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Best Practices for Local Delivery with Square Online

Your Square Online ordering page is a critical hub for your online business. Taking advantage of your online ordering page allows you to remarket to customers and drive repeat business without paying third-party marketplace commissions.

Considering the high brand awareness of third-party marketplaces and the abundance of competing restaurants, promoting your direct local delivery channels of In-House Delivery can seem daunting. With this comprehensive article, you can learn how to increase traffic to your online ordering page so business remains directly between you and your customers.

Leverage Your Delivery Settings, Features and Fees

What you charge for delivery plays an important part in how often customers order directly from you instead of using delivery apps or ordering from your competitors. Here are some tips on how to set up your delivery settings, features and fees to maximise your order volume while protecting your profits.

Charge a service fee

If you plan to cover all or part of the delivery fee for In-House Delivery, consider offsetting that cost with a service fee. Customers tend to respond positively to low delivery fees, and since service fees are grouped with taxes at checkout, customers may be less price-sensitive to them. Remember that 100% of service fees go to you.

To add a service fee to your customers’ Square Online local delivery orders:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfilment > Collection & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the ‘Delivery settings’.
  4. Under ‘Service fee’, toggle this option on and enter the amount desired to offset the cost of the incurred local delivery fee.
  5. Select Continue to proceed and/or Save when finished.

Offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount

Encourage your customers to buy more from you by using free delivery as an incentive for larger In-House Delivery orders. To set up this option:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfilment > Collection & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the ‘Delivery settings’.
  4. Under ‘Delivery fee’, choose free delivery for orders over a certain amount.
  5. Select Continue to proceed and/or Save when finished.

Set a minimum order amount

If you plan to cover part or all of your customers’ delivery fees, set a minimum delivery amount to make sure you aren’t offering delivery at a loss. To set up a minimum order amount:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Fulfilment > Collection & Delivery.
  2. Add your location if you haven’t already, or select Set up location or Edit by the location in question.
  3. Edit the ‘Delivery settings’.
  4. Toggle the Minimum order amount option on and enter your amount.
  5. Select Continue to proceed and/or Save when finished.

Create a delivery promo code

Encourage your customers to try your direct delivery service by offering them discount vouchers on their first order with an exclusive promo code. You can set up online vouchers from your Square Online Overview page in Items > Vouchers or Shared Settings > >Vouchers.

Learn more about creating >vouchers in Square Online.

Create a Successful Experience with Your Online Menu 

Without in-person staff to explain the menu or transport items from your kitchen to a table, your customers will need additional, personalised support and information to ensure they choose the perfect meal, and that it gets to their destination just as the chef intended. Here are some tips on setting up the food on your online menu.

Focus on visual appeal

When customers dine in, they can smell and see your food. With online ordering, you need to bring your virtual menu to life and tempt customers with eye-catching food photography instead. Include high-quality images of each menu item and ensure your dishes closely resemble these when they’re delivered to customers.

To add images of your menu items on your website:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go Items > Site Items.
  2. Select an item from your list or add a new item by selecting Create new item.
  3. Under Media, add images to your item.
  4. Complete all other edits to your item and select Save when finished.

Learn more about product images in Square Online.

Write clear and compelling descriptions

Online customers can’t question your staff as they can in your restaurant, so be sure to write clear descriptions of your dishes. List key ingredients alongside food restrictions and allergy warnings so that customers feel confident about placing their orders.

Changes to item descriptions sync between Square Online and your Square Item Library with item sync. You can disable item description sync in order to use rich text styling (e.g. bold, italics and bulleted or numbered lists) in the item description editor to make your descriptions even clearer and easier to read.

To disable description sync between Square Online and your Square Item Library:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Items > Item Sync or Shared Settings > Item Sync.
  2. Under ‘Sync settings’, toggle off Sync product descriptions.

Learn more about selling food and drinks in Square Online.

Organise your menu with food categories

Make it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for with categories. For example, you can divide your menu into starters, mains, desserts, sides and drinks. You can also consider adding extra categories for food types such as meat, fish and vegetarian to signal that you can accommodate a broad range of customers.

To create a site category:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Items > Site Categories.
  2. Select Add Category.

Learn more about adding items and categories to Square Online.

Share your food safety measures

The COVID-19 pandemic means many people are being more vigilant about health and safety. Be really clear about the range of measures your restaurant is taking to ensure safety when preparing and delivering food. For example, it might be that all of your delivery drivers wear masks and gloves. You could display this information as a banner on all or selected pages of your website, potentially with a link to further details.

Learn more about popups and adding text to your Square Online site so that your safety information is clearly visible and accessible to your customers.

Consider your packaging

Choose packaging that keeps your food as fresh as possible. For example, baked goods might require airtight containers, frozen meals likely need insulated packaging with refrigerant and foods that bruise easily might need tight padding. Take this into consideration when you’re adapting your menu primarily for collection and/or local delivery. You want to prioritise food that won’t require too much custom packaging (which can be expensive).

Offer dishes that travel well

Your customers will likely expect that the images of your food they see online look similar to the delivery orders that arrive at their doors. Your best bet is to choose dishes that can hold their shape when they travel.

If an order does require some assembly on the customer’s part, include directions and guidance in their delivery order to make sure your customers are still having a great experience with your cuisine (even at home). You can also add this information to your website. Learn more about adding text to your Square Online site.

Recreate experiences

As more customers turn to collection and local delivery, they can long for the holistic experience of full-service dining. In addition to your standard online menu, consider crafting custom or set menus around certain themes or nights of the week (e.g. date night menu, movie night menu, etc.) to help make dining at home feel more special or festive.

To set up menus based on certain days and times, try using time-based categories. Learn more about time-based categories in Square Online.

Drive Awareness of Your Ordering Options

One of the major barriers for restaurants increasing their direct online ordering traffic is that customers are simply unaware of the ordering options available from their favourite restaurants. Many customers might also be in the habit of ordering from familiar third-party marketplaces without considering the commissions that are charged to the restaurant.

The good news is that you already have a number of marketing channels available that can be used to educate and make customers aware of your direct delivery service. Here are some tips for making customers aware of your delivery offerings.

On-site popups and banners

Make your delivery offering hard to miss right on your website. Create an information banner that automatically pops up on-screen when customers visit your online ordering page. Use the popup banner to communicate delivery details, special promotions or other important announcements.

To add a popup to your site, head over to your Square Online Overview page > Communications > Pop-Ups. Learn more about adding popups to Square Online.

Email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to make your existing customers aware of your direct delivery channel. Send out a blast email to your existing customer database to let them know.

Seasonal or topical email blasts

Whether it’s a major sporting event, holiday or the first day of summer, customers are always looking for a reason to celebrate. Ride the wave of these occasions as a reason to get in touch with your customers and encourage them to cater their plans with local delivery from your restaurant. You can also enhance your message with a special online promo code. Learn more about creating vouchers in Square Online for more information.

Customer rewards

If you keep track of customer data like birthdays or anniversaries, sending an email with well-wishes on these occasions is a great way to build relationships and encourage your customers to celebrate with a meal from you.

If a customer recently dined with you for the first time or you’ve just captured their contact information, you can use email as a way to thank them for their custom and offer them a discount on their next delivery order to encourage repeat business.


You can keep a loyal customer base up to date with what’s new at your business and on your menu. Maybe you release a new menu item every month, or your chef likes to share a behind-the-scenes look at kitchen tips and recipes. Whatever it is that draws your customers to your business, you can take such content and package it in the form of a weekly or monthly email newsletter. This sort of email content helps keep your business top of mind and builds a sense of relationship between you and your customers.

Google My Business

Make your online ordering page easy to find on Google. With so many third-party delivery services out there, when customers search for your restaurant online, they may be redirected to a third-party marketplace to place their order. One way to ensure your customers know they can order directly from you is to update your Google My Business profile and include a direct link to your Square Online ordering page for delivery.

If you haven’t already done so, claim your business listing on Google My Business. Google has resources available to help restaurant businesses share updates with searchers during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can adjust your fulfilment options to include collection and/or local delivery so these details appear on Google and Google Maps search results. Learn more with Google’s guide for restaurants.

Add and update your review site profiles

Many customers look to reviews to discover and decide where to order. Making sure you have claimed these profiles and that the content is up to date is crucial to directing traffic to your direct online ordering channel. Many review sites like Yelp allow you to include an update on your operations amidst COVID-19 restrictions. Use this as an opportunity to promote your Square Online ordering page and delivery service. Ensure that your website URL is also up to date.

Some top platforms include:

  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • TripAdvisor
  • Facebook

In-store and in-order

Your in-store operations provide a useful platform to generate awareness among customers who already love your food. You can use a QR code for your Square Online site that’ll take customers to your site’s homepage. This can be useful to print out and include in collection and local delivery orders, on your checkout counter or anywhere else you think it might help increase your traffic.

To use a QR code for your Square Online site:

  1. In your Square Online Overview page, go to Website > Site Preferences.
  2. Under Site QR Code, select Manage QR Code.
  3. Choose to either Export QR Code or Print ordering card.

Note: Your site must be published in order to use the QR code.

Expand Your Presence on Social Media 

Social media is another touchpoint where you can inform and interact with your customers. Ensure you have a direct link to your online ordering page on your Instagram or Facebook profile pages to give customers another way to access your business online.

Here are some tips for expanding your social media presence. You can also download the social media toolkit below to help you get started.

Download the social media toolkit >

Make your social media shoppable

Link your online ordering page to your social media posts with Square Online’s shoppable posts. With these, customers will only be a click away from placing a direct order right from their social news feeds.

Learn more about connecting Square Online to Facebook and Instagram.

Drive awareness with content

While much of what you post on social media should showcase your menu, you can also use it as a channel to drive awareness of your direct ordering options. To help with that, Square has created a toolkit of ready-to-post social media images to alert your customers of the benefits of ordering directly from you. Download the social media toolkit linked above, which includes formats for both story and newsfeed posts.

Tips for posting:

  • Since story posts refresh daily, you can repost these promotional images more frequently to ensure your followers have the chance to view the post.
  • For both in-feed and story posts, you can add your own text caption to customise the information your followers see. For example, you can remind your followers of your website URL or that they can find the link in your profile’s bio.

Create Promotions and Incentives

Encouraging your loyal customers to order directly from you can be easy to do, but competing with third-party delivery apps with massive consumer awareness and promotional engines can pose quite a challenge. While not an easy task, here are a few suggestions to encourage customers to order directly from you.

Promo codes and discounts

Offer customers an exclusive discount for ordering directly from you. Consider sharing a promo code for your online ordering site via email or as a voucher placed inside order packaging.

For local delivery, offer your customers free delivery with vouchers that automatically remove the delivery charge from your customer’s order total. This is a great way to encourage first-time orders on your site. You can also limit the number of uses per customer for this voucher type (e.g. offering free delivery for first-time orders only).

Learn more about creating vouchers in Square Online.

Exclusive menu items and pricing

While there may still be value in having your restaurant listed on third-party apps, consider how you can make your direct offering more attractive to customers by including exclusive menu offerings only available on your direct ordering page.

To insulate margins, it’s also common for restaurants to increase their prices on third-party marketplaces. Offering lower prices via your direct ordering channel can encourage customers to order directly from you for a more affordable meal. To create exclusive menu offerings, learn more about offering hidden items in Square Online.