The Growing Needs of Restaurants
The days of restaurants using a simple cash register to service customers are over. The restaurant and food service industry has gone high-tech with mobile apps and integrated point-of-sale (POS) systems. Restaurants and cafes are actively looking to integrate with social media, provide customer rewards, offer curbside pickup and provide real-time delivery services. The fact is, food service technology is advancing quickly and the POS is the heart of it.
Restaurant owners are looking for ways to engage with customers and keep them coming back. Businesses are turning to distributed technology to connect with their customers. These tools include platforms like ERP/CRM systems, email marketing platforms, reward programs, inventory management and other omnichannel tools.
As the technology gets more complicated, so does the integration and maintenance of these systems. The Sunrise Integration POS team is often approached by bars, cafes, restaurants and food trucks looking for custom solutions for their business. One common need is a custom platform app to extend the functionality of their core POS. Let's review how our team creates custom apps and workflow microservices for one of the most popular restaurant POS systems, Square Restaurant POS.
Square Restaurant POS
Square for Restaurants is a cloud-based point-of-sale platform specifically designed for restaurants. The POS supports front-of-house ordering, back of house prep, menu creation, customer management, payments and floor planning. To further expand its capabilities, Square features an app marketplace where owners can install add-ons for delivery, inventory, taxes and plenty more.
Square POS features a powerful API that gives developers a means to further customize the platform. These development capabilities allow Sunrise Integration to create custom apps and workflows for restaurants. Custom apps are directly accessible within the POS platform from the "App integrations" selection in the Admin menu.
Every restaurant or cafe utilizes unique processes that dictate the daily flow of business. With a custom app or API integration, we can bring this functionality directly into the POS, improving your business by increasing efficiency and adding automation. So, what does it take to create an app for the Square Restaurant POS? Let's review the components required for developing an integrated solution.
Creating Apps for Square Restaurant POS
Our SaaS development team often builds custom solutions to meet the business requirements of Square Restaurant users. One common project is the creation of custom POS applications. A POS application adds functionality to the Square platform such as inventory integration, automated tasks, customer data synchronization, and more. Completed apps are installed into the platform and become available within the "App Integrations" selection. Restaurants can then easily access the custom functionality directly from the tablet or website. This quick access makes apps an easy-to-use solution for busy staff members or back-of-house teams.
To create a successful app for the platform, we have to consider the frontend UI/UX and the backend server components. The app authenticates with the Square API and makes calls to the backend infrastructure. When a user uses the app from the POS, the system displays the UI/UX from the connected infrastructure. To develop the app code, our development team utilizes the handy Square SDK to make API requests via the abstraction software.
In one example, our client was looking to synchronize customer loyalty points and menu data with their ERP. The custom app that we developed featured an automated recurring service that grabs new data and exports it to the external system. Using a real-time webhook, we're able to target new information for synchronization. The power of the app comes from the underlying SaaS managed hosting service provided by Sunrise Integration. Using serverless tools like EventBridge, Lambda functions and ECS Docker containers, we can leverage the features of AWS to power the enterprise features of the app.
Data Integration and Security
The Square API is integrated with the backend infrastructure that hosts the app. The server sends API requests and processes responses from Square. With the API, we're able to extract critical data from the POS including customers, orders, menu items, catalogs and more.