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Square’s Open Tickets Lets Customers Open Tabs

Square, which got some its early start in San Francisco coffee shops, is trying to make life easier for similar food and beverage places where customers can keep a tab open, with a new feature called Open Tickets, the company announced in a blog post on Thursday (April 2).

With the new addition to the Square Register point-of-sale system, restaurant and bar waitstaff can open a tab for a customer by swiping a customer's payment card, then update it repeatedly until the customer is ready. Previously, wait staff had to keep track of a running tab on paper, then key the total into the system at payment time.

Open Tickets is "rolling out this week," Square said, though the company didn't detail exactly when it will be available for bars and restaurants to begin training their staffs to use.

One of the early testers for the Open Tickets feature was Aeronaut Brewery and Taproom in suburban Boston, whose owner Dan Rassi told USA Today that his bar's system had been to keep customer credit cards and tabs together in a box until the tab closed, with servers lining up for access to the box every time a tab needed updating. Rossi described that as "pretty annoying." He added that the new system works more smoothly. "It's just really intuitive," he told the newspaper. "We're able to train people really quickly. We have a ton of new bar staff all the time, and there's almost no training required."

Square has been making adjustments to its support for food and drink establishments in the wake of Starbucks' decision in December to stop accepting mobile payments from Square in its stores. Since then, Square has pulled the plug on its Square Order app, which allowed customers to do mobile ordering for in-store pickup, and shifted its focus to gift cards, its Caviar food delivery service, and other marketing tools more popular with its restaurant customers.

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