Best POS System for Food Trucks
The best POS system for food trucks will ultimately depend on your individual business, your budget, and what kind of functionality you require. This being said, here are four food truck POS systems worth considering:
- TouchBistro: A great food truck POS system for overall as well as advanced functionality and their unique hardware-software bundles.
- ShopKeep: A well-rounded POS system for essential operations with pricing customized for your business.
- Clover: With two solid POS software choices and mobile hardware options, Clover is one of the best mobile POS systems for food trucks.
- Square POS: Offering a variety of mobile hardware choices and reliable features, Square is the best POS system for food trucks looking for free software.
If you own and operate a food truck, you know that your business is different from many others out there. As a quick-service business that’s constantly on the go, you have to consider flexibility, mobility, and, of course, cost, when it comes to the tools your food truck uses—including your merchant services. You need your food truck point of sale system to not only process customer orders and payments, but also to help you manage your day-to-day operations, as well as save you time, automate your processes, and ultimately, promote the success of your business.
Therefore, if you’re looking for the best POS system for food trucks, you’ll want to determine which POS system will truly fulfill your business’s needs. To help you find the right solution for your business, we’ve compiled this list of the top POS systems for food trucks. We’ll explore each of these food truck POS systems, discussing both their capabilities and pricing. We’ll also explain what you should look for when choosing a POS system for food trucks, so you’ll have all of the knowledge you need to decide what will work best for you.
Best POS System for Food Trucks
Now that we’ve explored what types of features and aspects of a food truck POS system you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the search process, let’s break down our list of the best POS systems for food trucks. Although the right food truck POS for your business will ultimately depend on your specific needs, any of these four options may be able to serve you well.
Let’s see what each of these food truck POS system providers can offer.
Best Food Truck POS System for Overall Functionality
As a point of sale system created by people from the restaurant industry, TouchBistro offers robust functionality for all kinds of food-service businesses, including food trucks. With their variety of features, flexible system, and signature software-hardware bundle plans, TouchBistro can without a doubt be a great solution for food trucks of all shapes and sizes.
With an easy-to-use and expansive software, TouchBistro is a food truck POS system that can provide the reliability, speed, and capabilities you need for your business. The TouchBistro software operates on a local network, meaning it doesn’t need the internet to run. However, the system uses the cloud for reporting, allowing you to access your data anywhere, regardless of location. Here are some of the features this POS system for food trucks includes:
- Ordering: The TouchBistro software allows you to take orders from inside your food truck or outside while customers are waiting in line. You can easily add, edit, and search order items; maximize sales with automatic upsell modifiers; reorder with one tap; and cash customers out with quick register buttons that predict likely tender amounts.
- Payment Processing: TouchBistro offers their own payment processing service through Chase, as well as direct integration options from top providers like Square and Worldpay. Additionally, TouchBistro allows you to accept the full-range of payments—online as well as offline— including card-not-present transactions, digital wallets, and gift cards.
- Menu: With TouchBistro, you can create and manage multiple menus with categories, modifiers, color-coding, and time or seasonal specificity. You also have the ability to customize your items down to the ingredients, descriptions, and cooking instructions.
- Staff: TouchBistro includes built-in features for your employees to easily use the system and for you to manage their roles and time. You can customize your food truck POS with unlimited user roles, designating their wages, discounts, handedness, and login PIN or code. You can also track all of your employee activity, monitor their hours and performance, and enable clocking-in and out functionality.
- Customer Relationship Management: This food truck POS system provides the ability to create customer accounts, manage balances for individuals or groups, and bill outstanding balances to an existing account. Additionally, TouchBistro offers a paid add-on, TouchBistro Loyalty, that allows you to develop and manage your own loyalty program.
- Inventory: With an on-the-go business that has limited space, inventory is particularly important. TouchBistro allows you to track your ingredient inventory based on all menu items as well as by recipe. This food truck POS system will give you the ability to customize your inventory countdown notifications as well as designate any out-of-stock menu items as such automatically.
- Reporting and Analytics: TouchBistro allows you to access your sales data anywhere—whether you’re in your food truck or at home on the computer. The system includes over 50 detailed reports, as well as automatic end-of-day reports and in-shift snapshot reports personalized to each staff member.
- Support: TouchBistro offers 24/7/365 customer support via phone or email, as well as remote troubleshooting, automatic daily data backups, and self-service resources on their website.
TouchBistro requires an iPad to run their software, which is used as your portable POS terminal. TouchBistro is also compatible with multiple routers, wireless and ethernet printers, cash drawers, and iPad stands. If you use TouchBistro’s own payment solution, they’ll provide you with a credit card terminal; otherwise, you’ll have to get a terminal from the payment provider you choose.
Additionally, TouchBistro gives you the ability to turn your iPad hardware into a self-ordering kiosk for customers, as well as enable customer-facing display. TouchBistro also offers a kitchen display system that can be run on an iPad to manage your orders and tickets.
For this feature-rich food truck POS system, you’ll pay $69 per month for one software license (billed annually), as well as the cost of any hardware you choose. Although you can purchase an iPad separately, or use one you already own, TouchBistro also uniquely offers hardware-software bundles to lessen the burden of having to pay a substantial amount outright for hardware.
If you want a hardware-software bundle with one license, therefore, you’ll pay $105 per month, once again billed annually. For a food truck POS, you might not need more than one license, but if you do want to utilize more than one terminal, you can choose from additional plan options, including those for two licenses, three to five licenses, and six or more licenses.
Finally, the cost to accept credit card payments with TouchBistro will vary based on your provider. TouchBistro does not specify their rates on their website—they only state that they offer “transparent payment pricing with no hidden fees or long-term contracts.”
Best Food Truck POS System for Essential Features and Customized Pricing
The next POS system for food trucks on our list, ShopKeep, is, in fact, similar to TouchBistro in many ways—with some notable differences. The ShopKeep software is generally run on an iPad, but they also offer a few Android options. Although ShopKeep may not include quite as many features as TouchBistro, it does provide everything you need to manage your food truck operations in a simple and easy way.
On the whole, ShopKeep is a highly reviewed food truck POS system that could certainly serve your business—especially if you’re interested in customized pricing.
Like TouchBistro, ShopKeep offers a single food truck POS software option. The ShopKeep software is cloud-based, meaning although you’ll need a POS terminal to operate within your truck, you can access your back-office capabilities wherever you have internet. Let’s dive into the details of this system:
- Register Ordering: With your ShopKeep register, you can take customer orders quickly and easily; complete transactions accommodating for split payments, tips, rewards, and discounts; and print, text, or email receipts.
- Payments: The ShopKeep POS system for food trucks allows you to accept all payment types including cash, debit and credit cards, gift cards, and digital payments. ShopKeep offers in-house processing with which you can accept offline payments and choose from Bluetooth, wired, and iPad mobile credit card readers. However, you also have the option to work with a third-party processor if you choose.
- BackOffice: ShopKeep’s BackOffice is accessible anywhere you have internet and provides tools for customer management, label printing, customizing receipts, and managing your overall ShopKeep account.
- Users and Staff: You can designate user permissions for your ShopKeep register, as well as allow your employees to clock in using the register and track their hours with ShopKeep BackOffice.
- Inventory: The ShopKeep food truck POS provides in-depth inventory management functionality. You can track and adjust your items, including raw goods; create item variants and modifiers; sell open and unit priced items; and use ShopKeep’s weighted average cost to monitor your inventory value and margins.
- Reporting: The ShopKeep analytics dashboard allows you to manage your sales data over time. ShopKeep also includes shift summaries; sales, transaction, and inventory reports; a marketing dashboard; and gift card liabilities and redemptions monitoring. Additionally, the ShopKeep Pocket App gives you the ability to manage your sales with real-time notifications, across locations, using your smartphone—wherever you are.
- Support: ShopKeep offers 24/7 customer service via phone, email, and live chat. You can also access the customer support of the ShopKeep website for FAQs, troubleshooting, and video tutorials.
As we mentioned, ShopKeep is typically operated as an iPad POS system, although they do offer two Android options. This being said, if you use an iPad as your ShopKeep terminal, you can choose from a variety of hardware bundles, as well as purchase individual accessories such as credit card terminals, cash drawers, printers, and iPad stands. ShopKeep lists all of their hardware on their website—however, you also have the option to buy compatible hardware from a third-party seller if you choose.
If you would prefer to use an Android POS system for your food truck, you can purchase either the Clover Mini or Clover Station kit. These kits include the Clover-created tablets, a receipt printer and paper, and cables—but you must contact ShopKeep directly to purchase this system.
Unlike the other options on our best POS system for food trucks list, ShopKeep offers their software on a quote-basis. Therefore, in order to find out how much ShopKeep will cost on a monthly basis, you’ll have to work with them directly to receive customized pricing based on your business.
Although transparent pricing is generally preferable for these kinds of business tools, with ShopKeep’s intuitive design, solid functionality, and highly rated service, it certainly may be worth working with their team to get a quote and comparing it to your other options.
In terms of hardware costs, you can also work with ShopKeep to develop a customized bundle; however, you can also see the average pricing for hardware on their website. A basic iPad hardware kit, for example, which includes a credit card reader, iPad cash, cash drawer, and receipt printer costs $809.
Lastly, just like TouchBistro, ShopKeep only states that they offer “clear, competitive pricing,” for their in-house payment processing. If you choose to work with a third-party provider, your credit card processing fees will vary based on the individual processor.
Best Mobile POS System for Food Trucks
Like ShopKeep, the Clover POS system was built to accommodate a variety of businesses, not just those in the food services. However, with two software options, impressive mobile hardware choices, and solid features, you may find that Clover is the best POS system for your food truck.
Unlike the food truck POS systems we’ve discussed thus far, Clover is set up a little differently. Clover offers two software plans—Register and Register Lite—and then four countertop or handheld hardware systems from which you can run the software you choose.
The Register Lite software offers the most basic functionality, whereas the Register software includes more features. With Register Lite, you can:
- Accept all credit and debit cards, including EMV cards, as well as contactless payments
- Track cash payments
- Process payments offline
- Send paperless receipts
- Accept on-screen signatures and tips
- Ring up items, discounts, and tax
- Change taxes at the item level
- Process refunds
- Set employee permissions
- Manage employees, payroll and shifts
- Export basic reports
- Receive 24/7 customer support
- Access apps in the Clover market
- Monitor activity, sales, and refunds remotely
- Track sales with item level reporting
With the Register software, you receive all of the functionality of Lite, as well as:
- Inventory management for items, categories, modifiers, and variants
- Process exchanges
- Integrate with a weight scale
- Pre-authorize credit cards
- Build your mailing list automatically
- Review customer feedback and reply with coupons
- Create a simple, custom loyalty program
- Send orders to a kitchen printer or other stations
- Add gratuity to checks
- Manage tables
Compared to TouchBistro and ShopKeep, the Clover POS software may be simpler; however, it still offers the capabilities you would need to start your food truck and manage daily operations. Although you could certainly operate with the Register Lite plan, the inventory, order-sending, and customer tools included in the Register software might make this plan the better option.
Additionally, Clover is unique in the way their payment processing works. Clover’s credit card terminals, as we’ll discuss shortly, are included within their hardware options. When you purchase hardware directly from Clover, therefore, you can apply for a merchant account and receive credit card processing through First Data. However, you can also find a Clover reseller, like Bank of America Merchant Services, and buy your Clover POS and payment processing capabilities from them.
As we mentioned, Clover has four POS hardware options, all of which are specific to Clover and include credit card terminals. With this food truck POS, you can choose from:
- Clover Go: Clover Go is a mobile card reader that connects to an iOS or Android device. If you use this hardware option, you’ll run your software through the Clover app on your device—making it a particularly affordable and portable option.
- Clover Flex: The Clover Flex is a handheld POS device that allows you to take orders and process payments via touch screen. Although you must purchase this device in addition to your Clover software, this hardware provides you with impressive mobility.
- Clover Mini: The Clover Mini is a countertop tablet device. Like the Flex and Go, you can perform all of your food truck POS functions using the Mini; however, this terminal, while compact, is not particularly mobile.
- Clover Station: The Clover Station is most like your traditional countertop POS terminal. With a larger tablet touchscreen and more processing power, this system also includes a cash drawer and receipt printer, but is meant to be stationary.
One of the benefits of Clover is that with their variety of software and hardware options, you have more flexibility in the cost of your food truck POS system.
In terms of software, the Register Lite plan costs $14 per month, whereas the Register plan costs $29 per month. For hardware, the Clover Go costs $59, the Flex costs $449, the Mini starts at $599, and the Station starts at $1,149. With each of these systems, as we mentioned, your credit card terminal is included; however, any other peripherals or accessories that you need must be purchased separately.
The cost of payment processing when you use Clover will depend on your merchant account provider; however, Clover advertises rates as low as 2.7% + $0.10 for in-person transactions with the Lite plan and 2.3% + $0.10 for in-person transactions with the Register plan.
With these options, therefore, Clover certainly stands out in terms of simplicity, mobility, and flexibility. As Steffen Marin, a chef and owner of Heirloom, a food truck business in Toronto, told us, “Clover Flex has been a perfect fit for our business, whether to handle a long queue of customers or when working a large event, Clover is made for the job.”
Best Free POS System for Food Trucks
Perhaps one of the most well-known POS providers on the market, the final solution on our best POS system for food trucks list is Square. Similar to Clover, Square POS offers an intuitive, simple system with a variety of mobile hardware options. Plus, Square is the only food truck POS on our list that offers free software.
Square POS Features
As we mentioned, Square POS is a free POS software that can be accessed as an app on both iOS and Android devices. With the Square POS system for your food truck, you’ll receive the following capabilities:
- Orders: Square allows you to customize your POS to your business, adding all of your items and easily taking and processing customer orders. You can let your customers choose suggested or custom tip options, as well as digital or print receipts. Additionally, you can keep tabs open, split tabs by cards, add discounts, and process refunds.
- Payments: With Square POS, Square serves as your payment processor. You can accept credit and debit cards, cash, checks, and gift cards—both online and offline.
- Inventory: Square POS allows you to manage and track your inventory from anywhere. You can edit items, update quantities, receive low stock alerts, and import or export inventory items.
- Dashboard: The Square Dashboard gives you the ability to manage your back-office operations in one place, with tools for invoicing, inventory, managing customer profiles, and viewing sales data.
- Team Management: This food truck POS system allows you to set employee permissions, track their time, and optimize labor costs and staffing with employee reports and analytics.
- Directory: With the Square Directory, you can add customer profiles with contact information, notes, and purchase history, save credit cards on file, and send custom digital receipts.
- Analytics: Square POS provides real-time analytics and sales reporting—giving you the ability to track sales, discounts, and refunds, compare total sales based on timeframes, and see what customers spend and how frequently they return.
- Square Tools: In addition to the third-party integration options Square offers in their marketplace, you can also buy add-on tools directly from Square. You can purchase add-ons for employee management, Square payroll, marketing, and loyalty.
- Support: Square provides customer service assistance via phone or email, as well as through their support center which includes help articles, video walkthroughs, and FAQs.
As we’ve discussed, one of the benefits of Square POS, especially for food trucks, is that their free POS software can be run on any iOS or Android device using the Square POS app. Therefore, if you already have the terminal you want to use, whether iPad or Android smartphone, you’ll only need to purchase a credit card terminal and any other peripherals you require.
All Square POS accounts, in fact, come with a free mobile card reader, which can be plugged into your device enabling you to take swiped payments. In addition to this credit card device, Square also offers:
- Square Reader: This credit card terminal accepts contactless and chip payments and can connect to your device wirelessly, making it a great mobile option.
- Square Terminal: This is an all-in-one payment device with a touchscreen display that allows you to accept all kinds of payments, as well as print receipts.
- Square Register: This terminal allows you to accept all payment types and includes a full customer display. Square Register connects to your main POS terminal, but must be plugged into a power source at all times.
- Square Stand: The Square Stand is most like a traditional countertop terminal. This hardware gives you the ability to connect an iPad, accept all payment types, and it provides a dock for the Square Reader.
Moreover, the Square Shop offers POS hardware kits, as well as accessories including printers, cash drawers, chargers, and stands.
Square POS is a free software—with no monthly fees. Square only charges you for credit card processing, the cost of which varies based on the way the payment is accepted. If you take a payment using a Square Reader or Square Stand, you’ll pay a flat 2.75% per transaction. If you take a payment on the Square Terminal, you’ll pay 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction. Lastly, if you take a payment on Square Register, you’ll pay 2.5% + $0.10 per transaction in Square fees.
In terms of hardware, you’ll need to purchase a tablet or smartphone to use as your main POS terminal if you don’t already have one. Additionally, if you want to use a credit card terminal other than the free mobile card reader you receive with your account, you’ll have to purchase this from Square, as well. The basic Square mobile card reader costs $10, the contactless reader costs $49, the Square Terminal costs $299, the Square Stand costs $199, and the Square Register costs $799.
The cost of peripherals to use with Square, like all of the POS systems for food trucks we’ve discussed, will range depending on what you need. You can, however, buy compatible accessories directly from Square, or look for a third-party seller.
Therefore, like Clover, Square is one of the best mobile food truck POS systems, especially with their free software. As Bill Hazel, founder and owner of Bill’s Grill, a food truck in Indiana, told us, “[The Square POS] system has no monthly fee and is robust enough to handle the day-to-day operations—from sales to invoices to time keeping and taxes.”
Best POS System for Food Trucks: Features to Consider
Before we break down our best POS system for food trucks list, you should know what to look for when trying to find the right food truck POS for your business. Like all point of sale systems, your food truck POS system will consist of a combination of software and hardware, and the provider you choose will dictate your software features and hardware options.
As an on-the-go, fast-paced business, then, you’ll want to look for a food truck POS system that’s affordable, flexible, and easy to use. Additionally, although you may find that any type of POS system can serve your food truck, it’s probably best to consider systems that offer capabilities specific to your type of business.
Therefore, as you go through the search process for a POS system for food trucks, you’ll want to look for the following:
The food truck POS system you choose will determine how you can accept payments from customers—an integral piece of your business operations. Most POS systems for food trucks (or any POS system for that matter) should give you the ability to accept multiple payment methods including credit and debit cards, cash, digital payments, gift cards, and more.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider what kind of credit card processing options your food truck POS system offers. Some POS systems include in-house processing, while others offer integration options with third-party processors.
Menu and Inventory Management
Since you’ll be using your food truck POS to input and process customer orders, you’ll need the system you choose to have menu management capabilities. Your POS system should allow you to input and customize your menu—accommodating different item types, categories, modifications, and other useful options.
In the same vein, your food truck POS system should also be able to track and manage your inventory and notify you when items are out of stock.
Another element that’s at the core of any POS system for food trucks is how the system allows you to take and process customer orders. You’ll want your POS system to be able to take orders quickly and easily, communicate with any peripheral devices (like receipt or ticket printers), and allow for modifications, split payments, taxes, gratuity, promotions and discounts, etc.
As a quick-service business on the move, you’ll need a mobile food truck POS system. You’ll want to ensure that your system can move with you, is flexible and easily accessible, and can take orders on the go. The best mobile POS systems for food trucks will include an offline mode—where you can take orders and accept payments without an internet connection, as well as multiple mobile hardware options, like tablets and smartphones.
In addition, you’ll want to also consider how a food truck POS system handles peripheral connections—can you connect to a Bluetooth printer, for example—as well as how and where you have access to your POS account.
Additional Sales Tools
Although you may not need these tools to complete your basic business operations, the best POS systems for food trucks will include features to facilitate your success, including but not limited to capabilities for employee management, customer relationship management and loyalty programs, analytics and reporting, and third-party or internal integration options.
Running a food-service business isn’t always easy, so the best POS system for food trucks will offer you customer support in a variety of ways. Most POS systems offer self-service resources such as tutorials, FAQs, and community forums on their website, as well as direct support via email, phone, or live chat. Moreover, some POS systems provide hands-on assistance with setup and training.
You’ll need hardware to operate your point of sale system—but POS hardware can be the part of your system that requires the most upfront investment. Plus, for an on-the-go food truck business, it’s even more important that your POS hardware is portable and can function within a small and fast-moving environment.
In looking at different POS systems for food trucks, therefore, you’ll want to determine what kind of mobile hardware is offered, like tablets, smartphones, or hand-held devices; where you can purchase the hardware; if you can use hardware you already own; and what types of peripherals are compatible with the core terminals and, of course, overall cost.
The Bottom Line
Once you’ve acquired your food truck financing and start to move forward in your business planning, choosing the best POS system for food trucks is an important step. As we’ve mentioned, the POS system you use will dictate how your business operates on a day-to-day basis including everything from how you accept payments, take orders, and manage customers.
Therefore, before you make this crucial decision, you’ll want to consider the options available to you, including but not limited to the four food truck POS systems on this list, and compare each solution against your budget as well as hardware and software needs. As a food truck business, you’ll want to focus on a system’s flexibility, mobility, and offline as well as online capabilities.
This being said, if you’re looking for food truck POS systems with in-depth functionality and can afford the higher monthly service fee, you might consider TouchBistro or ShopKeep. On the other hand, if you’d first and foremost prefer affordability and multiple mobile options, you might consider Square or Clover.
At the end of the day, however, you’re the only one who can decide what’s best for your business—and once you do—you’ll be well on your way to running a successful food truck.