- Running a food truck business requires you to find the best point of sale (POS) system for food trucks.
- A good POS system lets you streamline your orders, take many kinds of payments, and make the customer experience smooth and simple.
- Learn which POS systems are best for food truck businesses in this article from Nav’s experts.
What Is POS Software for Food Trucks?
A food truck point of sale (or POS) allows food truck businesses to manage orders and accept payments on the go. Great food truck POS systems are mobile, flexible, and well priced. They may offer their own software, app integrations, and payment processing.
Your hardware options depend on which POS company you work with. You may have to use an iPad as your hardware. Or the POS company may offer custom handheld devices, kiosks, or card readers that accept credit and debit cards (ideally chip and contactless payments, as well). Business owners can usually purchase or rent the hardware. Some card readers connect directly to your Android or Apple (iOS) smartphone.
Add-ons can include a receipt printer, a cash drawer, and menu management by allowing you to update your menu items using the POS. Additionally, you may be able to create customer loyalty and increase customer engagement through a loyalty program. However, you usually have to pay for these add-ons.
Also, customer support is a big part of the best food truck POS system, so make sure the company’s customer service is top-notch before choosing one.
What Are the Favorite POS Systems for Food Trucks?
POS providers let you customize your services, so which features you need depends on how many food trucks you operate and what your customer demand is. Here are some of the POS systems we recommend for food truck businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Clover POS targets small businesses and can work well for food truck owners. The company offers multiple POS device options, including one that connects to your phone and another that is hand-held, which could be perfect for a food truck. It has cloud-based POS systems and software that you can customize according to what your business needs. You’ll pay a monthly fee that depends on the plan you choose (which you can also pay in full) and a processing fee for each transaction.
Square POS offers the hardware and software you need to start selling from your food truck. There’s a plan that charges no monthly fee — you’ll only pay a percentage per transaction. Plus, you get a Free Square Reader for magstripe (a.k.a. you have to swipe it) that you can use with Square’s app with the free plan. However, you’ll have to buy the upgraded Square Reader if you want to accept chip or contactless payments.
TouchBistro was created by entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry so it offers robust functionality but is more expensive than the other options. You must use an iPad as a portable payment terminal and then download TouchBistro’s POS software. The software has many useful features for food truck businesses, like menu management and employee management. You can pay for add-ons that allow for gift cards, customer loyalty programs, and email marketing.
Toast POS has a starter plan that doesn’t charge a monthly fee (it only charges a percentage of each sale), so it can work well for new food truck owners. The starter kit includes a POS terminal using the Toast Flex software and a payment device for no money down. Its terminals have an offline mode and fast processing speeds. You can pay for additional add-ons like cash drawers, kiosks, QR codes, and inventory management.
How Much Does a POS System Cost?
The pricing of a POS system depends on which POS company you choose, what your hardware needs are, and how many add-ons you need to run your business. Some POS providers charge a monthly fee as well as a processing fee per transaction, while others allow you to avoid the monthly fee.
However, the free plans are generally less capable and have fewer features. You may have to pay extra for tools like a customer-facing display, customer engagement tools, a cash drawer, or a receipt printer. So the amount you pay overall for your POS for a food truck depends on what you need to run your business to its full potential.
What Are the POS Systems in Fast Food and Is There a Difference?
A restaurant POS system will likely come from the same POS provider that food truck owners use, but restaurants might choose more substantial hardware or software options. Fast food restaurants have similar needs to food trucks — like real-time ordering, order management, and customizable options — but they don’t need to be as portable.
The main differences between the two depend on the needed add-ons. For example, a fast food restaurant would need a kitchen display system while a food truck may be able to operate without one. The same is true for online ordering: Fast food establishments need to be able to take online orders but a food truck may not need to offer this feature.
Is Square Point of Sale Free?
New customers can get the most basic version of the Square POS at no cost when you sign up. However, this specific version of Square only allows you to swipe a debit or credit card — you can’t use the chip reader or accept contactless payments. You’ll have to pay to upgrade to the next tier if you want those capabilities.
Can I Buy My Own POS Machine?
Yes. Many point-of-sale providers allow you to buy the machine outright or to pay for it over time. You may be able to sign up for a monthly fee where you will own the machine at the end of the payment period. Owning your own machine can provide more flexibility when compared to renting one.
How Can I Get a Free POS?
If you’re looking for a free POS terminal, Square and Toast both offer the most basic versions at no upfront cost. However, you have to pay a processing fee for every transaction, so it’s not free to use. It will cost you to upgrade to a more versatile POS terminal that can accept things like contactless or chip payments.
How Do I Get Money for My First POS?
If you’re looking for ways to pay for your first POS system for your food truck, don’t hesitate to look into business credit cards and small business loans. These funding options can help you pay for the POS system outright or for your monthly fee, as well as cover the processing fees for transactions. You can find personalized recommendations using Nav when you enter your business details. If you’re applying for a small business loan, it’s a good idea to start with working on your business credit. Read Nav’s guide on how to establish business credit for more details.
This article was originally written on February 17, 2023.
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