As any food truck owner knows, there’s a lot more to running a successful business than churning out delicious food. You also have to keep track of sales and expenses, manage inventory, market to customers, and more!
Fortunately, point of sale (POS) systems can help make these tasks easier. While most food truck owners will tell you a POS system is essential, it can be difficult to determine which one is best for you and your business’s needs.
We’ve rounded up some of the top POS systems for food trucks and included helpful details about each. By reading about the differences and considering your business needs, you can select a system that can help you accomplish your food entrepreneurship goals.
Monthly fee: $0 for basic plan, $60 for plus plan
Transaction fee: 2.6% + $0.10
Square is a general POS system that includes features such as the ability to process credit cards, track inventory, and create invoices. While it’s not designed for food-based businesses, its $0 fee and well-rounded basic features can make it an attractive choice for new food truck owners or those looking for an inexpensive option.
Square’s app integrates with both Android and Apple devices, allowing you and your employees to turn any phone into a piece of sales hardware. The company also offers various forms of portable hardware, which means customers can easily order as they’re standing outside your truck.
Square also integrates with third-party delivery platforms including DoorDash and Postmates, so you can offer delivery service. While UberEats and Grubhub don’t have a direct link with Square, Square’s partnership with Chowly allows food truck owners to integrate these orders into their POS system.
Before you choose Square, pay attention to the food-centric features that it lacks to see whether they’re dealbreakers for you. For example, while it allows you to track the inventory of complete dishes, it doesn’t support ingredient inventory management.
Monthly fee: $0 for starter plan
Transaction fee: depends on plan, 2.49% + $0.10 for standard starter plan
Toast was designed for restaurants, so it offers numerous features that fit well with food trucks. The basic plan includes the ability to design and share digital menus, run sales reports, and operate simple payment processing.
Toast also offers add-on features including a customer loyalty program, email marketing, and online ordering. You can pick and choose from these features, which means you can meet your business’s needs while only paying for what you’ll use.
If you operate multiple food trucks, Toast is an option worth exploring. It allows you to view sales, inventory, and other details, across multiple locations, from a single dashboard. That means you can monitor when you need to run supplies from one truck to the next, as well as better determine where to send an employee who is coming in for a shift later that day.
“I had started the business before I started Escoffier, but I had been struggling to figure out how to do the numbers. My husband was helping me, but we just couldn’t put together how to price out a menu. Culinary school at Escoffier really put it all together for me, whether it was the financial side of running a business, the prep, or knowing how to train a chef.”*
Culinary Arts Graduate Freida Nichole Davenport, Owner of Freida’s Sweets and Meats Food Truck
Monthly fee: $69, with extra fees for features like online ordering and marketing
Transaction fee: offers a variety of fee structures, including flat fee, interchange differential, and flat tiered
TouchBistro is another POS system designed specifically for food businesses like restaurants and food trucks. As such, it contains thoughtful features that can help address common industry pain points and increase sales. For example, you can easily design menus ahead of time and update them in real-time. That means you and your staff can focus on cooking food during a dinner rush, yet easily stop for a few minutes to remove items that sell out.
When the day is over, you can view sales reports that provide information about which dishes performed best at each location and which items were popular at which times. You can access these reports remotely and also share them with employees via email.
You can also use this data to help create promotions that appeal to core customers. Once you’ve figured out what type of sale or special you’d like to run, you can send them out with TouchBistro’s integrated marketing platform.
TouchBistro operates via an iPad, but you can also add on additional hardware to fit your needs.
4. Zettle By Paypal
Monthly fee: $0
Transaction fee: 2.29% + $0.09
While Paypal has been a household name for years, its POS system Zettle is relatively new. This modern system allows you to take payments, track inventory, and keep an eye on sales. Zettle lacks some features specialty POS systems contain, but its low price point and lack of contract may make up for this.
Zettle’s app makes it easy for an unlimited number of users to ring out customers and track inventory, and also allows you to view sales data no matter your location. If you prefer more specialized hardware, you can purchase a payment processing terminal or stand-alone card reader.
Monthly fee: $90 for quick service dining starter plan
Transaction fee: 2.3% + $0.10
Clover’s customer-facing display and sleek menu designs make it simple to create menus that are easy for customers to navigate. Clover also supports menu modifiers such as dressing on the side or extra cheese. That means you can keep track of custom orders, even during a hectic lunch rush.
Although Clover’s monthly fee is more expensive than many other POS systems, it also includes features that some other systems offer as add-ons. No-fee online ordering comes standard, as does tax reporting, promotions, and customer loyalty programs.
Education: A Crucial Tool
While a POS system can help you manage your food truck’s orders, inventory, and marketing, that doesn’t mean it will complete these processes automatically—you’ll still need the skills and knowledge to oversee all of the aspects of your food truck.
Fortunately, you don’t have to gain this knowledge through trial and error. By studying food entrepreneurship, you can dive into topics such as marketing to your ideal audience, creating a strong brand, and learning how to determine the profitability of specific dishes.
To learn more about food entrepreneurship, check out these articles next:
- The Complete Guide to Starting a Home-Based Catering Business
- How to Build a Delivery-Friendly Menu
- Positioning Statements for Restaurant Marketing
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.