The Best Food Truck POS Systems

Last updated on October 1, 2019

How We Found The Top Food Truck POS Systems

3 experts interviewed
8 POS systems tested
5 top picks

Food trucks have a unique set of challenges. They can encounter anything from limited space to poor connectivity on the road.

A reliable POS system can make a huge improvement to operational efficiency and customer loyalty.

Functionality that encourages upsells and detailed reporting is available in many leading POS systems. The right choice can make a significant difference to any truck’s bottom line.

Here’s our top five list of the best POS systems for food trucks. They offer features such as offline functionality, loyalty programs, and inventory management. These systems can improve any food truck’s ability to cut lines and increase profits.

The Top 5 Food Truck POS Systems

 
iOS
iOS or Android
Android
iOS
iOS
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Real-time
dashboard,
several detailed reports.
Daily emails &
dashboard
highlighting trends.
Real-time sales,
staff & customer reports.
Over 50 different
detailed reports.
End of day reports & staff reports.
Pay per charge at
rate that varies by
card.
Guaranteed lowest
processing rate.
Pay per charge at
rate of 2.75%.
Varies by volume
and for different
types of payments.
Flat monthly
software rate starts
at $65.
Hardware package
starts at $675;
installation starts
at $500.
Software for
$69/month one
terminal flat rate
plus optional add-ons.
Software for
$69/month one
terminal flat rate
plus optional add-ons.

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1. Our Pick for Food Truck POS: Shopkeep

Shopkeep is one of the most popular POS systems around. It has loads of features that specifically make it easier to run a profitable food truck.

Shopkeep POS boasts low processing rates to keep costs down. They also have stellar customer service, which is critical for issues that you encounter while on the road.

In addition, Shopkeep’s flagship administrative product, BackOffice, provides inventory management, real-time reporting and easy ways to customize your menu for speeding through customers.

Features

  • Easy to Use

The intuitive nature of Shopkeep’s interface makes it easy to learn. It also allows customers to move through payment more quickly, which is key when you have a long line.

The system is intuitive to use from end to end, offering simple ways to customize menu options. You can build a menu with one-click orders, including add-ons like a side of fries with a sandwich.

The administrative portion offers easy-to-understand data so you always have the right ingredients stocked and can identify best-sellers. The efficient processing of customer payments means more people can place their orders in less time.

  • Top Notch Analytics

Shopkeep is one of the few POS systems that offers real-time reporting data. The high-level dashboard is a digestible overview of recent activity. For a food truck owner on the go, the data can help track inventory and wisely use the limited storage space on the truck.

Shopkeep also provides numerous ways to dive deeper into the data. From sales reports to shift summaries, Shopkeep’s analytics provide insights that help manage staff, inventory, and menus. There’s no need to run out of your star ingredient, or lose track of a cash payment.

  • Flexibility

Shopkeep offers customization of the customer interface and administrative functions. You can make sure your menu displays just as you want, offering sides, one-click ordering, and easy ways to update the menu throughout the day as your inventory drops.

You can also customize the suggested gratuity, which leads to more people tipping in higher amounts. It’s easy to change the display to sync with pricing changes or new menu items.

In addition to the software’s flexibility, Shopkeep offers several hardware packages to meet customer needs. The software works with any processor, so you can make the best choice for your truck.

Pricing

Shopkeep has changed its pricing structure to match the model used by Square (see below). They currently offer a pay-as-you-go model. This means they charge a small fee in addition to the fee charged by the card company.

Shopkeep guarantees the lowest processing rate, although the exact rate may change with different payment types. (Previously they offered monthly pricing packages starting at a flat rate of $69 per month for one terminal.)

Reporting and other administrative capabilities are offered through BackOffice, included with the POS. Several add-on options, like gift cards and customer loyalty programs, are available at an added cost.

Customer Service

Shopkeep offers exceptional customer service, and it’s available 24x7x365. In addition, their website has very thorough help documentation available for the entire range of functionality.

A variety of customer perks provide additional services at a discount. Partners include heavy hitters such as Google, LegalZoom and MailChimp.

Downside to Shopkeep

In order to get the full set of features, there are extra fees. These charges can drive up the cost for smaller businesses.

Shopkeep is currently only available in English, whereas some other systems offer multiple languages.

2. Most Affordable Food Truck POS: Square

Square’s usability, fair pricing and offline availability make it a reliable choice for food trucks with a smaller operation. With over $50 million in food truck sales, Square offers all the basics at a low price point.

Square has no monthly fees and free card readers, making it an affordable option. Loyalty programs, customizable gratuity prompts, and online ordering are also available.

Features

  • Affordability

Square has a pay-as-you-go pricing model, making it a good choice for trucks that haven’t been around long. Rather than committing to a monthly fee, Square charges per transaction.

The fee increases as the volume of business grows. This provides the ease of knowing you will not be charged for something you did not use.

In addition, Square card readers are included free of charge. This brings down hardware costs that can reach into the thousands for some other POS systems.

  • Small Footprint

Most food trucks have no room to spare, which is why Square can be the simple choice. Although they offer multiple hardware integrations, Square’s free software and card reader are all that’s needed to get started. This is a great choice for a food truck as it operates in close quarters.

  • Customer Friendly

In a quick transaction through a window, it can be hard to know what your customers truly love about your truck. Square offers several ways to engage with customers, including loyalty programs, discounts and customer feedback. These options are customizable and can lead to better insight and increased tips.

Pricing

Square’s pricing is percentage-based pay per sale. It starts at 2.75% and varies by volume and for different types of payments.

There’s no monthly fee, no cost for card readers, and terminals cost as little as $199. With financing available, Square is an affordable choice.

Customer Service

Square offers support 24/7 through a customer support agent. Their site also has detailed user guides and community help forums to answer any type of question.

Downside to Square

Square has received negative feedback about their customer service. With a large customer base of varying sizes and industries, they have received some publicity for poor support.

3. Best Android POS for Food Trucks: Toast

Restaurants are Toast’s bread and butter. Their industry expertise makes them a safe choice for food trucks. In addition, the Toast Go handheld is a unique offering that can help manage long lines so you can move on to the next location.

Features

  • Toast Go

Toast Go is a handheld POS system proprietary to the company. It’s designed for fast, easy service.

Toast Go can easily be introduced as the needs of your food truck grow over time. For busy days, you can get out ahead of the line to take orders.

The handheld device allows you to email customers their receipt before they hit the window. Although it comes at an additional cost, this unique solution can result in more sales.

  • Industry Expertise

Toast was founded for the food service industry and continues to provide features to meet those needs.

The system integrates with most leading restaurant software providers. They also have an industry blog and implementation partners versed in the challenges food truck owners face.

  • Customization

Toast will assist you with choosing the right custom menu buttons to maximize sales and make ordering fast and easy. They also help implement customer programs and choose a hardware package.

Toast implementation partners recognize that each food truck is unique. They work with customers to build out the right implementation. The customized screens help save time, allowing for faster turn over and more earnings.

Pricing

Toast offers several packages, starting at $69 per month for one terminal. There are optional add-on programs available at an additional fee.

Toast integrates with many processors. This can bring down hardware costs, especially if you’re switching from a different system.

Customer Service

Toast is committed to providing training and support to its customers. They offer a range of services, from in-person implementation with an expert to detailed online support.

Toast University can shorten the ramp up time for new employees or anyone who needs a refresher. Their customer service is one of the features that gives them an edge over other POS systems.

Downside to Toast

Toast doesn’t have as broad a range of features as some other POS systems.

4. Best iPad Food Truck POS: TouchBistro

TouchBistro is a POS designed by restaurant veterans for restaurants. Their industry expertise gives them insider insight.

TouchBistro has designed a POS that integrates with leading software. It can automate everything from staff management to customer relationships.

Features

  • Industry Expertise

Specifically developed for restaurants in 2010, TouchBistro staffs its team with tech experts and former food-service workers. This expertise provides an inside edge on developing the features most useful to restaurants and food trucks.

Their Restaurant Success Library offers helpful insight on everything a food truck may encounter, from branding questions to industry trends. The system itself is designed to be easy to use by non-techies.

  • Upsell Opportunities

TouchBistro prides itself on maximizing each sale while speeding up the line. Through custom menu pop-ups, tipping options and loyalty programs, there are many ways to increase customer spend.

It can be hard to recognize frequent visitors in the hustle of the lunchtime rush. That’s why TouchBistro’s built-in customer relationship management system (CRM) allows you to identify repeat customers. You can reach out to provide them with discounts or offer loyalty programs.

  • Menu Management

Deeply customizable menus make TouchBistro appealing to customers and service staff. Each item can easily be updated with a picture, out-of-stock status, discounts and more. This helps reduce customer questions so you can focus on the food, not the ordering process.

Cooking instructions and ingredients can help everyone on the truck memorize the menu. For customers, pop-up suggestions encourage them to order add-ons.

Pricing

TouchBistro starts at $69/month per register. It is easy to scale up by adding on more iPads or upgrading the software bundle.

TouchBistro allows customers to select their hardware units from their provider of choice. While it is iPad based, TouchBistro integrates with a variety of card processors.

Customer Service

Like many of the top POS systems, TouchBistro offers customer service 24/7, 365 days a year. Holidays, nights and weekends, there is someone available to help.

Their support staff is filled with people who worked in the food service industry. They understand the unique problems faced by its users.

Downside to TouchBistro

TouchBistro is not as feature-rich as some of the other POS systems. It is streamlined for usability. This means it is limited in some functionality, such as integrations and customization.

5. Global POS for Food Trucks: Lightspeed

Originally designed as an ecommerce solution, Lightspeed has become a global innovator. Retail was its original focus, but the restaurant-targeted package has deep functionality. With an international footprint, they are a great choice for food trucks with a broader customer base.

Features

  • Global Presence

Unlike many other leading POS systems, Lightspeed is available in numerous languages. From the customer display to the admin pages and training documents, non-English speakers will appreciate the feature.

Founded in Canada, Lightspeed has customers across the globe. For a food truck with diverse clientele and staff, this differentiator could make Lightspeed a no-brainer.

  • Kitchen and Customer Displays

Customers can easily place their own order, which leads to bigger purchases and clear kitchen instructions. Even in a space as tight as a food truck, complex choices can be a cause for error.

With an easy-to-understand customer display and a real-time kitchen facing update, Lightspeed minimizes errors and can increase sales.

  • eCommerce

With years of experience in ecommerce, Lightspeed customers have a trove of options for their online presence. Food trucks can incorporate online ordering or even set up a shop that sells t-shirts.

Pricing

The Lightspeed Restaurant POS has a starting cost of $69 per month. They also offer additional options for more iPads or multiple locations.

Add-on loyalty programs and integrations can increase the cost as well.

Customer Service

Lightspeed offers 24/7 customer service through chat, phone, email and online guides and manuals. They offer “Lightspeed Experts,” a local customer who can assist with installation and support questions.

Downside to Lightspeed

Lightspeed’s main focus is Retail, and the Restaurant product is relatively new and not as feature-rich. Because the analytics and inventory management systems are targeted at the retail experience, some food trucks may find them limiting.

Read This Before Getting a Food Truck POS System

Many POS systems offer features for the restaurant industry, but food trucks have a unique set of needs. Make sure to look for these features when considering a new POS system to maximize your investment.

  • Small Footprint
    On a food truck, space is at a premium. The small quarters mean any tech brought on board needs to fit without taking too much space. Make sure the POS doesn’t require too many different types of hardware, large desktops, or bulky cash drawers.Some POS systems offer a wide range of hardware packages that can be expanded as your business grows. Start small, and use more space only when you have it to spare.
  • Offline Processing
    Food trucks are always on the move. They may hit multiple locations in a day, and Internet connectivity is not guaranteed.It’s important to find a POS system that can process payments and data offline.Otherwise, lost network bars could equate to lost sales. There’s no reason to question your connection when so many providers offer offline processing.
  • Inventory Management
    With an end-to-end system, a customer’s order will trigger your shopping list. Never again run out unexpectedly or advertise items that are no longer available. A system with built-in inventory management means the kitchen is always stocked with the right ingredients for success.
  • Customer EngagementYour POS system should give your customers a great experience without confusion or misinformation. Make sure you can customize the menu, with pictures, ingredients, discounts and daily specials.Allow the user to place orders themselves. They should see custom gratuity options and opportunities to provide feedback, even before they get in line. We recommend that you choose a system that stores customer data. This allows you to reach out to your customer base to advertise a new item on the menu.A great customer engagement system identifies VIPs and frequent visitors so you can extend targeted offers. Loyalty programs, gift cards, and discounts can all reach the right audience.But make sure to read the small print. Many of these options come at an additional charge.
  • Usability
    In a food truck, everyone has to do it all. Make sure the system isn’t too complex for your needs. Everyone on staff should understand how to use it.In case of issues, customer support should be available online, on the phone and by text.Since food truck menus may change day-to-day, make sure everyone can easily make updates. Avoid products with confusing permissions or tedious administrative screens.

 

So Which POS System Is Ideal for My Food Truck?

Shopkeep

Our top pick, Shopkeep offers any feature you might want. At the same time, it is easy to set up and use. Award-winning customer support and real-time analytics give them the leading edge.

Square

With pay-as-you-go fees, free chip readers and many customer engagement options, Square is a solid and affordable choice.

Toast

Toast is an Android-based POS system designed for restaurants. It offers its own processing system and a wide variety of upgrades.

TouchBistro

With restaurant expertise as its mission, TouchBistro offers streamlined functionality. Their support team has a deep understanding of the product and its application.

Lightspeed

All the basic functionality, available in multiple languages across the globe. Their ecommerce expertise can help you with your online presence.

The Bottom Line

There are several POS systems focused on food service, but food trucks have a unique set of circumstances. This industry calls for a streamlined and full-feature POS offering.

Our pick for the top five POS systems for food trucks are ShopKeep, Square, Toast, TouchBistro and Lightspeed. These systems all have wide feature sets, 24×7 customer service, and hardware packages that fit in a small space.

 

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