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Square for Restaurants Definitions

If you are new to Square for Restaurants, or even the restaurant industry in general, there are some terms you’ll need to know to help run Square for Restaurants effectively. Some of these are everyday industry terms, others are unique to Square for Restaurants.

You’ll probably understand them intuitively, but in case they’re not as self-explanatory as we thought, here’s a simple definitions guide:


Device refers to iPad(s) that are running the Square for Restaurants POS app. Devices are important because most of the settings in your Square for Restaurants are controlled through your device. Your device settings can differ from one iPad to the next, giving you the ability to customise all your devices.

Check out our Setting Up Your Hardware with Square for Restaurants for help setting up and choosing the best device settings for your business.

Floor Plan

Floor Plan refers to the digital representation of your business’s physical layout as it appears on the POS. In your Floor Plan, you have complete control over how your restaurant is laid out in your POS. From your floor plan, you can use the tables and seating areas to open new bills and manage existing bills.

You can get started building your Floor Plan directly on your Square Dashboard.


Categories are assigned to individual items in order to track them in Square for Restaurants’ Reporting and Inventory. They also help determine how items are routed to printers.

To learn how to set up categories, check out our categories article.


An Item is a unit of product. For most restaurants, items are specific foods or drinks. Items have to be created individually and can contain specific details (such as variations, photos and price points). They can be applied to multiple menus or display groups and directly to bills.

Items are represented by tiles on the menu grid of your POS.

To create and manage Items with Square for Restaurants, check out our Support Centre.


Menu is a general and intuitive term in the restaurant industry, but within Square for Restaurants we have a more specific definition.

A Menu denotes a specific set of display groups and items that will appear on your POS for a certain period of the day, or a certain shift. For example, breakfast, lunch and dinner can all be separate menus.

To create menus with Square for Restaurants, you can start directly from your Square Dashboard.


Modifiers are sets of options you can apply to individual items directly, or to entire Display Groups if you want whole collections of items to receive the same Modifiers. Modifiers can be priced or unpriced. Some of the most common Modifiers are toppings, add-ons or special requests.

Display Group

Display Groups contain items and can be added to any Menus in order to populate the POS grid with tiles. They help organise items into groups and can be used across multiple examples.

To set up your Display Groups, check out our Create Menus with Square for Restaurants article.


Bill refers to any item or list of items ordered by a restaurant guest. Open Bills are active and have not yet been paid for. Closed Bills are inactive, after having received payment.

To find out more about creating, managing and closing bills, check out our bill management article.


A Comp is a bill management function that allows you to apply a partial or full discount of either an individual item or an entire bill, specifically when that discount results in waste or loss to your business.
For example, you might want to comp a food order if it was mistakenly entered by a team member, if a guest changed their mind after ordering (resulting in wasted product) or if something has been gifted to a table.


A Course is a step of service in which food or drinks are being brought to a table, usually in a specific order. For example, if a guest orders a starter and a main, and they would like the starter to arrive first, then the starter would be placed in the First Course and the main would be placed in the Second Course.

Coursing refers to the overall service style and is a setting that can be turned on or off for each POS device.

You can find out more information on setting up coursing and applying courses on our Support Centre.


Away is a coursing term that means a table is ready to receive a certain course.

For example, if a table is finishing their first course, a server will send “Away” the second course to let the kitchen know they can finish preparing and send the second course items.

When a course has been sent ‘Away’, the kitchen has received the fire and knows the guests are ready to receive it and will send it out as soon as the course is ready. The alternative to ‘Away’ is ‘On Hold’.

For more information, check out Coursing with Square for Restaurants.


Hold is a coursing term that applies to items that have been ordered, but should not yet be served to guests. Hold is the opposite of Away.

For more information on Holding courses, take a look at Coursing with Square for Restaurants.


Inventory refers to the stock of your restaurant’s products and ingredients. Square for Restaurants currently offers some inventory management tools (with more to come) to help you track your cost margins and overall revenue.

To get started with inventory, visit Basic Inventory Management.

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