You recently replied to a comment I made about an issue we have with a recent update on the Square for Restaurants app relating to item availability, so firstly thank you for your response and request for more information. I try my best here so you can get a better picture of our issue.
I have linked the support page of your website here (i.e. the same page you suggest) and this describes how the feature worked until the software was updated to V5.72
Now if we have a stock quantity and tracking enabled in the Square Dashboard, we no longer get an option to enable item availability. Prior to the update Item availability count would automatically be called off from the stock entered in the Square Dashboard. About half way down the support page I have linked above you will find this -
Note: Setting the quantity for item availability is different than setting your stock quantity from your online Square Dashboard. Just make sure to enable item tracking from the Restaurants app to use automatic call off.
The update has now introduced the following error message when we have entered a stock count in dashboard
"[Item Name] is tracked on Square Dashboard"
[Go to Dashboard] or [Done] --- are the options.
and whilst we can use tracking in the dashboard it does not work properly for all scenarios. I guess there are at least two to consider.
- Items that require preparation -
For example on Monday we have a delivery of 120 frozen unbaked pain au chocolat. These are stored in the freezer. Tuesday morning we bake 25 of them, so we have 25 pain au chocolat available for sale, and 95 that are not currently available (uncooked and frozen), but held in stock.
We are a table service venue and the orders are taken on the ipad at the table and being able to have visibility on our availability reduces many issues associated with overselling, especially when we sometimes take payment by card at the table at the time of ordering, this creates a refund and new order……….as well as a poor customer experience.
If we enter the stock in Square Dashboard, i.e we would enter 120 pain au chocolat. If we enable tracking in Dashboard, Square for Restaurants will allow us to sell all 120.
Prior to this update we could long press the item tile and get to make the item available (or not) enter and track the items that are available (i.e. 25 pain au chocolat) and these 25 pain au chocolat would then be deducted from the stock we have in the freezer. i.e. on Wednesday morning our stock of pain au choc would be 95. i.e. it worked as per the information in the link above.
Since the update we now have to choose between tracking stock (i.e. the 120 pain au choc we have on the premises), or the items that we have available for sale (i.e. the 25 we baked this morning), but not both.
If we enable tracking in dashboard, we are unable to long press the tile to enter availability, so can sell 120 pain au chocolat, though for obvious reasons we can't sell uncooked frozen products. As far as I see the tracking probably works ok in dashboard, but we need (and had until recently) another level of tracking, i.e. item availability. However the only way to have item availability (eg baked items) is to disable tracking in square dashboard, and that means we don’t have an inventory of our stock and no low stock emails etc.
- Physical items that do not require preparation – These would be for example bottles of soft drinks, where there is not issue with the update, as they are either in stock or not
I hope that this has helped explain the situation and would imagine that there are other sellers that have now had to work around this in order to track our stock and manage customer expectations in a better manner. Also not sure how this works with online orders, I’m guessing that looks at the stock in dashboard which is also not really correct, unless you add plenty of prep time, and if I ordered a croissant from the café next door and was given 60m prep time I would go elsewhere.
Many thanks for you help so far with this, I hope you can point me in the right direction or pass this on to the developers for consideration.
Square for Restaurants
Thank you so much for all the information @StickyInTheCafe, this really give us a better idea of how the feature can be improved.
I will definitely share this with the wider team as well so they can look into this further and will share any and all updates I have on this thread as well.
Community Manager, Square
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Thank you for all of the details, and sorry to hear that the update making stock (tracked in Dashboard) the primary determination of whether an item is available for sale or not for items with inventory tracking is causing an issue for your items that require preparation.
A few ideas for how to handle this:
You could create an item for frozen, and an item for prepared. Track stock on the frozen item, and make an inventory adjustment to recount stock in the dashboard for the frozen item each day when they are cooked. Then you can use the item count in the Restaurants app for the prepared count and get the visual feedback of how many prepared Pain au Chocolats remain.
The caveat is online orders - the counts in the Restaurants app do not decrement for online orders. However, when you run out, you can long press the prepared item to mark it unavailable, and this status WILL sync to Square Online. The risk is that you get an order online prior to marking it unavailable.
Another alternative is to consider an inventory partner that does handle work in progress stock tracking. I don’t know if these partners will solve this specific issue, but they are a place to start looking because they specialize in Restaurant Inventory: Yellow Dog, MarketMan, or PeachWorks. Some of them have free trials.
Thank you for your feedback - we are working to continuously improve inventory operations, and this helps us do that.