start accepting new orders.

Select Continue when you’ve finished adding instructions.

Add Ordering Stations

Select Add ordering stations to start creating ordering stations that match with the setup of your business. Add details for your stations such as a group name, a name for each station and the number of total stations. Select Save when complete and select Add ordering stations again to add more. Finally, select Continue to complete the last steps and preview your QR codes.

Set Ordering Hours

Select the days of the week and the hours when your customers can place an order. Customers won’t be able to place QR code orders outside of these hours. 

  • If you’ve got another location, you can choose to import the previously set business hours, pickup hours or QR code ordering hours of your other location as QR code ordering hours. If you’ve got multiple locations, you’ll need to choose a location from the dropdown menu and select which hours you want to import.

  • You can also set up business hours manually by selecting or deselecting days of the week and clicking the + icon to add hours. Select your location’s time zone and click Continue.

QR code ordering times are updated in real time as different options are selected.

Note: Your items will still be available for purchase outside of QR code ordering hours if the items or categories are set up for pickup and local delivery. During that time, your default fulfilment settings will apply.

Get Multiple QR Codes

To preview and download your QR codes:

  1. Select Get QR code on the QR Code Ordering page.

  2. Choosing one of the following options:

    1. Customers are automatically assigned an ordering station: Unique QR codes must be placed at each ordering station. This is best for smaller establishments like restaurants.

    2. Customers manually enter their ordering station: Use the same QR code and place it throughout your business. This is best for larger establishments like stadiums or large-scale events.

  3. Choose your design with one of the following options:

    1. Ordering card with QR code: Pre-designed cards with instructions. Great for quick and easy printing and setup.

    2. QR code only: QR codes to place on your own designs. You can also hire an expert to create custom ordering cards through our partnership with 99designs.

  4. Choose the stations you want to Download. Print your downloaded document and place your QR codes where they’re needed.

Note: To try out the live ordering process, click a QR code on your computer or scan it with your phone and place a test order on your site to see it in action.

Edit QR Code Ordering Settings

QR code ordering has additional settings you can edit or enable after setup.

Set Ordering Hours

To edit your existing self-serve ordering hours, select Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and select Edit under “Self-serve ordering hours.”

Edit ordering stations

You can edit your ordering stations at any time by selecting Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and selecting Edit under “Ordering stations.”

Note: If you choose to edit your ordering cards by reducing the number of stations you have, you’ll also end up disabling the QR codes you’ve already created. For example, if you lower the number of stations from 12 to 10, then the codes for stations 11 and 12 will no longer work.

Edit customer messaging

You can edit your customer instructions at any time by selecting Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and selecting Edit under Messaging.

Enable text message alerts

Enabling text alerts for self-serve ordering provides customers live updates on the status of their order while they’re dining with you in-person. Self-serve ordering provides two text alert types:

  • Order received automatically sends a text when you receive an order.
  • Order ready for pick-up sends a text after an order is marked Ready.

To enable text alerts for self-serve ordering, select Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and select Edit under “Text message alerts.”

Enable Open Tabs

Enabling open tabs allows customers to continue ordering items on the same tab throughout their visit. They’ll enter payment information upfront, but won’t need to check out and pay until the end of their stay. With open tabs disabled, customers need to pay individually for each order they place.

To enable open tabs, select Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and toggle on Allow open tabs.

Learn more about self-serve ordering open tabs with Square Online.

Enable order consolidation

You can customise when orders from the same QR code will be printed; either immediately upon receiving the order, or grouping them together within a specific time frame. Enabling order consolidation gives you the option to set a time limit (between 30 seconds and ten minutes) for tickets to wait and be printed together.

To enable order consolidation:

  1. From the Self-Serve Ordering page, select Edit.
  2. Under Order tickets, select Edit.
  3. Choose Wait and print together.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select your desired timeframe.
  5. Select Save.

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.

To allow alcoholic items for self-serve orders, select Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and select Edit under Alcohol.

Learn more about selling alcohol with Square Online for additional details specific to self-serve ordering.

Add a service fee

To add a service fee for self-serve orders, select Edit from the Self-Serve Ordering page and select Edit under “Service fee.”

For other checkout settings, like accepting customer notes about how their order should be prepared, learn about Square Online checkout options.

Use a Single QR Code

If you don’t need multiple QR codes mapped to all of your ordering stations, Square Online also generates a single QR code for every site. To manage and use a single QR code, go to your site preferences.

Learn more about accepting QR code payments with Square.

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