5/17/2013 09:47:00 AM

Federal Donuts Pioneers New Silicon Valley Technology

Fried chicken and donuts and... hot new tech? However unlikely the pairing of the first two, we know it turned out to be a win. Now a Silicon Valley firm has chosen Federal Donuts as an exclusive pioneer of a brand new product. Square, the digital commerce company founded by Twitter co-creator Jack Dorsey, just launched the Square Stand, and FedNuts is one of just 13 businesses across the country where the register is up and running.

Square Stand is mostly just that - a stand - but it’s a special one. Square launched in 2009 as a way to make it easy for small businesses to accept credit cards. It’s now used by millionns of businesses, including quick-serve restaurants, food trucks and tens of thousands of others in the food industry; places cash used to be king. Federal Donuts had been using Square, but it was a jerry-rigged solution - a pocket-sized card reader plugged into an iPad glued to a post connected to a printer with a maze of wires.

Not any more. Now the iPad sits serenely (and removably) on top of the Square stand, which has a built in credit-card reader along the bottom. Your order of shabazzi chicken and banana cream pie donut is touch-screened in by the counter person, an order ticket prints for the kitchen, and the Square Stand pivots around so you can swipe your card. (Bonus: you can swipe your card facing either direction, so no flip-and-reswipe maneuvers necessary. Why don’t all readers do that?)

“Used to be, to set up a new point-of-sale system, you had to pay $3,000-$5,000 for a MICROS,” says Federal Donuts partner Tom Henneman. “Now you can do it with an iPad and a Square Stand and your total cost is $600. It’s a whole new game.”

How did Federal Donuts get selected, joining other companies like SF’s Blue Bottle Coffee and NYC’s Cafe Grumpy in the preview? No one we asked was quite sure. We’re betting the awesome @FederalDonuts Twitter feed played a part, though.

Checking out the new toy yesterday, we discovered there’s an even easier way to pay for your chix-and-donut fix: Square Wallet. The virtual wallet recognizes any location that uses Square. Instead of pulling out a credit card, open the app, click the Federal Donuts button, and you’re done. Plus, if you go often - like to get your daily breakfast - you can set it up to auto-recognize the shop and you won’t even have to take your phone out of your pocket. Just waltz in, snag your coffee and donut, and go. And don’t forget to wave to the people still standing in line on your way out.


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