food truck serving customers with a POS system

5 of the Best POS Systems for Food Trucks

August 16, 2023 - Ellie Gabel

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Running 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 patrons. The right software can streamline the customer experience and make day-to-day operations significantly easier. A POS system for food trucks must have certain features to perform well in the food truck setting, which presents challenges that brick-and-mortar restaurants do not face.

One of the great things about food trucks is that they are a highly flexible business model. 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 for when searching for a good POS for food trucks. Some are universally nice to have for any mobile restaurant business, while 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. 

Durable and portable hardware is beneficial, as well, especially for food trucks that have servers who go outside to 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 can slow things down.

Some POS systems come with ready-to-use hardware and software. However, others are more flexible, leaving business owners to customize the system.

food trucks in a park

1. Square

Square is the best option for most food truck businesses — especially for those just starting out. The app is extremely flexible, both in terms of hardware and software, and the basic plan is free on Android and Apple devices. All business owners have to pay is a 2.6% plus 10 cent processing fee per transaction. That allows food truck owners to try it out without much risk. Unlike with some other POS systems, there are no contracts or installation fees.

Square offers a few different hardware options, from a simple card reader that plugs into a tablet to the Square Stand, a cash register replacement. The most popular piece of hardware is the basic Square Stand. It can be swiveled around to face the customer and allows for easy payment.

Square’s flexibility lets business owners pay only 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 that 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 expanding or still figuring out which vehicles and devices are best for serving their customers. 

Premium monthly plans expand Square’s features and functionality. These plans unlock the use of Square’s Kitchen Display System hardware, 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 trucks’ needs. 

Toast’s starter kit requires at least a two-year commitment. The Quick Start Bundle is free, and it includes a cloud-based POS software and hardware setup. The $69-monthly package adds reporting, analytics, mobile payments, fraud monitoring and 24/7 customer care. Toast’s $165-a-month plan also supports online ordering and delivery services.

Toast is 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 build customer loyalty and offer competitively high-quality service.

For example, Clover’s customer engagement tools include customizable profiles so people can have their favorite meals already in the system when they order. Patrons 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 they can later cash in for discounts or rewards. 


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

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

4. SkyTab

SkyTab offers free hardware and software as well as a 30-day trial without commitment or subscription fees. This software is fantastic for burgeoning food trucks — it allows business owners to get a feel for how well it works before buying. The best part is that the free starter equipment SkyTab 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. 

SkyTab’s baseline subscription is $29.99 per month and includes 24/7 customer support, cloud-based reporting, POS management, hardware with a lifetime warranty and a mobile app to access analytics and reporting. SkyTab also requires a minimum one-year commitment, but the 30-day trial period makes this much more appealing to sign up for.

5. TouchBistro

Starting at $69 a month, TouchBistro’s POS software includes staff and menu management, tableside ordering, reporting, analytics and more. TouchBistro offers customized plans for food trucks to help increase sales and get the line moving quickly. It partners with QuickBooks, Xero, MarginEdge and several other accounting businesses to offer simple bookkeeping and financial management.

Food truck owners can stop worrying about the Wi-Fi going down — unlike many other food truck POS systems, it works offline to ensure business can continue as usual. The interface also features a customer-facing display to ensure people get the right order, right on time.

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. The food truck 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 Gabel

Ellie Gabel 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 magazines as a child, where she fell in love with the experiments included in each edition.

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