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Jaclyn Kucey


With the newly adopted restriction exemption program embraced by more and more businesses, there has been a noticeable increase in more prominent restaurants switching to contactless and tech-savvy point of sales (POS) systems.

Common POS systems like Moneris, Ingenico and Eigen are slowly being replaced by Square, an integrated POS system and app.

The beginning

Square was co-founded by the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. The company launched in 2009 to solve the small business issue of not being able to accept credit cards for large purchases. The first generation of Square was a small square card reader dongle that plugged into a smartphone headphone jack and registered payment through the app.

Square payment dongles first started popping up in Edmonton farmers’ markets to replace the wad of cash customers had to carry around to pick up fresh produce. It wasn’t always perfect due to connectivity issues, but when it worked, lines at the Strathcona Farmers’ Market ATMs got shorter, and businesses had a safer way to collect payment.

Square has now expanded to offer a complete sales register, an online store that syncs with inventory, online orders, professional invoicing and more. It is a fully integrated system that businesses could use for staff scheduling and tracking hours through their Square Team app, ordering and kitchen tickets, and POS.

Square: present day

Earls Edmonton Tin Palace switched to the Square system two weeks ago. General manager Suzanne Campbell says, “with new technology, there’s always some bumps and training but, for the most part, the biggest thing it’s done for us is allow each server to have access to taking payments at any moment. It can make a quicker experience for the guests.”

Campbell says Earls has stayed with their old scheduling system instead of adopting Square Team because they have so many restaurants.

“And the trickiest thing is just sometimes it’s not connecting. So there are some connection issues. And then, on the back end, there are some new systems and things that need to be in place. So just kind of working out the kinks with that. But just as always, when you’re changing over different systems and new ways to do stuff, things happen.” says Campbell. 

“It’s definitely a lot easier to use and user-friendly,” says Campbell. “I think in the long run, it’ll be a win for us, but it’s too early to really comment on it.”

Besides local chain restaurants, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation are the first major sporting facilities to use the Square system.

Future of integrated POS

In Sept. 2021, square released a survey by Leger that found “72 per cent of Canadians are looking for socially-distanced, cashless ways to support local businesses post-pandemic; 80 per cent are more committed to buying local than ever before.”

 “The pandemic has thrown Canadian businesses challenge after challenge — and accelerated the demand for new, more flexible omnichannel commerce solutions,” says Thomas Templeton, General Manager of Hardware at Square.

During the pandemic, the number of large businesses switching to Square grew more than 50 per cent.

New technology is exciting, especially when it comes to business efficiency. The future of tech POS is now not only for small business growth but also for large corporations. 

It looks like we’ll be seeing fewer credit card machines and more iPads in the future. 


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