food truck serving customers with a POS system

4 of the Best POS Systems for Food Trucks

December 28, 2021 - Ellie Poverly

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Owning a food truck business is an exciting experience, but it’s vital to have the right point of sale (POS) system to get food to hungry customers. It lets people order and pay for food with the help of restaurant staff. A POS system for food trucks must have certain features to perform well in that setting. That reality presents challenges and needs that brick-and-mortar restaurants do not. 

The right POS system can streamline the customer experience and make day-to-day operations significantly easier. One of the great things about food trucks is that they are a highly flexible business model. However, that means the right POS system will differ from one truck to another. 

Top Features for Food Truck POS Systems

There are some specific features to look out for when searching for a good POS for food trucks. Some are universally nice to have for any mobile restaurant business. Others depend on the operation’s size and scale. For example, since food trucks have limited space, a POS system with a small footprint is a plus. The more features that can fit in that package, the better. 

Hardware with high durability and portability is beneficial, as well, especially for food trucks that have servers go outside to greet and serve customers. A simple user interface is important since food truck owners and employees need to move fast to stay on top of things. In fact, an easy-to-use POS can help retain employees longer since it reduces workplace stress. Overly complicated software would slow things down. Some systems come with hardware and software. However, others are more flexible, leaving business owners to pick and choose their own. 

These top five POS systems for food trucks are the best options on the market today. Consider them a great place to start.

food trucks in a park

1. Square

Square is the best option for most food truck businesses, especially for those just starting out. Square is extremely flexible, both in terms of hardware and software. Its free app works on any iPhone or iPad, so food truck owners can try it out at no risk. There are no contracts or installation fees, unlike some other POS systems. 

Square offers a few different hardware options, from a simple card reader that plugs into iOS devices to the Square Stand, a cash register replacement. The most popular piece of hardware is the basic Square stand, which plugs into an iPad and has a built-in card reader. 

Square’s flexibility allows business owners to only pay for the hardware and services they need while leaving room to grow. If a restaurant owner wants to upgrade from a food truck to a more spacious food trailer, expanding their lineup of Square devices is easy. For example, a second register or a few handheld check-out devices could be added. Switching to a trailer would be as easy as ordering the second register and logging into the Square app. 

The best part is, the free version of Square allows for any number of devices to be used, and they can be connected through Wi-Fi or cellular. This level of flexibility makes Square a great choice for mobile food businesses that are growing, expanding, or still figuring out what vehicle and devices are best for serving their customers. 

Premium monthly plans expand Square’s features and functionality. These unlock the use of Square’s Kitchen Display System hardware, as well as some reporting and employee-facing features and 24/7 support from Square staff.

2. Toast

Toast is a cloud-based restaurant POS with a unique model. Unlike Square, Toast only works with its proprietary hardware. This may sound expensive, but not with the pay-as-you-go option, which allows business owners to pay for their hardware over time as a percentage of their sales. Compared to the initial investment needed for hardware with other POS systems for food trucks, this accessibility is highly valuable. Business owners can also customize packages for their specific food truck’s needs. 

However, Toast’s starter kit requires at least a two-year commitment. The software also has a $69 monthly subscription fee for the standard package, in addition to the cost of hardware. There are many features included in that price, from easy online ordering to marketing and operations tools. Toast is also highly scalable for integration between multiple locations. This could come in handy for food truck businesses that operate out of a fleet of vehicles or also have a brick-and-mortar location. 

3. Clover

Clover is a cloud-based POS system similar to Toast but with some unique features for connecting with customers. It is designed for mobility. The wealth of built-in features allows food trucks and trailers to offer competitively high-quality service and build loyalty. 

For example, Clover’s customer engagement tools include customizable profiles so people can have their favorite meals already in the system when they order. They can also offer feedback and reviews in real-time directly to the food truck, allowing cooks and managers to resolve any negative experiences right away. In return, owners can give clients points for every order and interaction, which can later be cashed in for discounts or rewards. 

Using Clover requires purchasing proprietary hardware, but payment plan options make it more affordable for small businesses. 

a customer ordering fish and chips using a POS system for food trucks

4. HarborTouch

HarborTouch offers free hardware and software as well as a 30-day trial, meaning no commitment or subscription fees. This is fantastic for food trucks that are just starting out since it allows business owners to get a feel for how well HarborTouch works before buying. The best part is that the free starter equipment HarborTouch gives businesses is legitimately full-service, with everything needed to get started. It includes the touch screen POS system as well as a cash drawer, card reader and even a receipt printer. 

HarborTouch’s baseline subscription is $39 per month, including the free starter kit, 24/7 support and professional installation. It even comes with the food truck’s menu preloaded. Extra hardware beyond the starter kit does cost extra, however. HarborTouch also requires a minimum one-year commitment, but the 30-day trial period makes this much more appealing to sign on to. 

The Right POS System for Food Trucks

Food truck and trailer owners can improve their business’s performance and customer engagement by choosing a POS system that uniquely fits their needs. It doesn’t hurt to try out a few different options. Consider visiting other food truck operators and asking what they use. This community is vibrant and welcoming, and most owners will be happy to connect and share their experiences.

Revolutionized is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn more here.

Author

Ellie Poverly

Ellie Poverly is a science writer specializing in astronomy and environmental science and is the Associate Editor of Revolutionized. Ellie's love of science stems from reading Richard Dawkins books and her favorite science magazine as a child, where she fell in love with the experiments included in each edition

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